By Brendan Crowley
“This is not a plant that anyone is going to want to smoke,” Rep. Paul Curtman said of the industrial hemp that licensed Missourians will be able to grow and sell under a bill that passed both chambers.
Curtman’s bill will allow industrial hemp on up to 2,000 acres of Missouri land, with plots between 10 and 40 acres. Plots of less than 10 acres will be allowed for educational purposes.
Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, said she was disappointed that the only way to get the bill passed was to put so many restrictions on it — including the acreage limit and licensing.
“I’d love to see the background restrictions pulled off, the licensing restrictions pulled off,” Lavender said.
She said she understood why crops should be subject to spontaneous testing to make sure they’re really hemp, but beyond that she didn’t see the need for so many restrictions.
Curtman agreed that there should be fewer restrictions, and noted that hemp grows as a feral weed in Missouri. It’s often called “ditchweed.”
If someone has feral hemp growing on their property, they wouldn’t be able to harvest and sell that without a license under the bill.
“If you can make a buck just collecting something that already grows wild on your property, I think you should be able to do it,” Curtman said.
He said he hoped restrictions in the bill and at the federal level would be rolled back over time, as the point of the bill was to give more Missouri farmers the option to get into the hemp market.