David Smith

Arizona’s House Land, Agriculture and Rural Areas Committee has approved a measure to legalize industrial hemp cultivation in the state, according to a report from Arizona Public Media. The measure has already been approved by the Senate.

Sen. Sonny Borrelli, the Republican bill sponsor, indicated the measure would help boost the state’s agricultural economy, noting that hemp uses “nine times less water than cotton,” and help the state’s cotton farmers “rotate in another crop.”

“This is rope. It’s not dope. You can smoke a whole bale of this stuff. You are not going to get high on it.” – Borrelli, to AZPM

The measure caps THC content on industrial hemp crops at 0.3 percent – in line with federal definitions – and creates a licensing system for prospective growers, including background checks and fingerprints. The measure does not specify the fee amounts; however, the Department of Agriculture is seeking $750,000 and three full-time positions to create the rules and oversee the program.

Several states have moved on hemp legislation so far this year. In January, the Missouri Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee heard testimony on hemp legalization legislation; and last month Alaska, Kansas, and Indiana progressed measure to implement hemp productions laws. Earlier this week, Oklahoma’s House approved an industrial hemp bill, and the Oregon Legislature reclassified hemp as an agricultural product to help jumpstart the industry.

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