Legislature sends hemp bill to Governor

Legislature sends hemp bill to Governor

By Rachael Dunn

Championed by state Reps. Rick Francis and Dan Shaul and Sens. Denny Hoskins and Mike Cunningham, the Missouri legislature has truly agreed and finally passed a bill modifying laws related to hemp production on a final vote in the Missouri house of 135-4. 

“It is new, it is expensive, so it is not going to be easy, but I have no doubt that we can do it,” Francis said. “It gives our farmers the freedom to add another crop. And it is a crop that can have many significant uses.”

The bill repeals much of Missouri’s prior statutes regarding hemp, most of which have been in effect for less than half a year, bringing state statute in line with the federal farm bill, and also repeals all acreage limitations from the Industrial Hemp Program. Provisions regarding the Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program and the Missouri Crop Improvement Association are also repealed.

“We need to update our language to meet the standards from the 2018 Farm Bill,” said Rep. Francis, who filed HB 824, testifying in a committee hearing. “State law cannot be less restrictive than federal law. It can be more restrictive but not less.”

Under the bill, hemp farmers must obtain a permit from the Department of Agriculture and anyone currently growing industrial hemp must obtain valid registration within 30 days. Fees are set by the law.

Missouri farmers have not been able to grow hemp yet, meaning the vast majority of CBD and hemp products sold in Missouri are not sourced from in-state. There are two previously licensed growers in the state.

“Is there demand? There absolutely is,” Jay Humfeld, owner of Hemp Life Kansas City, said in a hearing, going on to say the sooner Missouri can grow, the sooner Missouri can benefit.


Universities will be allowed to plant and research hemp starting this year. The legislature added an emergency clause, which passed with a vote of 131-6, to the provisions related to university research. That section of the law will go into effect upon the Governor’s signature.

“Our universities need to have this, our farmers need to have this,” said Rep. Don Rone. 

The goal of the university allowance is to give in-state farmers research about in-state hemp cultivation. 

“We are not at zero information because we have states that are very close to us that are doing this,” said Francis. “We have farmers here in Missouri that are farming hemp in other states.”

Finally, the act also creates the “Pesticide Education Fund”, which shall be used to provide funding for pesticide applicator certification programs, pesticide education programs, and pesticide waste and container disposal programs. This provision has been of interest to those looking to cultivate medical marijuana who were concerned with pesticide drift.