By Bob Katzen

The Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee heard testimony on a bill that would allow Massachusetts farmers to grow and sell hemp that is used to make products for commercial sale. Under current law, only industrial hemp (hemp used solely for industrial purposes) can be grown in the Bay State.

If the bill passes, many allowable products would be made from hemp including cosmetics, personal care and grooming products; animal and human products intended for consumption such as dietary supplements, foods and beverages; and products intended for other uses such as cloth, fiber, fuel, paint, paper, particleboard and plastics.

The measure allows land with hemp crops to be considered farmland for tax purposes and sets up a licensing system for hemp growers.

Sponsor Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton) said she filed the bill to bring the state definition of hemp in line with the federal definition, to allow for the sale of edible CBD products from locally grown hemp in marijuana stores and to authorize the Department of Public Health to regulate CBD in food.

“Hemp is a valuable agricultural crop, with many uses, but the commonwealth currently does not allow farmers to sell this product in ways that maximize its full potential,” said Comerford. “You can buy CBD products in the state of Massachusetts but they won’t be made with Massachusetts-grown hemp. That does not make sense. The hemp industry and hemp farmers deserve sensible policies.”

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