Vermont’s House Agriculture and Forest Products Committee held a public hearing today on House Bill 490, a measure which passed the state’s Senate last month. Currently under Vermont state law, hemp is legal, but the law has a provision requiring the state to wait until the federal ban is lifted before they begin licensing farmers for cultivation. House Bill 490 would remove that requirement, and would allow farmers to begin cultivation, this July.
According to the measure’s text, it would “authorize the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets to issue a license to grow industrial hemp pursuant to current Vermont statute”.
Representative Carolyn Partridge, chairwoman of the committee, stated, ‘‘I think all we’re up against is that the DEA feels this is a dangerous crop, which we’ve discovered as a committee it just is not”. She indicated that she supports the bill, as did a majority of the committee (though no official vote was held). The committee is expected to vote on the measure in the coming days. Its passage would send it towards a full House vote.
The measure is sponsored by a bipartisan coalition of 13 state representatives.