House Hemp Vote
The Vermont House of Representatives took a vote Thursday on a bill that would allow Vermont farmers to apply to the state for licenses to grow hemp.
Hemp, which the House Agriculture Committee was told is basically a strain of marijuana that doesn't pack the punch of the stuff that gets a smoker "high," still drew the strong opposition of Vermont State Police.
Nonetheless, that strong opposition carried absolutely no weight. The committee voted 11-0 in favor of H.267.
And today, the Hemp Bill hit the floor in the Vermont House for a vote on "second reading."
The envelope, please!
H.267, the Hemp Bill now heads for "third reading" and obvious strong House approval.
Rural Vermont, a big promoter of the legislation, said in a press release issued late Thursday afternoon:
The debate on the floor centered around the issue of federal policy. Representative Will Stevens (I-Shoreham), who reported the bill for the Agriculture Committee, explained that technically, it's possible to grow hemp under federal law. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) refuses to give licenses to growers who have applied for them. Representative Patti Komline argued that it didn't make sense to pass a bill if Vermont farmers would not be allowed to grow hemp anyway.
Rural Vermont director Amy Shollenberger explained after the vote, "We want our farmers to have the first chance to take advantage of the market when DEA changes its position. Also, this bill will add to the growing pressure on DEA to issue permits to U.S. farmers who want to grow hemp." Rural Vermont backed the bill, and hopes to take it all the way to the governor's desk by Town Meeting Day in early March.