SCS/SB 255 - This act exempts industrial hemp, which is defined as cannabis sativa L. containing no greater than 3/10 of one percent THC, from the definition of marijuana and the list of controlled substances.
Under this act, a person may grow and handle hemp with an industrial hemp license. In addition, a person who wants to produce and handle agricultural hemp seed for sale to licensed industrial hemp growers and handlers must receive an agricultural hemp seed production permit from the department.
This act specifies the requirements for an applicant of an industrial hemp license and agricultural hemp seed production permit.
The department must issue a license or permit to an applicant who meets the statutory requirements and upon satisfactory completion of a fingerprint criminal history background check. Upon issuance of a license or permit, information regarding all license and permit holders shall be forwarded to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
An industrial hemp license or agricultural hemp seed production permit is nontransferable except to a spouse or child, is valid for a three-year term unless revoked by the department, and may be renewed as determined by the department.
This act requires that every grower or handler be subject to an industrial hemp plant monitoring system. The department may inspect a grower or handler to ensure compliance with statutes, department rules, the monitoring system, or a final department order directed to the grower's or handler's industrial hemp operations or activities. The department may also inspect any industrial hemp crop during the crop's growth phase and take a representative composite sample for field analysis. Crop exceeding the allowable THC limits may be detained, seized, or embargoed.
This act allows the department to charge growers and handlers reasonable fees as determined by the department. Growers and handlers must pay the costs of inspections.
The department must promulgate rules concerning the pilot program by March 30, 2016. In addition, the department must establish a committee by September 30, 2015 to advise the department on appropriate rules for the program. The committee is to be administered and appointed by the director of the department, but must include representatives from the agricultural programs at the University of Missouri-Columbia and Lincoln University, the Governor's Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri Sheriffs Association, and associations advocating for farmers and industrial hemp, and the Missouri Crop Improvement Association. Under this act, the committee is dissolved July 1, 2016, but may be reconvened by the department as needed to assist in rulemaking.
This act requires any person who cultivates industrial hemp to obtain a license from the Department of Agriculture. If a grower fails to obtain or maintain a valid license, the crop is considered marijuana.
The department is also allowed to revoke or refuse to issue or renew an industrial hemp license or agricultural hemp seed production permit and to impose a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 or more than $50,000 for a violation of the requirements of the license or permit, department rules relating to growing or handling industrial hemp, the monitoring system, or a final order of the department that is specifically directed to the grower's or handler's industrial hemp operations or activities. In addition, the department may revoke or refuse to issue or renew a license or permit for failing to comply with statute or for a violation of department rules regarding agricultural operations or activities other than industrial hemp growing or handling.
Under this act, a person who grows industrial hemp without a valid industrial hemp license is subject to an administrative fine of $500 and must obtain an industrial hemp license within 30 days. If the person obtains the license within 30 days, the fine is refunded. If the person fails to obtain a license within 30 days, the person is fined $1,000 per day until the person obtains a license or the crop is destroyed.
This act is similar to SCS/HCS/HB 830 (2015), HB 701 (2015), HCS/HB 2054 (2014) and SB 358 (2013), and HB 620 (2011).