Two bills to legalize production of industrial hemp have been introduced in the CA legislature: SB 566 by Sen. Mark Leno (D-SF) and AB 1137 by Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Huntington/Newport/Laguna Beach). Both bills would revise the definition of marijuana to exclude industrial hemp and authorize its production with the provision that its potency not exceed 0.3% THC.
The Leno bill would take effect only if hemp production is authorized by federal law. This is designed to address Gov. Brown’s objection to Sen. Leno’s hemp bill from last year, SB 676, which he voted on the grounds that it violated federal law. Unlike last year’s bill, SB 566 doesn’t set up a pilot program, but authorizes general cultivation of industrial hemp.
The Mansoor bill is based on a 2006 bill by Leno and Chuck Devore (AB 1147), which was passed by the legislature but vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger. That bill would have authorized cultivation of hemp under supervision of the state Dept. of Agriculture.
With bills pending in both houses and bipartisan sponsorship, there appears to be an excellent chance that the California legislature will once again pass hemp legislation this year. The legislature has approved hemp bills on four occasions (2012, 2007, 2006 and 2002), but each bill was vetoed by the governor.
– Dale GIeringer, Cal NORML