Wyoming is another step closer to seeing industrial hemp once again growing in fields across the state.
On Wednesday last week, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed off on House Bill 0171, which removes hemp and hemp products from regulation under the Wyoming Controlled Substances Act. The bill provides rulemaking authority to the state’s Department of Agriculture.
Don’t expect to see hemp popping up in farmers’ fields immediately though. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture to submit a state plan for the crop’s regulation to the United States Secretary of Agriculture, per provisions made in the 2018 Farm Bill.
While the Wyoming Department of Agriculture only has 30 days to come up with a plan – and must consult the Governor and the Attorney General regarding the nature of it – the USDA will then need to sign off on that. Consequently, nothing may happen until next year given the USDA’s timeline. At this point in time, the industrial hemp home page on the Wyoming Department of Agriculture web site only has this to say:
“Check back soon for more information”
While legislation was passed in 2017 to legalize hemp cultivation in the state, no money was provided to monitor crops to ensure they were below 0.3 percent THC according to Wyoming Public Media. Consequently, no hemp was grown in the state last year. HB 230 was also passed into law without the Governor’s signature.
So, how does House Bill 0171’s being signed into law address issues that prevented hemp being grown under HB 230?
There’s $120,000 for administering the Act and $315,000 for “building maintenance, employee training, laboratory supplies and equipment and maintenance agreements necessary to implement this act.”
Champion of HB 0171 was Republican Bunky Loucks, who reportedly commented the ability to grow hemp will be of significant benefit to the state’s agricultural community. HB 0171 was co-sponsored by 23 other representatives and senators.
On a related note, the Wyoming Legislature passed legislation to allow supervised use of hemp extracts for medicinal treatment back in 2015, but it only applies to patients with intractable epilepsy and seizure disorders – and only on recommendation from a neurologist.