The Missouri Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman plans to file industrial hemp legislation again in 2018.
State Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, says Missouri is “missing the boat.”
“I was at the Southern Legislative Conference two weeks ago and Kentucky and South Carolina, they are going great guns on that project,” Munzlinger says.
Munzlinger plans to pre-file the bill in December.
“You know the research they’ve got going on is phenomenal and what they’re being able to use industrial hemp products for,” says Munzlinger.
Munzlinger’s bill would allow those licensed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to “grow, harvest and cultivate” industrial hemp.
The Missouri House approved the industrial hemp bill from State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Union, in April by a vote of 126-26.
Munzlinger’s companion bill was approved in April by the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee 5-1. Munzlinger’s bill died in the full Senate in May.
“I think we’re missing the boat here in Missouri by not being engaged,” Munzlinger says. “Of course, I think a lot will determine how far we go with it. It depends upon the federal and the way they look at it.”
Bill opponents include the powerful Missouri Farm Bureau, which testified in April that they’re not opposed to industrial hemp. Missouri Farm Bureau State Legislative Affairs Director B.J. Tanksley testified in April that the program must fall in line with federal law.
Supporters predict that multiple processing plants will be built in Missouri, if the bill passes. They say Kentucky is a leader in industrial hemp production.
Rep. Curtman tells Missourinet he also plans on filing the industrial hemp bill again next session.
Curtman was elected to the House in 2010, the year that Munzlinger was elected to the Senate. 2018 will be their final year in their respective chambers, because of term limits.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Missouri Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Brian Munzlinger, which was recorded on August 17, 2017 at the State Fair in Sedalia: