SACRAMENTO – Senate Bill 153 (SB 153), a measure to ensure California is well-positioned to begin the cultivation of industrial hemp, has unanimously cleared the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, Senator Scott Wilk, D-Santa Clarita, announced Wednesday.
“The cultivation of industrial hemp presents an amazing opportunity for farmers in the Antelope Valley where they will be able to save five-acre-feet of water per acre by switching to it from other, thirstier crops,” said Wilk, who represents the 21st Senate District and introduced the bill.
“It also has the potential to bring mortgage paying jobs to the AV,” Wilk said. “Industrial hemp is used in 25,000 different products and I believe manufacturing will follow where the hemp is being produced. Good jobs means people won’t be commuting hours up and down the hill to Los Angles every day for work.”
In 2018, with the passage of SB 1409 (Wilk), California streamlined industrial hemp production rules and became compliant with then-existing federal law.
Later in the year, the president signed H.R.2 – the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (farm bill), resulting in new requirements. A state’s plan to license and regulate hemp can only commence by complying with federal law.
SB 153 would revise California’s provisions regulating the cultivation and testing of industrial hemp to conform to the requirements for a state plan under the federal farm bill. SB 153 requires the Secretary of CDFA, in consultation with the Governor and the Attorney General, to develop and submit a state plan to the Secretary of the USDA, on or before Jan. 31, 2020.
“(Wednesday)’s vote ensures California’s law conforms to changes in federal law,” Wilk said. “The ability to grow and compete in the industrial hemp industry is a big win for our local farmers.”
SB 153’s next stop: Assembly Appropriations Committee.