Some polls show that a majority of Missouri residents support the legalization of marijuana in the state.
But what about hemp?
"If you're trying to get high off it...it's not a good idea," John Payne, executive director of advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis Regulation tells Daily RFT, emphasizing that this bill is not about smoking cannabis.
What is the purpose of legalizing the hemp industry in Missouri?
Senate Bill 358 would exempt "industrial hemp" -- defined as "cannabis sativa L. containing no greater than one percent THC" -- from the definition of marijuana and the list of controlled substances.
In other words, while marijuana remains an illegal substance, there's no reason that hemp, a cannabis product that isn't used as a drug and has basically no THC, should be considered an outlawed substance.
"It's important to remind people that hemp used to be one of the most important cash crops in the state," says Payne. [corrected]
Like marijuana, hemp is illegal at the federal level -- and would in that way remain illegal even if Missouri passed this law. It would at least create similar state-federal conflicts like the challenges that now exist in states that have legalized marijuana.
"It's really in some way symbolic," says Payne, who testified in favor of the bill at a hearing on Tuesday. He says there were very few opponents and is confident that the bill will move forward out of committee.
Continue for more details on the hemp bill and the full draft legislation.