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House Amends Hemp Bill, Restructures Advisory Committee

By Samantha Horton, IPB News | Published on in Agriculture, Government, Politics
(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

A House committee has restructured the membership of a hemp advisory committee – if growing the crop is legalized in the state.

Senators had removed farmers from the committee, but the House version of the bill includes them, as well as an elected sheriff and a member of the Midwest Hemp Council.

Rep. Christy Stutzman (R-Goshen) says she likes the majority of the bill.

“I got, you know, growers in my constituency that are very excited,” Stutzman says. “They’ve already, you know, planned several hundred acres of this. So it’s exciting to see this move forward.”

Justin Swanson, a lobbyist representing the hemp industry, says he was happy to see amendments adding subject matter experts back to the committee, as well as the allowance of products allowing the vaping of hemp extracts.

However, he says there are concerns the bill could criminalize currently-legal products.

“The hemp flower, whether you agree with its medicinal benefits or what not, it’s still the easiest way for Hoosier farmers to enter this really emerging hemp market with the least amount of overhead,” Swanson says.

Last year, the national Farm Bill removed hemp from the federal controlled substances list.