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Hemp

Hemp And The Challenges Of Farming’s Frontier

Jul 10, 2019

There’s millions of dollars to be made from growing hemp, which for years was lumped in and vilified with its sister plant, marijuana. With the government loosening laws around growing hemp for the first time in more than 80 years, some states are charging ahead and letting farmers plant it — even before federal regulations are in place. 

Those states aren’t just getting a head start, though. They’re seeing significant challenges that hemp farmers will face for years to come, things like seed fraud, weather and a lack of machinery.

Jen Hobbs is the author of "American Hemp: How Growing Our Newest Cash Crop Can Improve Our Health, Clean Our Environment, And Slow Climate Change."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

In December 2018, O’Fallon, Missouri-based author Jen Hobbs was about to hand off the full manuscript for her now-released book arguing for the legalization and potential of hemp. Then something completely unexpected happened in Washington.

“The 2018 Farm Bill passed with hemp legalization from the federal government, and they did that right in the middle of the government shutdown,” Hobbs recalled on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “So it was pretty miraculous.”

Since hemp had long been listed among Schedule 1 narcotics, Hobbs had some significant revising to do before publishing “American Hemp: How Growing Our Newest Cash Crop Can Improve Our Health, Clean Our Environment, And Slow Climate Change,” which was released this week.

Amid talk of possibly legalizing marijuana in Illinois in the near future, farmers will soon be able to grow another type of cannabis plant thanks to a new state law.

Farm Bill Compromise Reached With SNAP Changes Out, Industrial Hemp In

Dec 11, 2018

Lawmakers unveiled the much-anticipated farm bill compromise Monday night, ending the months-long impasse over whether a critical piece of legislation that provides subsidies to farmers and helps needy Americans buy groceries could pass before the lame-duck session concludes at the end of the year.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers have left Jefferson City for their annual spring break.

Republican leaders are touting their accomplishments and suggesting that the scandal surrounding Gov. Eric Greitens has had little effect on the day-to-day business of the legislature.

Dozens of cannabis clones grow under high-intensity lights at BeLeaf's growing and processing facility in Earth City, Missouri.
File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

For the third year in a row, the Missouri House passed a bill that would legalize the growing and production of hemp for purposes like soap and rope. But its fate is likely to be the same as before: A slow death in the Senate due to the short time left in the 2017 session and the bill’s low priority for Republicans running the chamber.

The Missouri Farm Bureau also strongly opposes House Bill 170, and sent individual letters to every member of the House before Monday night’s 126-26 vote.

Dozens of cannabis clones grow under high-intensity lights at BeLeaf's growing and processing facility in Earth City, Missouri.
File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri failed to pass the state legislature last session or qualify for the ballot next week, but nine pot-related measures are up for votes in other states on Election Day.  As laws and public opinion toward the cannabis plant continue shifting nationwide, the Show Me State is taking a wait-and-see approach.

Harrison Sweazea, Mo. Senate

Stephen Schmitt is the 9-year-old son of Mo. State Senator Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale.  Stephen suffers from epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis, and has also been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He is unable to speak and requires near-constant care.