Lawmakers in two western U.S. states advanced hemp initiatives this week, while another races against a Feb. 24 deadline to keep its prospects for a new hemp law alive.
In New Mexico, the state House of Representatives passed a bill that would decriminalize hemp by a vote of 53-13. Lawmakers say Senate passage, which is expected, would clear a path for industrial-scale hemp farming in the state. But a similar bill that passed both houses of the state legislature last year was vetoed by the governor.
This year’s measure would eliminate the need for licenses to grow hemp, treating the crop like other basic plants. While it would end state prohibition, those who may choose to plant hemp could still risk violating ongoing federal prohibitions still in place. (more from Tenth Amendment Center)
Exempting hemp in Arizona
The Arizona State Senate has taken initial steps aimed at decriminalizing hemp in that state. A proposed measure there would exempt hemp from state marijuana laws on the books by allowing the cultivation of cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC, a threshold that many varieties of hemp can meet. It would legalize industrial hemp production, processing, manufacturing, distribution, and commerce by licensed growers and processors in the state. That bill has passed out of a Committee on Commerce and Public Safety to the Arizona Senate’s Appropriations Committee where approval would forward it for a Senate vote. (more from ganjapreneur.com)
Wyoming bill in senate committee
In Wyoming a measure that would create a state-supervised hemp farming program has passed the House of Representatives 52-6 and moved on to a Senate committee. Proponents say it would have a strong chance of approval in the Senate. That bill could, however, get hung up in a rush to meet a Feb. 24 deadline for passage out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill, which would go into effect in July, relates to hemp in food products, farming, research, licensing requirements, taxation and rulemaking authority, and would shield hemp growers from prosecution for marijuana. (more from wyofile.com)
Meanwhile a bill that would remove industrial hemp from Washington’s list of controlled substances is also moving through that state’s legislature.