Recently, the Idaho legislature was introduced to House Bill 122 to legalize hemp. . I had the privilege of sitting on the Agriculture Committee to hear it firsthand and understand its implications. The bill to legalize hemp passed out of our committee with a 'do-pass' recommendation. Just this week, it passed the House and will be headed to the Senate for a vote. But, what would hemp legalization look like and what does it mean? Overall, hemp legalization is a good thing for our state and its economy.
Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant similar to marijuana but without . Hemp doesn't have psychoactive properties like marijuana. Right now, our state is the only one in the West that hasn't legalized hemp. Congress passed a law last year that legalized hemp at the national level but required individual states to develop plans. That's when states like Colorado, Wyoming, and more have taken action to implement the national law at the state level. If hemp legalization passes, Idaho will be able to significantly participate in the larger hemp industry that is growing in nearby states. The economic impacts of legalizing hemp are not known yet but will likely be positive and significant. There are over 26,000 uses for hemp including paper, rope, clothing material, food, and more. Because of the inexpensive production capability of hemp and the higher demand for its materials we're likely to see the industry provide more jobs and great products leading to more money in local economies and tax revenue from increased business activity for local and state programs.
At the end of the day, the legalization of hemp is a positive and significant move for Idaho's legislature. If this passes the Senate and is signed by the governor, we'll see economic activity, more jobs, and likely more tax revenue from increased business activity. I'm excited to see where this goes. Make sure to keep up to date on my social media and newsletter to hear more about this bill.