A bill that would allow research into the growth of industrial hemp passed the House and is now headed to the governor’s desk. The House passed the bill on wide bipartisan vote, 54-12. There was very little debate on the bill that would allow New Mexico State University and the state Department of Agriculture to grow hemp for research purposes. Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, carried the bill on the floor. He had carried a similar bill on the House side.
A bill that would allow New Mexico to grow industrial-use hemp for research purposes passed a House committee and heads to the floor for possible consideration. The House Judiciary Committee voted 10-1 to approve SB 94 sponsored by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque. McSorley told the committee that the bill aims to bring New Mexico into compliance with the federal Farm Act of 2014. He explained that hemp is a cousin of the marijuana plant, but does not contain the psychoactive substance THC. McSorley said it was important to pass his bill this year, so that New Mexico does not fall behind 19 other states already studying the commercial viability of hemp.
A bill that would allow the growth of industrial hemp for research purposes passed unanimously through a House committee on Wednesday morning. The House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee committee, made up of mostly Republicans and moderate Democrats, heard Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, present his case for SB 94. The bill would allow New Mexico State University and the state Department of Agriculture to study the viability and logistics of growing industrial hemp. Republican members voiced their reluctance to vote for the bill. McSorley told the committee that it his bill is important to New Mexico and the agricultural industry in order to stay competitive in many markets.
An bill to allow a pilot program of growing industrial hemp was heard in a House committee on Wednesday, though no vote was taken. Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, presented his HB 357 to the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife committee without any official debate, public comment or committee votes. The bill would allow New Mexico State University and the Department of Agriculture to start a pilot program for industrial-use hemp. Maestas told the committee that he and committee chair Candy Spence Ezzell, R-Roswell, agreed to limit the meeting to discussion among committee members. Maestas said he made an amendment to the bill recently and wanted to give the committee time to review it.
A Republican Senator is considering introducing legislation that would allow farmers in New Mexico to grow hemp for industrial purposes. Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, is looking into the feasibility of growing industrial hemp as a way to supplement money from other crops grown in the state. Woods told New Mexico Political Report in a phone interview that he started looking at the possibility after speaking with New Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. Woods doesn’t plan on introducing it until he and Witte finalize the details.
“The agreement I made with the Secretary of Agriculture, who has to regulate [the production of hemp] was that I was going to make sure that he agreed with the outline of my bill before it was introduced,” Woods said.