Missouri Hemp Bill Heard Before Senate Agriculture Committee

A bill (SB 972) to allow for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp in Missouri was heard before the Senate Agriculture Committee. Introduced by Sen. Jerry Howard (D-Dexter), the legislation permits licensed growers to cultivate industrial hemp for a variety of commercial uses.

Although no vote was taken by the committee, those attending report that the hearing was positive and signified a step in the right direction. In all, four witnesses testified in favor of the bill and no witnesses opposed it.

Because the legislation was introduced late in this year’s legislative session, there is little hope of it being approved in 1996. Nevertheless, hemp proponents are encouraged that this hearing will provide a “running start” for the introduction of a similar bill in 1997.

We are “laying the groundwork for next year,” said Missouri NORML President Dan Viets, Esq., whose office provided Sen. Howard with background materials regarding the uses of industrial hemp. Viets added that Howard has been “encouraged” by the favorable response his bill has received.

According to the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project (CO-HIP), one Missouri farmer has already applied for a DEA permit to grow hemp and is hopeful that the legislature will at least pass a resolution supporting industrial hemp research before the completion of this year’s session.

For more information on the Industrial Hemp Production Act of 1996, please contact either Dan Viets at (573) 443-6866 or the Oxford Hemp Council at (573) 785-8711.