The Idaho Senate Health and Welfare Committee is set for a hearing on a measure to legalize hemp cultivation in the state, the Associated Press reports. The bill would align state and federal law and includes an emergency clause that would allow the state’s farmers to begin growing hemp this year of the bill is signed into law.
Rep. Dorothy Moon (R), the bill sponsor, said the measure gives farmers “an option to try a different product if they so desire.”
“I think it’s important we give them those opportunities since everybody else is making hay, more or less, with hemp. … I’m excited the Senate has heard this bill early, and hopefully it will move through both chambers quickly and we’ll get it to the governor’s desk,” – Moon, to the AP
Idaho has become a flashpoint for hemp policy, as it’s one of few states to have not enacted some kind of hemp legalization following federal action in 2018 and is bordered by hemp- or cannabis-friendly states such as Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, and Wyoming. Until November – when Gov. Brad Little (R) signed an executive order to permit interstate hemp transport – hemp was not allowed to be even transported through the state and, due to the state’s laws, hemp shipments were often seized by state and local police.
When he announced his executive order, Little indicated he was not opposed to hemp production in Idaho but wants to ensure that “the production and shipping of industrial hemp is not a front to smuggle illicit drugs into and around Idaho.” He called the action a “stopgap” until the Legislature could develop a framework for hemp legalization.
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