Arizona Governor Vetoes Hemp Bill


Arizona Governor Doug Ducey approved a whole bunch of new laws in the Grand Canyon state, but the Republican leader thought hemp farming would be too expensive, apparently. On Monday, May 22, he vetoed SB 1337 which passed with a overwhelming majority through the legislature.

That was the only reason he gave for the veto. The bill provided no direct funding to the state Department of Agriculture top administer the new program. Under federal guidelines passed in 2014, hemp farming can occur in a state when they regulate the crop under their department of agriculture or for research purposes.

The law was introduced earlier this year by Republican Sen. Sonny Borrelli. The bill would have legalize the cultivation, distribution and sale of industrial hemp under state oversight for licensing and regulation.

There was a lot of support for the bill, which passed the Senate 26-4 in favor and the House by a 53-2-5 margin in favor. Cronkite News reported:

“It’s good policy. It’s economic development, and it’s good for the agriculture community,” Borrelli said.

Borrelli praised the benefits of hemp production as an economic driver, saying it would create jobs and potentially bring Arizona into a growing industry. He added that hemp also could prove a big boost for agriculture in the water-sensitive state because it requires less water than cotton to grow.

In Oregon, the hemp and farming laws created a fee structure so the program would be self supporting. The farmers pay for the testing on their crops. There are creative ways to fund a program like this, which will have minimal costs in the first couple of years as it gets off the ground. Lets hope Arizona can be more creative in a future legislative session so they can join the legal hemp producers.

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