Arizona Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Legalized Industrial Hemp

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey speaks in Phoenix in 2016. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia)

PHOENIX, AZ — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on Monday vetoed a bill that would have allowed the licensed cultivation and production of industrial hemp in the state.

Senate Bill 1337 was overwhelmingly approved by both chambers of the legislature, who could easily override the veto.  The Senate initially voted 26 to 4 to approve the bill, which cleared the House by a 53-2 vote.  After some changes were made in the House, the Senate gave final approval of the measure by a 29-0 margin, with one abstention.

The bill, which could still become law if the legislature votes to override Gov. Ducey’s veto, would have allowed farmers to cultivate industrial hemp, overseen by the state Department of Agriculture.

The proposal was based on a 2014 federal policy that allows states to grow hemp for research purposes in accordance with federal guidelines. The Agricultural Act of 2014 allows universities and state departments of agriculture to begin cultivating industrial hemp for limited purposes if certain conditions are met:

  • the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research; and
  • the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under the laws of the state in which such institution of higher education or state department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.

Senate Bill 1337 was written to conform to those federal guidelines.  The full text of the measure can be found here.

According to the Arizona Daily Sun, Gov. Ducey said his only reason for the veto was the failure of the bill to provide funding for the state Department of Agriculture for administering the program.

Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa that contains only trace (less than one percent) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis.

Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing.

The United States imports an estimated $500 million worth of hemp annually from other countries.

The world’s leader in hemp production is China.

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