Rep. Courtney Statement after Bill Signed to Green Light Production, Sale of Hemp in Connecticut
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) issued the following statement after Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed into law a bill authorizing a pilot program for the production and sale of hemp within Connecticut:
“I’ve long seen industrial hemp production as a tremendous opportunity for our state’s agricultural sector and economy,” said Congressman Courtney. “Ever since the Congress authorized hemp production pilot programs, which I helped draft in the 2014 Farm Bill, I have been eager for Connecticut to take advantage of this opportunity. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production nationwide and I commend Governor Lamont and the General Assembly for getting a bill across the finish line just in time for the 2019 growing season. Of particular note, I would like to thank Senators Christine Cohen and Cathy Osten, Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt, UCONN Extension, and the Farm Bureau for their unrelenting support for industrial hemp production in Connecticut. Their persistence has delivered a major victory to Connecticut’s agriculture sector.”
The legislation, An Act Concerning A Pilot Program for Hemp Production (SB 893), cleared the Connecticut General Assembly on Wednesday evening when the House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass the bill. The Senate voted in favor of the measure in April. The bill will allow for industrial hemp farming and processing in Connecticut. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture will be required to submit to the federal government regulations for the growing, licensing, and processing of hemp. Further, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture will be responsible for licensing and regulating industrial hemp farming and cultivation, and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection will be responsible for licensing and regulating industrial hemp processing and manufacturing.
In December 2018, Congressman Courtney voted to pass the Agriculture Improvements Act of 2018 (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill), which opened the door at the federal level for the growing of industrial hemp. Recently, in March of this year, Congressman Courtney was joined by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and John Larson (CT-01) in writing to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to request clarification on industrial hemp regulation and cultivation in the state of Connecticut, and to seek guidance on a path forward for Connecticut farmers to begin the cultivation of industrial hemp in the 2019 growing season. Click here to read their letter. In April, Congressman Courtney joined the podcast Cannabis Economy and host Seth Adler to discuss the history of hemp, its versatility, and its positive economic implications for Connecticut. Click here to listen to the conversation.