North Dakota’s House Agriculture Committee has voted 13 to 0 to approve House Bill 1436, a proposal to explicitly legalize the cultivation, production and distribution of hemp. A provision in the measure makes it clear that the state will not need to wait for federal approval to implement the law.
House Bill 1436, introduced by Representatives David Monson and Alan Fehr, would establish a regulatory and licensing framework for the cultivation and production of industrial hemp. According to the proposal; “A license required by this section is not conditioned on or subject to review or approval by the United States drug enforcement agency.”
According to United States congressional research, the U.S. imports roughly half a billion dollars worth of hemp from other countries, primarily Canada and China. The same research estimates the hemp market to consist of over 25,000 various products. Despite this, the cultivation of hemp remains illegal across the U.S., though numerous states – such as Colorado and Vermont – have take the approach of legalizing hemp cultivation on the state level.
The federal government recently approved a national spending bill that allows hemp cultivation to take place as part of state-sanctioned hemp research programs, though the bill fell short of giving protection to states that authorize hemp cultivation for commercial purposes.