HCS/SS/SCS/SB 547 - This act modifies provisions relating to industrial hemp.
Currently, marijuana and marihuana are considered Schedule I drugs for purposes of the Comprehensive Drug Control Act. This act defines industrial hemp and illegal industrial hemp, and exempts industrial hemp from the Comprehensive Drug Control Act.
This act creates an industrial hemp agricultural pilot program to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture to study the growth, cultivation, processing, feeding, and marketing of industrial hemp. Under this act, growers and handlers of industrial hemp are required to obtain a registration, and growers and handlers of agricultural hemp seed are required to obtain a permit, from the Department of Agriculture. An application for an industrial hemp registration or agricultural hemp seed production permit shall be accompanied by an application fee and shall include certain information as set forth in this act. Upon fulfilling the application requirements, completing a satisfactory state and federal fingerprint criminal history background check, signing an acknowledgment that industrial hemp is an experimental crop, and signing a waiver holding the Missouri Department of Agriculture harmless, the Department shall issue a registration or permit. All information relating to registration and permit holders shall be forwarded to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Any registration or permit is nontransferable except to certain family members, is valid for 3 years, and is renewable.
Under this act, the Department may revoke, refuse to issue, or refuse to renew an industrial hemp registration or agricultural hemp seed production permit, and may impose a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 and not more than $50,000 for violating registration or permit requirements, Department rules, industrial hemp plant monitoring system requirements, or certain Department of Agriculture orders. A registration or permit shall not be issued to any person that has been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, any felony offense under any state or federal law regarding a controlled substance within the previous 5 years. The Department shall refuse to issue an industrial hemp registration or agricultural hemp seed permit if approving such registration or permit would authorize the growth or cultivation of such hemp or seed on a plot of land that is less than 10 acres or more than 40 acres by any single registrant or permittee, or over 2000 acres of land statewide. Such acreage restrictions shall expire upon the expiration of the federal Agricultural Act of 2014.
Under this act, any person growing industrial hemp who does not have a valid registration shall be subject to an administrative fine of $500 and shall have 30 days to obtain such registration. If such person receives such registration within 30 days, he or she shall have their fine refunded in full. However, if such person fails to obtain such registration within 30 days, he or she shall be fined $1000 per day until such registration is obtained, and their crop shall be destroyed by the Department of Agriculture after 30 additional days.
Under this act, any grower may retain seed from each industrial hemp crop to ensure a sufficient supply of seed for that grower for the following year without the requirement to obtain an agricultural hemp seed production permit. Such seed shall not be sold or transferred, and does not have to meet hemp seed standards established by the Department of Agriculture. Further, this act provides that in the growing or handling of industrial hemp, no retailer of pesticides or agricultural chemicals shall be liable for the sale, application, or handling of such products in any manner not approved by state and federal agencies.
Each grower and handler shall be subject to an industrial hemp plant monitoring system and shall keep certain records as required by the Department of Agriculture. Upon 3 days notice, the Department may require an inspection or audit for purposes of ensuring compliance with industrial hemp laws, regulations, permit requirements, monitoring system requirements, and Department orders. Additionally, this act allows the Department to inspect any industrial hemp crop during the crop's growth phase. If such crop contains an average THC concentration exceeding 0.3%, or the maximum amount allowed under federal law, the Department may detain or seize the crop. The Missouri State Highway Patrol may perform aerial surveillance to ensure illegal industrial hemp and marijuana plants are not being cultivated on or near legal industrial hemp plantings, and they may coordinate with local law enforcement to destroy any such plants. The Department of Agricultural shall also notify the Highway Patrol and local law enforcement of the need to destroy illegal industrial hemp.
The Department may assess growers and handlers registered under this act fees for administering this pilot program. All fees collected shall be deposited in the Industrial Hemp Fund created under this act, which shall be used by the Department of Agriculture for administration purposes.
Further, this act allows an institution of higher education, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, to engage in the study of the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp and seed. Such institutions shall obtain a registration or permit from the Department for such study. The Department shall refuse to issue such registration or permit if approval would authorize the growth or cultivation of industrial hemp or agricultural hemp seed by institutions of higher education on over 20 acres of land statewide. Such acreage restriction shall expire upon the expiration of the federal Agricultural Act of 2014.
This act also allows the Missouri Crop Improvement Association, in collaboration with the Department, to establish and administer a certification program for agricultural hemp seed. Under the program, the Department may breed, plant, grow, cultivate, and harvest cannabis, and collect seeds from wild cannabis plants. Such program shall be voluntary for growers of industrial hemp.
The Department of Agriculture shall execute its responsibilities as they relate to industrial hemp in the most cost-efficient manner possible.
Currently, a food is considered adulterated if it meets certain criteria. Under this act, a food shall not be considered adulterated if it contains industrial hemp, or an industrial hemp commodity or product.
This act is similar to SS/SCS/HCS/HB 2034 (2018), HB 2514 (2018), and HB 170 (2017).