A bill introduced in the Missouri State House of Representatives would legalize hemp farming and production, effectively nullifying a federal prohibition on the same.
HB2054 was introduced on Feb. 27 by Rep. Mike Colona (D-80). It would allow for a state-regulated market to develop in the state of Missouri that would essentially nullify the decades-long federal ban on industrial hemp.
The bill would rewrite state law to exempt industrial hemp from existing regulations that criminalize marijuana and other drugs. It would allow residents to apply for a license with the Missouri Department of Agriculture in order to gain the right to cultivate industrial hemp within state lines.
Industrial hemp falls under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. It technically remains “legal” to grow in the U.S., but farmers must first obtain a permit from the DEA, a nearly impossible feat. Doing so without a permit is considered illegal.
The proposed Missouri law would ignore the federal prohibition and opens the door to hemp cultivation in the state. It would allow the state to develop an intrastate market and poise it to lead the way if Washington DC ever opens up the interstate market.
Experts count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and biofuel. The U.S. currently imports hemp products, primarily from China and Canada.
Three states – Colorado, Oregon and Vermont – have already passed similar measures. Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013.
HB2054 is currently sitting in the Economic Development Committee where it will need to pass through a majority before it can voted upon by the whole House. Reps. Galen Higdon (R-11) and Paul Curtman (R-109) are the bill’s co-sponsors.
For Missouri: Take action today to help pass HB2054 by clicking HERE. (NOTE: The action alert for this bill is not online)
For Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to legalize hemp farming by clicking HERE.