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Early on in December, a bill was proposed in the Missouri State Senate to allow the cultivation, production, and distribution of industrial hemp within the state. This would also nullify the federal prohibition on industrial hemp. Senate Bill 584 (SB584) was profiled on December 1st to be introduced during the legislative session in 2016 by Senator Brian Munzlinger, a Republican from Williamstown. Also, SB584 sets up the guidelines to begin a commercial hemp program within Missouri. Here is what the bill states:

“Industrial hemp shall be an agricultural product that is subject to regulation by the department of agriculture, including compliance with an industrial hemp plant monitoring system. Any grower and handler of industrial hemp shall obtain a license from the department. Growers and handlers engaged in the production of agricultural hemp seed shall also have an agricultural hemp seed production permit.”

To correctly work within an industrial hemp field under SB584, cultivators would need to have their plants carefully monitored by regulators to make sure that the plants do “not exceed three-tenths of one percent on a dry weight basis.” Cultivators would also be expected to pay “reasonable fees as determined by the department [of agriculture] for the purpose of carrying out the duties of the department.”

Since the unconstitutional federal controlled-substances act in 1970, the DEA has prohibited the production of hemp within the United States. The agency claims that growing is not illegal, but the catch is that farmers can only grow hemp with a license provided by the federal government. This is because President Barack Obama signed a farm bill in 2014 that allowed for a few states to begin farming hemp for research purposes. The “hemp amendment…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges, and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.”

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