JEFFERSON CITY, MO — Legislation to legalize the licensed cultivation of industrial hemp, Senate Bill 358, has received a hearing and awaits action by the Missouri Senate General Laws Committee.
Senate Bill 358, sponsored by Senator Jason Holsman (D—Kansas City), would exempt industrial hemp—defined as containing less than 1% THC—from the state’s controlled substances act and allow anyone not convicted of a drug-related crime to grow it, allowing Missouri to authorize a licensed, statewide hemp industry.
An identical bill was introduced in the House last year, but never received a hearing.
Similar bills to allow farmers to grow hemp have been introduced in several other states, including Kentucky, Minnesota, and Vermont.
Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only minute (less than 1%) 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.
Cultivation of industrial hemp is currently prohibited by the federal government, but legislation has been introduced in Congress to allow the commercial production of hemp in the United States, the only industrialized nation in the world to prohibit the cultivation of hemp.
Hemp products can legally be sold in the United States, but the hemp must be imported from other countries.
The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop, according to a 2005 Congressional Resource Service (CRS) report.