A bill introduced in the Tennessee state house to legalize hemp farming and production passed through the Finance, Ways & Means Committee on Tuesday.
House Bill 2445 (HB2445) was introduced on Feb. 5 by Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Colby). The bill allows for a state-regulated market to develop in Tennessee that would essentially nullify the decades-long federal ban on industrial hemp.
The bill allows for hemp to be grown under the purview of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and clarifies the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana. Similar legislation (SB2495) has been introduced in the state senate as well, and it passed through the Judiciary Committee on Mar. 12.
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 Tennessee law ignores 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.
Now that it has passed through the Finance, Ways & Means Committee, HB2445 is headed to the Calendar & Rules Committee where it will be scheduled a full vote in the Tennessee state house. It is important for legislators to be urged as quickly as possible to vote affirmatively on this common sense measure to improve the economic well-being of Tennessee residents.
For Tennessee: Take action today to help pass HB2445 by clicking HERE.
For Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to legalize hemp farming by clicking HERE