A bill (H. 783) that could signal the first step in the establishment of a domestic hemp industry in Vermont became law without the signature of Gov. Howard Dean. However, hemp proponents maintain that the approved measure falls short of the bill’s initial expectations and acknowledge that any chance for local industrial hemp cultivation still remains far away.
Similar to a resolution recently approved in Hawaii, the revised Vermont legislation allows for research to be conducted into the feasibility of industrial hemp production, but removed language that would have authorized the state university to grow test plots in order to assess optimum soils and other growing conditions. The bill is a “compromise,” admits Rep. Fred Maslack (R-Poultney), one of the chief backers of the original bill. Maslack notes that Gov. Dean would have vetoed any legislation that allowed for the growing of hemp.
“It’s a start,” stated NORML Deputy Director Allen St. Pierre. “But it’s also an indicator of just how far we have to go.”
In sum, the approved measure maintains that: “The commission of agriculture, food and markets and the University of Vermont are requested to undertake research, of a minimum of two years in duration, of industrial hemp production in the state. [This research] shall include: (1) Analysis of market economic conditions affecting the development of an industrial hemp industry in the state of Vermont, (2) Analysis of whether Vermont soils and growing conditions are appropriate for economic levels of industrial hemp production, (3) Analysis of research undertaken elsewhere in the world regarding minimum THC levels of industrial hemp production, and (4) Analysis of possible law enforcement aspects of industrial hemp production in Vermont.”
For more information, please contact either the Colorado Hemp Initiative Project (CO-HIP) at (303) 784-5632 or Rep. Fred Maslack at (802) 287-9298. For more information on state efforts to initiate domestic hemp cultivation, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500.