Committee Clears Hemp BillPosted: Updated:
The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has approved a proposal involving hemp. The bill would set up guidelines for the state to license the production and cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes, including fuel, textiles and plastics. You can view the full proposal by clicking here.
January 24, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - On Friday, the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved Senate Bill (SB) 357, a proposal authored by State Senator Richard D. Young (D-Milltown) that would legalize the cultivation and production of industrial hemp in Indiana. Sen. Young said that its time for Indiana to stop missing out on this crucial investment opportunity.
"Indiana's agricultural sector is a vital driver of economic activity for the state, and it is imperative lawmakers consider common-sense proposals to improve and diversify yields," said Sen. Young. "Hemp is good for Indiana's agricultural sector, the environment and the state's economy; it truly can be Indiana's next cash crop."
This multipurpose crop can be used for food, paper, fuel, textiles and plastics. Hemp also has numerous environmental benefits. It is a very leafy plant and naturally resistant to pests, eliminating the need for pesticides and herbicides. Hemp and its products are also 100 percent biodegradable.
"The fact of the matter is, industrial hemp can be grown in diverse climates and can be harvested just 120 days after planting," said Young. "Hemp is a product that farmers in Indiana could rely on from season to season when corn and soy yields are vulnerable to fluctuating environmental conditions."
Sen. Young also said Southern Indiana was once a leader in providing industrial hemp rope as part of the war effort during World War II when the United States encouraged all farmers to grow hemp. However, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 erroneously lumped industrial hemp with marijuana and outlawed production of either, despite their differences.
SB 357 also sets additional provisions providing for appropriate oversight from the Office of the Indiana State Chemist and Seed Commissioner, as well as the Indiana State Police. Individuals interested in growing hemp would be required to obtain a license and would be subject to periodic inspections. Any applicants for a license would be subject to a state or federal background check and would be ineligible if they were found to have a drug-related felony or misdemeanor in the last decade.
Ten states, including Kentucky and West Virginia, have recognized the many benefits of hemp and taken steps to legalize its cultivation with an appropriate amount of oversight. The Indiana Farm Bureau has also endorsed industrial hemp and has supported legislative efforts to legalize its production.
SB 357 passed the committee by a unanimous vote and now moves to the Senate chamber for further consideration.
Sen. Young represents Senate District 47 which encompasses portions of Crawford, Dubois, Harrison, Orange, Perry and Washington counties. For more information on Sen. Young, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business, call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s47.
Source: The Indiana Senate Democratic Caucus