SALT LAKE CITY – A law that will broadly permit qualified license holder the growing and selling of hemp products is on its way to the discussion table of Representatives in the Utah House.
The purpose of House Bill 302 is to give power to the State Department of Agriculture and Food to issue a hemp-growing permit. This license is granted to anyone who wants to venture into the hemp industry and join a program that conducts industrial research on hemp.
Furthermore, the decree will allow merchants and farmers with licenses to grow, sell and distribute hemp-based products to their customers.
They only need to get authorization from the state to do these things.
The sponsor of the proposed bill, Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, informs the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee that federal law allows hemp cultivation.
However, they should clearly approve it in the state law.
Rep. Daw said that hemp and marijuana contain different compounds ; hemp has less than only 0.3 percent or less, THC content. Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the chemical responsible for the psychological effects of marijuana.
He told the committee on Friday that people can even smoke a lot of hemp without getting high.
Rep. Daw mentioned implications the proposed bill would bring. He said it would enable the state to issue licenses for farmers and growers to produce and market industrial hemp commercially.
Clothing, paper, and rope are some of the hemp-based products that consumers can buy on the market. Likewise, the CBD (cannabidiol) oil that comes from the hemp’s extract has medicinal properties.
The proposed bill got the support of the Department of Agriculture.
The department’s senior policy analyst, Melissa Ure, said that they were interested in the cultivation of the hemp. However, the public would not be allowed to grow this plant until further notice. For now, only the universities and the Department can plant hemp.
Ure is hopeful that the full approval and implementation of the bill will boost farmers and help them pursue new production and marketing opportunities.
Ure also explains that hemp and marijuana look similar because both belong to the cannabis species despite hemp having considerably low THC levels.
The body of experts, Libertas Institute, has expressed its full support for HB302 as it testified last Friday.
Molly Davis, a policy analyst for Libertas Institute, explained the industry use of hemp products, namely, food, cosmetics, plastics and even building materials.
She also noted that roughly 27 US states had passed bills that expanded the policies of studying industrial hemp.
All committee members unanimously voted for the bill to be forwarded to the House of Representatives.
Some of Rep. Daw’s sponsored bills on cannabis have also been questioned during this session.
The bills include HB197, a law that authorizes the Department of Agriculture to monitor cultivation of pure marijuana to improve research efforts in Utah. Another is HB195, which states that with a terminal illness may get medicinal cannabis products with their doctor’s prescription. Finally, HB25, which proposes minor revisions in the membership composition of the Cannabinoid Product Board.