Oklahoma’s industrial hemp bill has moved to the desk of Gov. Kevin Stitt after it unanimously passed the state House late last week, NewsOn6 reports. The measure expands the current state program, which only allows hemp research by universities or colleges in conjunction with the state Department of Agriculture.
According to state Sen. Lonnie Paxton, a Republican author of the bill, the state’s regulations will mirror those established by the United States Department of Agriculture. By following federal hemp guidelines, the bill prevents another legislative review of rules for the state program, according to the Oklahoman.
“There will be no more lag time. We will be responding as quickly as the federal government will allow. This sets everything up so that everything will be in place for local farmers to have everything ready to go.” – Paxton, to the Oklahoman
Paxton said the bill might also encourage hemp processors to bring their operations into the state. Gov. Stitt is expected to sign the legislation.
Oklahoma is the latest state to pass hemp-related laws following last year’s federal Farm Bill, which effectively legalized hemp at the federal level. In Texas, hemp was removed from the controlled substances list earlier this month. Lawmakers in Maine last month passed emergency legislation to align the state and federal definitions of hemp. Lawmakers in Florida are considering a bill to establish rules and regulations for a hemp industry. The Idaho Senate is expected to take up its own hemp bill before the session’s end.