Missouri’s State Senator Rob Schaaf has introduced Senate Bill 255 (SB 255), an act to remove industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana and the controlled substances list. Industrial hemp is defined as Cannabis sativa L. containing 0.3% THC or less.
This change would be a step in the right direction to ending the ban placed on industrial hemp by the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 after a rocky history. Similar acts have been passed in several states, including Colorado, Kentucky Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and others.
If passed, SB 255 would allow the growing and cultivation of industrial hemp by any person meeting the following criteria:
- has a permanent home in Missouri
- never been convicted of a felony or drug-related misdemeanor offense
- has an industrial hemp license from the Missouri Department of Agriculture
Growers then must comply with the following rules:
- implement an industrial hemp monitoring system
- plants must contain less than 0.3% THC
- random department inspections
Additionally, to produce and handle hemp seed for sale to other licensed industrial hemp growers, the person must obtain an agriculture hemp seed production permit.
Obtaining a license
The department of agriculture will issue a license (for growing/cultivating) or a permit (for sale of seeds) to all applicants that meet the requirements and complete a fingerprint criminal history background check.
The license/permit is nontransferable and is valid for three years, after which it must be renewed. The department of agriculture has the ability to revoke a license or permit if the person violates certain requirements or fails an inspection; and can hand out fines of $2,500 to $50,000.
Growing, distributing, delivering, etc. industrial hemp without this license would be considered an unlicensed industrial hemp production offense. This may result in a Class A misdemeanor or Class B felony.