Matteo Paganelli

House-Approved Idaho Hemp Bill Moves to Senate

A hemp bill has passed unanimously from the Idaho state House of Representatives to the Senate; lawmakers are anxious for a change in the face of hemp’s recent federal legalization.

Full story after the jump.

A bill to legalize hemp in Idaho unanimously passed the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday, paving the way for it to be voted on by the full Senate, the Associated Press reports.

Gov. Brad Little indicated that if the measure passed the legislature he would sign it so long as it includes amendments sought by law enforcement officials.

The measure already passed the House. The Republican governor told the AP he was “a little chagrined” it passed the chamber without those amendments. The amendments would include language that would allow police to intercept illegal cannabis – containing more than .03 percent THC – without being stymied by the new hemp law.

Scott Bandy of the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association indicated his group opposed the bill because, he says, it would prevent law enforcement officials from detaining potential criminals or using drug-sniffing dogs to locate illegal crops.

State Sen. Chuck Winder also said he was concerned about legalizing hemp while THC-rich cannabis remained outlawed.

This isn’t about an Ag issue out there, at least to me. This is about how do you provide a balance of allowing for potentially a crop that could be beneficial, without the disadvantage of the THC. So if there’s a balance that can be struck between the sponsors and law enforcement, I think that’s how we ought to go.” – Winder, via the Associated Press

His colleague Sen. Abbey Lee, who presented the bill to the committee, said lawmakers “really needed to do something this session” with regard to hemp legislation due to recent changes legalizing hemp at the federal level.

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