Yesterday in Sacramento, a Senate committee passed a new bill that could legalize hemp production in California if - and that's a big “if” - the federal government ever changes hemp’s illicit status. The fight over hemp cultivation has been going for years across the country. Law enforcement worry the plant can be used to camouflage recreational, illegal marijuana. Some businesses say the economics make enforcement worth our while. In the meantime, those textile, soap and food businesses import hemp legally from countries including Canada and China.
Nearly a dozen states have passed mostly symbolic legislation supporting hemp farming. However federal law still prohibits the business. This new bill includes language that recognizes that fact, potentially avoiding veto by Governor Jerry Brown.
How else could legalized hemp complicate law enforcement efforts? Is the fate of hemp forever tied to the legal status of marijuana? Would importing hemp still be cheaper even if it were legal to grow in California?
Patrick Goggin, California Legal Counsel for Vote Hemp
John Lovell, Government Relations Manager, California Police Chiefs Association