Idaho farmers interested in growing hemp will have to wait a little longer before the cultivation begins.
According to the article, most committee members were ready to pass the bill, while others requested more time.
If approved, H.B. 126 will “legalize the production, processing, research, and transportation of industrial hemp in the state, and it will allow Idaho farmers the opportunity to produce industrial hemp if they so choose,” the bill’s statement of purpose states.
Congress passed legislation that removed hemp’s status as an illegal substance in Dec. 2018, via the Agriculture Improvement Act (2018 Farm Bill).
In Dec. 2020, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul introduced the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act, which would challenge the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) interim final rule and possibly raise the legal tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration in hemp from 0.3% to 1%.
However, the USDA had its hands tied by what’s written in law when it issued its final rule on hemp earlier this year, which kept the total THC limit at 0.3%.
“Despite this federal action, hemp remains listed on Idaho’s Schedule I controlled substance list, and House Bill 126 wouldn’t remove hemp from this list altogether. Instead, it would only legalize hemp for farming purposes,” as reported by Magic Valley.
In February 2020, Idaho took a step toward undoing its hemp prohibition by legalizing interstate transportation temporarily.
At the time, the state was tied with Mississippi and South Dakota as the only three states which prohibited hemp cultivation. Since then, Mississippi and South Dakota have legalized the crop, making Idaho the only state in the country where the crop remains illegal.
The committee will pick up the legislation in a hearing on March 2.