By Dan Viets
A hearing on a bill to re-legalize the cultivation of hemp as an agricultural crop in our state, HB 830, was heard by the House Economic Development Committee on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 24. Caleb Rowden, Republican, of Columbia, chairs this committee.
Half a dozen witnesses spoke in support of the bill including Amber Langston of SMC and me. The committee seemed very receptive to supporting the bill. There were questions asked, but they were reasonable and intelligent questions.
Several speakers made the point that hemp has an amazing variety of important uses as a raw material used in the making of clothing, food, fuel, paper and building materials. One former member of the legislature testified that he wants to grow hemp on his small farm. A man who works in the environmentally conscious construction trade in Saint Louis also spoke about the potential for hemp to assist in more ecologically sound building practices.
I testified that I grew up surrounded by hemp on my father's farm in northwest Missouri where it grew on every uncultivated square foot of land. I reviewed the history of the Battle of the Hemp Bales in Lexington, Missouri, and urged members to watch the World War II U.S. Government film "Hemp for Victory" which is readily available on YouTube.
Committee members were reminded that four states have legalized hemp cultivation and that Missouri is well-positioned to take advantage of the re-emerging hemp industry. It is hoped that this legislation and similar legislation pending in the Senate will move out of committee quickly and reach the full House and Senate soon.
On Thursday morning, I spoke with Representative Rowden, a fellow Boone County attorney, about this legislation when he was on a local talk radio program. He made a public statement that he does support the hemp legislation and expects that it will move out of his committee soon.
Please contact your state Representative and state Senator right away and urge them to support House Bill 830 which will allow Missouri's farmers to once again cultivate this very valuable and useful crop.
Source: Show-Me Cannabis