This week State Senator Randy Head’s industrial hemp Senate Bill 516 moved closer to Indiana law when it passed out of the senate. Among other things, SB516 outlines the procedures to apply to USDA to ultimately receive approval for hemp production in the state.
Justin Schneider, Indiana Farm Bureau Director of State Government Relations says the farm bill has helped get this bill moving where similar bills previously hadn’t.
“The reality is, once the federal farm bill said hemp was not regulated under the controlled substance act, we all anticipate that farmers will be producing hemp in the state of Indiana,” he told HAT. “The question is what does the final version of the bill look like? Farmers growing hemp is not controversial. The bill has been tied up in some of the questions and concerns about folks saying this product they have is hemp when it’s not.”
Schneider is now very optimistic that a new crop will soon be planted in the Hoosier state.
“The seed commissioner has the authority to get the approval from the federal government to run a program and issue licenses, and I think we’ll be moving forward with hemp production in the state of Indiana.”
After passing out of the senate Monday the bill moves to the house where there has been support in the past.
“It’s going to the house and the house has supported hemp production the last couple of years,” he said. “The senate has always been a hurdle and we’ve made it through that. I think overall what we saw play out in the senate, the issue of let’s not let somebody do something with marijuana and say it’s a hemp product. That’s always been a conversation in the senate and I think concern from law enforcement, so I think that’s all been addressed.”
The bill passed on a 47-1 vote and also has the support of Governor Eric Holcomb.