California Industrial Hemp Bill Now Law

Industrial hemp in California
Image: chrisbeez

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1409 (SB 1409) into law this week, enabling the state’s farmers to grow industrial hemp.

SB 1409 was championed by Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita.

“This is a big win for our local farmers! Industrial hemp uses less water than other crops and needs little to no pesticides,” said Senator Wilk. “It is used in over 25,000 different products, and manufacturers that use hemp in their products have discussed locating to the Antelope Valley. The passage of SB 1409 will bring mortgage-paying jobs to our district.”

The bill enables a pilot program to proceed pursuant to the federal Agricultural Act of 2014 and updates the definition of industrial hemp. Previously existing law defined “industrial hemp” to be the same as that term is defined in the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act. SB 1409 also removes a requirement that industrial hemp seed cultivars be certified on or before January 1, 2013.

Growers will be able to grow plants with a THC content of up to 1%, which will provide a wider range of choice of cultivars.

More on Senate Bill 1409 can be viewed here.

It’s been an odd situation in the state with regard to industrial hemp. California’s hemp industry looked set to go back in 2013 when Senate Bill 566 was enacted, but proposition 64’s passing in 2016 that legalised recreational marijuana failed to properly differentiate it, undoing the efforts made in SB 566. All that has been set right with SB 1409

“California can now compete with thirty other nations and nineteen states in the growth of industrial hemp” said Senator Wilk. “This will be a boon for California’s economy and local farmers.”

The Senator has previously stated California is the largest consumer market for hemp materials in the USA.

While the new law enables the growing of hemp for commercial and industrial uses, there’s no specific mention of pharmaceutical applications or cannabidiol.

In other recent related news, Governor Brown also signed a bill into law preventing veterinary physicians in the state being penalised for discussing the use of medical cannabis for pets with their owners. While putting his name to a couple of cannabis-related bills recently, Governor Brown also vetoed a number of others.