The 2018 legislative session is nearly half over. Thursday, upon adjournment, the Missouri General Assembly’s week-long spring break will begin, marking the half way point of the legislative session. The last half of session is always a blur of activity, as lawmakers still work to approve the state’s operating budget as well as pass several important pieces of legislation.
This week, the Missouri Senate passed Senate Bill 547. The bill creates a pilot program that grants farmers permissions to produce and purchase hemp in Missouri. Under the proposal, the Department of Agriculture would regulate the production and marketing of hemp. I believe this proposal will allow us to expand Missouri’s agricultural landscape and provide our farmers with a new source of revenue.
The bill would also ensure hemp growers are not subjected to federal laws under the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. Currently, hemp is classified among drugs such as cannabis, despite the fact it contains less than three percent of THC. Currently, there are 34 states who have enacted hemp bills, issuing nearly 1,500 licenses to produce the crop.
Hemp can be used for a variety of products. For example, hemp is used to create rope, clothing, food and even building materials. Although it is one of the oldest crops known to man, it