JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tomorrow, Sen. Brian Munzlinger will pre-file legislation to add legal industrial hemp to the list of crops that Missouri farmers have in their rotations.
“Many of us grew up using an old hemp rope,” said Munzlinger. “Today, we’re just working to return to those roots. This is a legal crop with no recreational value. And it will bring more value-added agriculture to our state and more opportunities for our farmers and rural communities.”
Legislation to legalize hemp has been offered before in Missouri.
The legislation, as filed, will be completely compliant with federal regulations. Munzlinger hopes this change will appease organization like the Missouri Farm Bureau, who have opposed the legislation in the past.
“What we have here is an opportunity to advance our number one industry in the state,” added Munzlinger. “This isn’t something we should take lightly. The last election showed us how much our rural communities are feeling forgotten. This is just another tool in the toolbox to help farmers continue to provide food, fuel, and fiber to a growing population.”
Not only does the legislation mirror federal law on industrial hemp, Missouri will join several other legislatures to consider and perhaps approve plans to raise hemp. Farmers can cultivate hemp now in Kentucky, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
“Our challenge ahead is that the folks that are working to legalize marijuana in different forms will likely oppose this legislation,” said Munzlinger. “There’s nothing in it for them.”
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.