Senate introduces law to legalize hemp
RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - The N.C. Senate introduced legislation Monday to remove hemp from the state controlled substances list, which would make hemp legal in North Carolina after a pilot program ends July 1.
A pilot program that began following the Industrial Hemp Bill in 2015 and led to industrial hemp being removed from the state Controlled Substances Act in 2018 was set to expire July 1 if no further action was taken.
Following the the federal farm bill action in 2018, oversight and regulation of hemp production was transferred from the state to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), removing industrial hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
North Carolina’s pilot program removed hemp from the state’s list of controlled substances temporarily; therefore, when the pilot program expired, state law would no longer differentiate between hemp and illegal marijuana, rendering hemp illegal in North Carolina.
N.C. senators recognized a technical change to the state’s law was required to mirror the federal regulations and introduced Senate Bill 762 to address this.
State Senator Michael Lee (Rep. District 9) cosponsored the bill and hopes it will progress quickly to avert challenges for hemp farmers on July 1.
“It should move pretty fast in the Senate,” said Lee. “Hopefully it will be in committee this week and on the floor by end of next week. It will then head to the house and not sure of their timeline. We are trying to make sure it is at the top of the agenda given the timelines. I am not sure about the reception it will receive in the house yet. We will know more in the coming weeks. Hemp was very controversial when it was first enacted.”
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