Hemp pilot program clears House with 92-0 vote
Ponca City Now - March 7, 2018 4:11 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill expanding Oklahoma’s agricultural options sailed through its first floor hearing and received unanimous approval in the Oklahoma House of Representatives this week.
House Bill 2913 by Rep. Mickey Dollens and Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program. Under the Agricultural Act of 2014, the federal government enabled states to begin experimenting with growing hemp as a cash crop.
“The potential provided in this bill is limitless,” said Dollens, D-Oklahoma City. “In the long term, industrial hemp could become a source of steady, recurring revenue for Oklahoma. Once we analyze results from this pilot program, our state can be on track to commercialize the product and strengthen our economic portfolio.”
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry will manage the program, which allows universities or farmers contracting with universities to cultivate certified hemp seed for research and development for industrial uses. HB 2913 creates within the department a revolving fund that will consist of all registration, lab, and inspection fees paid by program participants.
“This bill’s unanimous passage is a fantastic example of the bipartisanship that can occur inside the Capitol,” said Echols, R-Oklahoma City. “When lawmakers on both sides of the aisle brainstorm creative ways of increasing revenue and expanding our economic resources, Oklahomans reap the rewards. I’m honored to work with Rep. Dollens on this legislation, and I look forward to the opposite chamber’s consideration.”
The bill now moves to the Senate, where Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle, is the author.