HB 126 hemp vote

The House passed the industrial hemp legalization bill, HB 126, by a 44-26 vote on Monday, March 8, 2021, sending the bill to the Senate side.

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The Idaho House has voted 44-26 in favor of HB 126, to legalize the production of industrial hemp in Idaho. "Idaho is the only state that has not legalized the production of industrial hemp in any form," Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer, told the House. "We've been considering this for the last several years. ... Though it may be seen as a bit constricting, it's a lot less constriction than what we have now, which is no production."

Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, spoke against the bill, saying it didn't go far enough because it didn't also legalize CBD oil with less than 0.3% of THC. "We need to remove hemp from Schedule I as all the other states have," Moon said.

Rep. Laurie Lickley, R-Jerome, said, "We're really ready to give our farmers and our processors the ability to have an option. We have a company in the Magic Valley that is ready. ... Their production lines are ready to roll the minute this bill is signed by the governor." She said, "Let's give our farmers an alternate crop."

Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee, said, "My daughter and her son are going to be able to grow hemp because they lease land from the Nez Perce Tribe. But my ground that's very close to their ground is not going to be able to produce any hemp, a legal commodity in the United States of America that this body is denying our farmers the right to grow. It's time to allow our farmers, all of our farmers, the right to grow this legal crop."

Rep. Kevin Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, said, "This is less restrictive than what we have now. ... We are the only state in America where you cannot grow hemp. Maybe later there can be discussions about CBD oil. ... Just vote on it for what it does, and it allows us the opportunity to grow hemp."

The bill now moves to senators for consideration.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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