CALIFORNIA: Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act. After moving smoothly through the California legislature with strong bi-partisan support, this landmark legislation has now become California law.
Introduced by Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 566 ensures that California is prepared to begin registering hemp farmers once the federal government has given states the green light. The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act will establish a framework for farming the oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant, which are used in a myriad of everyday consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, auto parts, composites, building materials, and bio-fuels. Enforcement and oversight of hemp production would be conducted in concert with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and county agricultural commissioners, as is done with other crops.
“SB 566 demonstrates the real momentum behind the national movement to legalize industrial hemp,” said Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “With Congressional bills to legalize hemp currently in both the House and Senate, California is on the cutting edge, pushing forward with an industrial hemp law that would not only stimulate much needed growth in local business and farming sectors, but ultimately lead the nation toward a federal policy change that would open hemp cultivation to hemp farmers around the country. This will lower our dependence on Canada and China for hemp imports, and empower our agrarian and manufacturing economies to finally tap into one of the fastest growing natural products in the market.”
“With the signing of this bill, California is poised to grow industrial hemp when the federal government gives states the green light,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “In the past year, the conversation to legalize the cultivation of hemp has gained momentum at the federal level, and it is only a matter of time before a farmer’s right to grow hemp is restored. Hemp, which is already found in hundreds of consumer products manufactured in our state, is a perfect crop for California. It has great potential to revitalize family farms, create new jobs and stimulate the economy.”
Strong support for the bill has come from The California Sheriffs Association, individual county sheriffs, family and organic farmers, environmental organizations, labor unions, and businesses statewide. 2 Vote Hemp and HIA believe that hemp farming registrations could be accepted as soon as 2014 based on the recent memo from Deputy Attorney General James Cole of theDepartment of Justice. “Before farmers can begin planting hemp under SB 566, the state will need to seek clarification from federal officials that state regulations for hemp farming meet the requirements outlined in the recent memo issued by Deputy Attorney General James Cole,” notes Vote Hemp Director Patrick Goggin.