The task force was created by the legislature earlier this year and will provide their findings on hemp in Mississippi prior to the 2020 legislative session. The group has held two public meetings, with a third scheduled for late November.
Since the time the legislature passed on legalizing hemp in Mississippi earlier this year, a number of states have chosen to move forward. We’re at the point where virtually every state – 47 total – have ok’d hemp cultivation. That doesn’t mean they are necessarily harvesting hemp right now. Just that they have begun the process.
Today, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Idaho are the holdouts.
We don’t know what the task force will recommend. But no one should be surprised to see the deliberate process continue.
While farmers might want the state to legalize hemp, the tone of the task force hasn’t necessarily been positive. And the legislature can still do their own thing, though it might be odd to create a task force and then do something beyond what they recommend. But it’s possible.
Keep in mind that the House is already on record of removing hemp from the controlled substance list in Mississippi thanks to a floor amendment from Rep. Dana Criswell (R-Olive Branch). Attempts to make the change in committee had previously been killed, and obviously the House language was watered down to a task force when it hit the Senate a month later.
Meanwhile, South Dakota and Idaho are both preparing to act next year.
The South Dakota legislature legalized hemp last year, only to have it vetoed by Gov. Kristi Noem. They also have a Hemp Study Committee and are working on legislation for 2020. Same story in Idaho. Republican leaders have promised farmers they will be able to grow hemp next year.
So we shall see.
For now, the question is who will be the 48th state to legalize hemp? And will any state still make hemp illegal by the end of 2020?