Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Task Force Holds Public Meeting

Hemp in Mississippi
Image: AV_Photographer

Yet another holdout state in the USA is perhaps moving closer to establishing a hemp industry (albeit very, very cautiously) – Mississippi.

By the end of last year, only a handful of U.S. states were yet to enact industrial hemp legislation – Idaho, South Dakota, Iowa, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio, New Hampshire and Mississippi. This year has seen most of those states edging towards legalising hemp and last week it was announced Mississippi was also taking another tentative step.

The Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Task Force met at Mississippi State Capitol today. The topics covered in the public meeting included regulation and cultivation,  University of Mississippi’s Cannabis Research Program*, law enforcement and other issues.

““In all our considerations, we will keep a keen focus on the interests of Mississippians, including our farmers, law enforcement and other stakeholders, as well as the general public,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson. “We will thoroughly explore the potential as well as the challenges experienced by other states.”

The Task Force, which consists of thirteen members including the Commissioner, was created by House Bill 1547; which was enacted during the 2019 Regular Legislative Session. Active since July 1, the Task Force’s role is to study the cultivation of hemp and make recommendations; submitting reports each year at least one month before the convening of the regular session.

This is positive progress but if hemp is to get the nod in Mississippi, it likely won’t be any time soon. An attempt to legalise hemp in in the state earlier this year failed; with HB0625 dying in committee in February.

While the 2018 Farm Bill makes hemp legal at a federal level, it is still up to the states to implement programs – or not.

As for the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s opinion on the topic, as at March its 192,000 strong membership had not yet created policy for industrial hemp

*UoM’s activities includes botanical, pharmacological and chemical studies of cannabis and collaboration with various government departments and industry partners in support of the development and commercialization of FDA-approved cannabis-based medicines.