A bill introduced in the Missouri State Senate would authorize the farming, production, and sale of industrial hemp in the state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same once put into effect.
Senate Bill 255 (SB255), introduced by State Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, would open up the industrial hemp market in Missouri if successfully passed. It would make it “legal for any person who maintains a permanent home in Missouri, has not been convicted of a felony or drug-related misdemeanor offense, and has received a three-year industrial hemp license from the Missouri Department of Agriculture to grow and cultivate industrial hemp.
A person wishing to do so would also have to receive an agricultural hemp seed production permit from the department of agriculture.
Missouri has the opportunity to join several other states – such as Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vermont – that have already passed similar measures. Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013, effectively nullifying federal restrictions on such agricultural activities.
Experts suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is around $500 million per year. They count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.
During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, which resulted in the famous campaign and government-produced film, “Hemp for Victory!”.
But, since the enactment of the unconstitutional federal controlled-substances act in 1970, the Drug Enforcement Agency has prevented the production of hemp within the United States. Many hemp supporters feel that the DEA has been used as an “attack dog” of sorts to prevent competition with major industries where American-grown hemp products would create serious market competition: Cotton, Paper/Lumber, Oil, and others.
Earlier in 2014, , President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The new “hemp amendment”
…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.
SB255 goes a step further than what is currently ‘allowed’ by the feds by authorizing industrial development of the hemp plant. This is an essential first step forward. Similar to the way marijuana prohibition has been nullified because of massive state action, states defying the federal industrial hemp ban can unleash a tidal wave of resistance that forces the feds to get their priorities in order.