Missouri senator proposes bill to start an industrial hemp program


The Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee is considering a bill proposed by Missouri Sen. Brian Munzlinger to create the state’s very own industrial hemp program.

The program would allow those licensed by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) to grow, cultivate and market industrial hemp in the state of Missouri. Applicants would also undergo a fingerprint criminal history check.

During a public hearing Monday in Jefferson City, Munzlinger presented his bill before the committee, describing hemp as “one of the oldest crops known to man.”

“The Constitution, U.S. Constitution, was printed on hemp paper. Our original money, paper monies, was on hemp paper because of its durability of the fibers that are in that,” Munzlinger said. “Right now currently there are 34 states that have approved through legislation the production of industrial hemp. [And] there are 19 states producing industrial hemp.”

Dan Erdel, a member of the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Missouri Soybean Association testified in favor of Sen. Munzlinger’s bill. Erdel, who owns 265-acres of farmland in Missouri, told the committee about hemp’s profits and benefits.

“I know that industrial hemp would be a very good substitute. It not only has wildlife benefits, it also has soil protection and nutrient benefits,” Erdel said.

Erdel claims that the total profit for industrial hemp in Kentucky, a national leader in industrial hemp, is about $600 per acre.

While the Senate Agriculture Committee has yet to vote on the proposed bill, a similar bill passed by the Missouri House died in the Senate, last year.

Missouri also has three different measures for cannabis legalization set to be put on the ballot this year.