SAINT PAUL, MN — A bill to permit and regulate the cultivation of industrial hemp was introduced to the Minnesota Senate on Thursday.
Senate Bill 1590, the Industrial Hemp Development Act, was introduced by Senator Branden Petersen (R- District 35) and Senator Sean R. Nienow (R – District 32). The bill has been assigned to the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
If passed, the bill would authorize industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, placing the licensing and enforcement under the state’s Department of Agriculture.
The bill would require farmers to be licensed prior to growing hemp, and establishes the license requirements and fees.
The bill also exempts hemp from the definition of marijuana in the state’s controlled substance laws.
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than one percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing. The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to the Congressional Resource Service.
Of the eight states who previously approved industrial hemp legislation, only Hawaii has received a federal waiver allowing them to grow an acre of hemp for research purposes.
Federal legislation, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, to amend the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana is currently pending in the US Senate and House of Representatives.