The Missouri Hemp Association (MHA) announced that the state planted its first legal industrial hemp plot on July 1, 2019 after Missouri’s Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe signed Senate Bill 133 into law, allowing universities in Missouri to plant hemp on a research basis. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Don Rone, chairman of the Missouri House of Representatives Agriculture Policy Committee, and Rep. Rick Francis.
“Hemp is the biggest opportunity in the last 200 years to make Missouri farmers more profitable,” said Dale Ludwig, executive director of MHA, in a press release. “The opportunity for universities to put seed in the ground this year will help our growers be more prepared for the 2020 growing season.”
MHA also praised the Missouri Department of Agriculture for expediting the permitting process for growers. “We are really excited to bring this new commodity to our state – one that can make a major financial impact on farms across Missouri,” said William J. Cook, chairman of the board for MHA, in a press release. “The university research that is taking place now will help our farmers produce a high-quality hemp crop for the domestic and world markets.”
Missouri follows Texas and Louisiana in signing hemp legislation. In June, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 49 into law authorizing hemp agriculture, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1325 into law allowing Texas farmers to grow hemp commercially. Both states are still in the process of finalizing growing regulations before the 2020 growing season. Louisiana’s bill puts limits on the types of CBD products that can be sold in the state. For example, they must be sold as food or cosmetics, and not marketed as dietary supplements, which is in line with federal law. CBD retailers are also required to obtain licenses from the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control, which sets limits on the types of hemp products they can sell, for example, prohibiting the sale of smokable hemp.