Idaho Hemp Bill finally signed into law to legalize harvesting in all 50 states
And then it was 50 with the newly codified legalization of hemp in Idaho.
On Friday, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed House Bill 126, also known as the Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act. Similar laws were enacted in state legislatures across the country and ultimately received the eager signature of their respective governors – a trend sparked by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill by Congress. This bill legalized industrial hemp and paved the way for states to harness what has turned out to be a cash harvest in recent years.
With Little’s signature on HB 126, that trend finally came to Idaho, the 50th state to legalize industrial hemp.
According to the Associated Press, “the new law will not allow hemp products containing any amount of THC to be sold to Idaho consumers.”
According to the language of the draft law, the director of the state ministry of agriculture “must draw up a state plan as soon as possible, but no later than September 1, 2021, and submit the rules promulgated therein to the minister of agriculture in accordance with the 2018 draft farm law. ”
“The state plan must be drawn up in consultation with the governor, director of the Idaho State Police and Idaho Agricultural Industry, and to allow the production, processing, transportation and research of industrial hemp in Idaho as much as possible,” the bill continued .
Idaho hemp finally has its day
For proponents of hemp legalization in Idaho – especially farmers in Idaho – the passage of the bill meant legislative redemption after a similar effort failed a year ago. Last March, legislators in the Idaho House of Representatives voted to kill a proposal on industrial hemp.
One of the leading supporters was Republican MP Caroline Troy. She was the sponsor of the law, which passed successfully this year, just as she did with the failed legislation a year ago. When that bill fell through, Troy complained that a compromise designed to allay law enforcement officials’ concerns was not enough to get him across the line.
“This is the bill we tried to make it work for everyone and work most effectively for our farmers and producers, but also for our law enforcement agencies to protect our drug policies,” Troy said at the time.
Opponents of hemp legislation in Idaho cited known concerns that made it more difficult to enforce laws against marijuana, which is legal in several states bordering Idaho.
A study published early last year found that marijuana sales along the Idaho border in Oregon, where the recreational pot is legal, were 420% higher than the national average.
The study was courtesy of the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, whose economist Josh Lehner wrote at the time that the “edge effect is real.”
“Obviously, recreational marijuana is not legal in Idaho, but even after the data is thrown into a crude marginal tax model that takes into account income, number of retailers, tax rates, and the like, there remains a huge marginal effect,” Lehner wrote. “Roughly speaking, about 75% of sales in Oregon and closer to 35% of Washington sales in counties along the Idaho border are due to the fringing itself rather than local socio-economic conditions.”
Idaho residents will have to wait longer for their own legal market, although efforts to make legalization more difficult failed earlier this year. Legislators there last week turned down a proposal that would have put an electoral constitutional ban on legalizing marijuana.
Legislation would have blocked an offer to put a medical marijuana proposal on the ballot for next year.
“People in Idaho want mostly medical marijuana – it’s off the scales,” said GOP MP Mike Kingsley of the failed change. “Idaho is the last state that can just stand not giving people the drugs they need for cancer and nausea. There are so many people who medical marijuana works for, especially those with bowel problems and colon cancer, because opiates are very constipating. “