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Philip Steffan

Oklahoma’s Senate has passed a hemp legalization bill by a huge 39-1 margin, according to a KOKO5 report. The bi-partisan measure unanimously passed the House last month.

Rep. Mickey Dollens, a Democrat, said hemp has the potential to be the state’s “next $1 billion industry.” Dollens, along with his colleague Republican Rep. Jon Echols, estimate the industry could generate about $300 million annually and create hundreds of jobs.

“The potential provided in this bill is limitless. In the long term, industrial hemp could become a source of steady, recurring revenue for Oklahoma. Once we analyze results from this pilot program, our state can be on track to commercialize the product and strengthen our economic portfolio.” — Dollens, last month, in a KOKH report

If signed by Gov. Mary Fallin, the program will be overseen by the state Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, allowing farmers and institutes of higher education to partner with one another to cultivate certified hemp seed – for plants containing 0.3 percent THC – for research and development purposes. The measure includes creating a fund using fees paid by program participants for the Agriculture agency to register growers, test products, and inspect cultivation sites; however, the legislation does not outline what those fees are.

If Fallin approves the measure, Oklahoma will become the 35th state to legalize hemp cultivation.

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