The New Hampshire capitol building in Concord, New Hampshire.

Ken Lund

A coalition of Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire has pre-filed a bill that would prohibit hemp’s designation as a controlled substance in the state, thereby legalizing full-scale commercial hemp farming and treating hemp just like any other agricultural crop. However, cultivators would still need to seek a federal permit if they wish to comply with federal law.

The measure, HB 151, was introduced in the House by Reps. Daniel Itse, J.R. Hoell, and James Spillane; with support in the Senate by Sens. Harold French and John Reagan.

The bill is refreshingly simple – instead of creating a tightly-regulated pilot program, the measure removes hemp from the state’s Controlled Drug Act, which would immediately allow its cultivation in the Granite State. In 2014, the federal government included language in the Farm Bill which allows state Agriculture Departments and universities to grow hemp for research purposes in states that already allow hemp production under state law. Connecticut and Vermont passed similar legislation in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

The bill will be formally introduced on Jan. 4. It was sent to the House Committee on Environment and Agriculture, and is expected due out of that committee by Mar. 3.

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