Lawmakers and advocates are pushing bills this session that would ease restrictions on hemp and marijuana products, pitching it as a way to keep Massachusetts competitive with neighboring states and help local growers.
A Sen. Jo Comerford of Northampton bill (S 40) and a similar bill from Rep. Mark Cusack of Braintree (H 90) would allow Massachusetts-grown hemp to be made into CBD products for consumption and would set up a licensing system for hemp growers.
Comerford’s bill would also allow farmers to grow hemp products on land that is preserved for agriculture, and allow land with hemp crops to be considered farm land for tax purposes.
“In my office, and I’m sure in your offices,” Comerford said to other lawmakers at the Agriculture Committee’s Monday hearing on the bill, “we’ve received really bitter testimony from hemp farmers telling us, ‘There is no sustainable market for Massachusetts-grown hemp, so why should I plant it and count on it?’ One farmer went so far as to say that growing hemp was like [growing] artisan tomatoes that she was being forced to sell for ketchup, because we haven’t found the way to allow for the fullness of use of hemp.”
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