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Idaho Senate Approves Hemp Bill

State of Idaho

The Idaho Senate today [Monday] approved a bill that would require the state to create a plan to govern hemp in the Gem State. The vote was 32-to-three.

Hemp is now considered a legal product by the federal government. But there’s still confusion about hemp and its botanical cousin, marijuana. Hemp is like cannabis but without the psychoactive qualities of marijuana.

In January, the Idaho State Police stopped a truck driver who was transporting hemp in southern Idaho and arrested him for transporting marijuana, a felony.

The sponsor, Sen. Abby Lee (R-Fruitland), says her bill would put the state Department of Agriculture in charge of making rules for hemp. That includes allowing farmers to grow it, researchers to test it and companies to transport it.

“I’ve met some folks in Idaho who are importing hemp products from Kentucky. Currently, anything that has 0% THC is legal; you can transport it. So that’s going to be available. But this also just allows us to start putting together that state plan to deal with things that have THC,” Lee said.

The bill is slightly different than a version that previously was approved in the House. This version now goes back there for reconsideration. The Idaho Press is reporting that at least one of the bill’s sponsors in the House is unhappy with the Senate amendments. She says she’ll take her name off the bill. It’s scheduled to have a hearing on Tuesday.

Lee says the state would submit its hemp plan to the federal government later this year. The goal is to give farmers who want to grow hemp the chance to plant it next year.