Source: Tenth Amendment Center Blog
JUNEAU, Alaska (Jan. 20, 2017) – A bill prefiled in the Alaska Senate for the 2017 session would effectively legalize industrial hemp production in the state, setting the stage for people to nullify federal prohibition on the plant in practice.
Sen. Shelly Hughes (R) filed Senate Bill 6 (SB6) on Jan. 9. The legislation would, in effect, remove hemp from the controlled substance list, and authorize growing, harvesting, processing and possessing the plant without a license.
The proposed law would make possessing hemp an “affirmative defense” for anybody charged with manufacture, delivery, possession, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance under Alaskan law. In other words, if a defendant proved they were in possession of industrial hemp, they would be innocent of any crime under state law. For all practical purposes, this would remove hemp from the controlled substance list.
SB6 would also open the door to grow industrial hemp in the state just like any other crop, without any state regulation by exempting it from licensing requirements under the state’s marijuana law.
“An individual manufacturing, delivering, or displaying industrial hemp is not required to apply for licensure or be licensed under this section.”
Passage of this legislation would have a similar effect as a bill passed in Connecticut in 2015. In short, the state would essentially treat industrial hemp like other plants, such as tomatoes. By ending state prohibition, residents in Alaska would have an open door to start industrial hemp farming should they be willing to risk violating ongoing federal prohibition.
FEDERAL FARM BILL
Early in 2014, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The “hemp amendment”
…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oil-seed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.