Democrat Gov. Dannel Malloy this week signed legislation, House Bill 5476, to study the feasibility of establishing a regulated commercial hemp industry.
The measure calls on the three state agencies, The Department of Agriculture, the Department of Consumer Protection, and the Department of Economic and Community Development to evaluate the feasibility of legalizing the possession, production, and sale of industrial hemp “for the purpose of encouraging economic development and increasing the number of new businesses in this state.”
Regulators must make recommendations to the General Assembly in regard to “establishing a licensing system for industrial hemp growers and sellers” by no later than January 1, 2015.
According to a 2013 white paper published by the United States Congressional Research Service, industrial hemp is “genetically different” from cultivated cannabis because it contains virtually no THC. The agency stated, “[A] commercial hemp industry in the United States could provide opportunities as an economically viable alternative crop for some US growers.”
In February, members of Congress approved language in the omnibus federal Farm Bill authorizing states to sponsor hemp research absent federal reclassification of the plant. Since then, lawmakers in six states – Hawaii, Indiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah – have enacted legislation allowing for state-sponsored hemp cultivation.
Article republished from NORML