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State Legislation in America

posted 10/31/08

Half of all States in America, twenty-eight, have introduced hemp legislation, fifteen have passed legislation; and eight (Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia) have removed barriers to its production or research.

1. Hawaii: On July 7, 1999, Governor Cayetano signed Senate Bill 1248 into law, requiring the University of Hawaii to study industrial hemp. On December 14, 1999, the first hemp seeds were planted at the research facility that was funded with a $200,000 grant from hair care company Alterna. HI is the only state to ever get a DEA test plot. The plot was operated from '99 to '04 under Dr. David West. The plot was not renewed by the DEA due to lack of investment funds.

2. North Dakota: ND, one of the first states to pass industrial hemp legislation, leads the way in terms of hemp legislation. North Dakota is now issuing licenses to farmers to grow hemp under existing state law and North Dakota Department of Agriculture rules.

North Dakota's first hemp law, passed in 1997, HB 1305, directed the State University Agriculture Experiment Station to do a study of industrial hemp production. In 1999 HCR 3033, and HB 1428 were passed, one a resolution urging Congress to acknowledge the difference between the agricultural crop known as industrial hemp and its drug-type relative, the second authorizing the production of industrial hemp, and removing it from the noxious weeds list. In 2001, HCR 3033 passed, another resolution similar to the 1999 resolution, and in 2005 HB 1492 was passed allowing for feral hemp seed collection and breeding at NDSU.

In 2007 five hemp bills were passed unanimously. SB 2099 clarifies that, in addition to farmers, processors can seek a state license to handle industrial hemp. HB 1490 allows anyone with a state license to import and resell certified industrial hemp. HB 1020 is the state's agricultural research appropriations bill, included $300,000 for the main research center to procure hemp seed and produce a study by August 1, 2008. HCR 3028 again urges Congress to recognize the multiple benefits of industrial hemp and to facilitate the growing of industrial hemp and the expansion of industries reliant on industrial hemp-based products. HCR 3042 urges Congress to direct the DEA to differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana.

3. Maryland: Governor Parris Glendening signed House Bill 1250 into law on May 18, 2000. The law creates the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, authorizing state agriculture official to design a program to grow hemp on state owned land for research purposes.

4. Kentucky: Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton signed House Bill 100 into law in 2001. HB 100 establishes an Industrial Hemp Commission, and requires the Kentucky Agriculture Department and one of the state's research universities to grow industrial hemp for study, and to explore the economic benefits of hemp production.

5. Montana: SB 261 was passed into law and signed by Gov. Martz on April 23, 2001. The bill authorizes the production of industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, sets up the licensing process; and requires the department of agriculture to request a change in federal law. However the creation of administrative rules for the production of hemp has not been set up as charged by the Montana Legislature.

On February 17, 1999, the Montana House passed House Resolution 2, urging an end to federal prohibition of hemp.

6. West Virginia: In 2002, The Industrial Hemp Development Act, which proclaims that the use of industrial hemp can serve to improve the state's economy and agricultural vitality, was passed into law. SB 447 permits the development of a regulated industrial hemp industry while maintaining strict control of marijuana.

7. Maine: Governor John Baldacci signed bill LD 53 into law in 2003, which allows experimentation in the cultivation of industrial hemp by the Maine Agriculture Center at the University of Maine.

8. Vermont: On May 29, 2008 the Hemp For Vermont Bill was signed into law. Vermont Governor Douglas allowed H 267, which permits the development of an industrial hemp industry in Vermont, to become law without his signature, according to the Attorney General's office and Secretary of State.

VT has had hemp bills on the docket 8 of the last 13 years, including the passage of a hemp research bill (H 783) in '96, and two bills in '98 (JRH 149) and '00 (JRS 98) that urge U.S. Congress to allow hemp farming in the U.S.

The following states have also passed hemp legislation:

9. California: In 2007, AB 684, would have made California the 9th state to eliminate its barriers to state hemp production, and the 2nd state (ND) to eliminate the DEA from the regulating and licensing of industrial hemp farming process, but it was vetoed again by Gov. Schwarzenegger on Oct. 11th, 2007, as was as similar bill, AB 1147, on Sept. 30th, 2006. In 2008, the state legislature is considering the Governor's veto.

In 1999, California Assemblywoman Virginia Strom-Martin introduced HR 32. The resolution declared, among other findings, that the legislature should consider action to allow industrial hemp production in California as an agricultural and industrial crop. The Assembly passed HR 32 the following month. Then Assemblywoman Strom-Martin introduced AB 448 in 2001 to license industrial hemp for commercial purposes. The bill died in committee. In 2002, Assemblywoman Strom-Martin introduced AB 388, requesting that the University of California conduct an assessment of industrial hemp among other crops. AB 388 ultimately passed the legislature but was vetoed by Governor Gray Davis later that year.

10. Minnesota: On May 25, 1999, Governor Jesse Ventura signed House File 878, the House Omnibus State Government Finance Bill, which included an amendment requiring state officials to submit an application for federal permits to grow "experimental and demonstration plots of industrial hemp." The bill was overturned when Ventura left office after 2002.

11. New Mexico passed and signed a hemp study memorial and Congressional resolution urging Congress to allow hemp production, HM 49, on March 6th, 2007.

A bill in 1998 that would have given $50,000 to Univ. of NM for study was vetoed by Gov. Johnson, which is puzzling considering he is an avid cannabis advocate.

12. Arkansas: In 1999 SR 13 was signed into law requesting the Division of Agriculture along with the Univ. of AR to study the potential uses, and feasibility of industrial hemp and Kenaf, including an analysis of required soils and growing conditions, seed availability, harvest methods and environmental benefits. The report was requested by December 31, 2000.

13. Illinois: In March or 1999 SR 49 & HR 168 were passed, forming a task force to study the economic viability of industrial hemp production in IL, identify any legal obstacles, and return recommendations by January 1, 2000.
In 2000, HR 553 was passed, urging congress to repeal restriction of hemp farming.

In 2002, SB 1397 & HB 3377 passed, requiring the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University to study the feasibility and desirability of industrial hemp production in Illinois. Gov. George Ryan's vetoed the measure twice, despite changes to meet his objections upon his first veto.

14. North Carolina: H 1723 & S 1572 were passed, and signed into law by Gov. Easley on Aug. 16th 2006, which Creates an independent commission to study the beneficial uses of industrial hemp.

15. Virginia: HJ 605 passed in 2001, which Requests the Commission on Rural Prosperity to consider the growth and production of industrial hemp in VA as a means to promote rural prosperity.

In 1998 HJ 94 passed, which Memorializes the Secretary of Agriculture, the Director of the DEA, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy to permit the controlled, experimental cultivation of industrial hemp in VA.

16. South Dakota: A committee rejected plan to legalize growth of hemp in 2001. In 2002, Initiated Measure One, which would have eliminated state barriers to hemp production, was voted down by SD voters on the general ballot getting 39% of the vote.

17. Nevada: Did not introduce a bill in 2008, but did add term industrial hemp to definition of biomass in NV revised statutes.

18. South Carolina: H 3305, which permit development of industrial hemp industry was referred to Committee on Judiciary on Jan. 10th 2008, and is still in committee for consideration.

The following states have introduced hemp legislation, but the bills were not passed:

19. Arizona: '01 (Vetoed by Gov.)
20. New Hampshire: '98, '00, '01, '02, '03, '07, '08
21. Oregon: '97, '01, '03, '06, '07
22. Iowa: '03, '01, '00, '99
23. Wisconsin: '02, '07, and '08
24. Missouri: '96, '97, '98
25. Idaho: '01, '07
26. Colorado: '95, Ô96
27. Nebraska: '00
28. Kansas: '98
29. Tennessee: '99

For more information on state legislation, visit votehemp.com

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