Bill would create program to grow industrial hemp in Missouri

A Northeast Missouri state senator has pre-filed legislation to expand the growth of industrial hemp in the Show-Me State.

Hemp is a type of Cannabis plant that is grown for specific commercial uses. It was one of the first plants to be spun into fiber. Brian Munzlinger (R-Williamstown) has filed legislation that would exempt hemp from the Comprehensive Drug Control Act. Other varieties of Cannabis plants are used for marijuana, which is still illegal for medicinal and recreational use in Missouri.

This act creates an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp. Under this act, growers and handlers of industrial hemp are required to obtain a registration, and growers and handlers of agricultural hemp seed are required to obtain a permit, from the Department of Agriculture. An application for an industrial hemp registration or agricultural hemp seed production permit shall be accompanied by an application fee and shall include certain information as set forth in this act. Upon fulfilling the application requirements and a satisfactory fingerprint criminal history background check, the Department shall issue a registration or permit. All information relating to registration and permit holders shall be forwarded to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Any registration or permit is nontransferable except to certain family members, is valid for 3 years, and is renewable.

Read the bill's summary here.

Further, this act allows an institution of higher education, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, to engage in the study of the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp and seed.

A similar bill was proposed in the 2017 session without much traction. The bill receive a hearing in a Senate Committee but did not hit the floor for a final vote.

The bill is one of several Munzlinger has already filed for the 2018 legislative session, which begins on Jan. 3. Most of Munzlinger's pre-filed legislation deals with agriculture, natural resources, and farming. Munzlinger is a farmer based in Lewis County. His district covers all of the Northeast Missouri from the Iowa border south to Pike County.

Other pieces of legislation Munzlinger has pre-filed includes:

• A bill adding the word “bison” to the definition of livestock in Missouri.

• A bill creating a certification process for agencies who train individuals on animal abuse or neglect situations. The state veterinarian would approve or disapprove of training processes.

• An act prohibiting the State Tax Commission from promulgating a rule that increases agricultural land productive values more than two percent over the current values in effect prior to the rule promulgation or eight percent above the lowest value in effect in any of the ten years prior to the rule promulgation.