A bill is seeking to broaden industrial hemp cultivation in the U.S. state of Missouri, which was once a national leader in growing the crop.
Currently, just two cultivation and production facility licenses are issued in the state and that is the maximum number allowed to operate. Additionally, the licensees are only permitted to cultivate the plant to make hemp extract (CBD oil, not to be confused with hemp seed oil) for use in the treatment of epilepsy.
State Senator Brian Munzlinger has been seeking to change this and hopes this year will see broader planting permitted by more parties for purposes other than CBD oil. It’s an issue that is particularly close to his heart as the Senator is a lifelong farmer and understands the potential of industrial hemp in boosting the state’s agricultural economy.
His bill, SB 547, envisions an agricultural pilot program to carry out research on the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp. The program would be implemented by Missouri’s Department of Agriculture, which would issue permits to eligible parties – the Department (which could subcontract) and institutions of higher education; in line with federal law.
While restrictive, the bill could act as the thin edge of the wedge for even broader cultivation.
Under SB 547, growers would be permitted to retain seed from each crop in order to ensure a sufficient supply of seed for the following year. As in many other states, a maximum THC level would be 0.3%, and crops over this level could be seized and destroyed.
SB 547 had its first reading on January 3 and second reading on January 8. It has now been referred to the Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee.
While other similar bills from the Senator have been unsuccessful, he is confident of this bill being passed.
“We’ve been close to passing a bill on industrial hemp in the past, and hopefully this will be the year we do it,” he said. It will be a big and particularly symbolic win for the Senator, as 2018 will his final year in the Legislature.