By: Cecil King
Missouri Hemp Enthusiasts Celebrate Hemp Week Without Hemp
Missouri hemp and cannabis activists don’t have much to celebrate during the 2017 Hemp History Week. The Missouri Senate failed to pass Paul Curtman’s HB 170 hemp bill in the 2017 session which would have allowed the Show-Me state to start industrial hemp cultivation.
This marks the third year in a row Paul Curtman (R) from District 109 has sponsored an industrial hemp bill that passed the house and failed to make it through the senate.
Last year, Brian Munzlinger, (18th Dist.), Chairman of the Senate’s Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee gave it a “Do Pass” recommendation, but Munzlinger moved to put Curtman’s 2016 hemp bill HB 2038 on the informal calendar. That move killed the legislation.
Curtman’s 2017 hemp bill, HB 170, earned Munzlinger’s vote again and passed the Ag committee with a “Do Pass” recommendation, but the bill stalled as the legislative session expired May 12, 2017.
Opposition to HB 170 came from the Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri Sen. Dan Hegeman (R) of the Senate’s Ag committee, who cast a no vote. The national office of the Farm Bureau would like to work at the federal level, not at the local level for Missouri farmers, to make rules about hemp cultivation.
Missouri farmers will miss another hemp harvest as states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Oregon and Colorado continue to expand their planted hemp acreage, build up seed stocks and gain valuable growing knowledge about the crop.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture in 2017 has tripled the number of acres of hemp cultivation from 2016 which now stands at 12,800. A total of 209 applications have been approved to grow industrial hemp in Kentucky. More than 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space were approved for indoor growers in 2017.
Meanwhile, this year’s HIA and Vote Hemp’s campaign theme, Breaking Ground, focuses on new advances in hemp agronomy research. They are focusing on new and innovative breakthrough product applications of hemp.
The Breaking Ground campaign will spotlight federal legislation efforts to expand hemp farming legalization to farmers and communities in sovereign tribal lands across America.
Vote Hemp estimates that the hemp market in the U.S. achieved 25% growth in 2016, reaching a total market value of $688 million.
The HIA filed a Petition for Review on January 13, 2017, in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, seeking to block the implementation of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) recently announced Final Rule regarding “Marihuana Extract,” which attempts to give DEA regulatory control over lawfully cultivated and manufactured cannabinoid products, including CBD products.
On February 6, 2017, the HIA filed an additional lawsuit against the DEA regarding the agency’s illegal attempt to impede interstate commerce of lawfully cultivated hemp food products.
More than 1500 grassroots events and retailer sales events are planned to occur nationwide before and during Hemp History Week and throughout the month of June.