CHARLESTON, WV — A bill that would remove a provision requiring an applicant to meet federal requirements prior to being licensed to grow industrial hemp in West Virginia was introduced last week to the House of Delegates.
The bill was authored by Delegate Mike Maypenny (D-Taylor County), who has also introduced two bills that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.
The bill, House Bill 3011, would remove the following wording from West Virginia’s Industrial Hemp Development Act of 1931:
Prior to issuing a license under the provisions of this article, the commissioner shall determine that the applicant has complied with all applicable requirements of the United States department of justice, drug enforcement administration for the production, distribution and sale of industrial hemp.Passage of House Bill 3011 would effectively re-enact the Industrial Hemp Development Act, allowing West Virginia farmers to grow hemp for the first time since World War II, when the US temporarily lifted the nation-wide ban on the growth of hemp, encouraging farmers to grow the crop for the war effort.
Currently, the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration prohibit the growth of industrial hemp in the United States.
Due to this prohibition, applicants for a license to grow hemp in West Virginia can not possibly comply with the applicable federal requirements, and no licenses to grow can be issued.
Legislation is also pending in Congress to once again allow the commercial production of hemp in the United States.
Hemp products can legally be sold in the United States, but the hemp must be imported from other countries.
Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
The world’s leader in hemp production is China.
Bills to allow the cultivation of hemp have been introduced in several other states this year.