The Michigan Senate Agriculture Committee passed a pair of bills on Thursday to allow the cultivation and production of industrial hemp. Both bills passed through the House earlier this year.
HB 5439, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Daley, sets up the necessary criteria for universities and other organizations to participate in the nationally-approved opportunities for pilot hemp programs. This bill passed in the House unanimously in May.
The other bill, HB 5440, was proposed by Rep. Peter Pettalia and was sponsored by 64 different Michigan House Representatives. Pettalia’s bill removes the criminal classification of hemp and scientifically segregates it from cannabis, hemp’s psychoactive cousin. The bill passed in the House with a 108-1 vote.
The Michigan legislative session is slated to end December 18. It remains unknown whether or not lawmakers will be able to pass legislation on hemp this year, or if the issue will have to wait until the next session.
“The Senate is ready to get this done and I am hoping for a unanimous vote in the Senate like we had in the House,” said Steven Sharpe, Board member of the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “It’s what’s best for Michigan,” he said.
Photo Credit: David J