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This page has been developed for those working on hemp activism and legislation in Idaho.

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Idaho Update

Idaho Industrial Hemp Legislation

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For the third time in eight years, state Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Trail (R-Moscow) introduced a resolution that would have asked the U.S. Congress to remove federal barriers to industrial hemp farming. Unfortunately, it was shot down by lawmakers who were concerned that hemp farming could make it easier for marijuana farmers to sneak their crops past law enforcement.

Apparently, they weren't aware that marijuana growers don't want to have their specially-selected female plants anywhere near industrial hemp, whose male plants would ruin the illicit crop with hemp pollen. The threat industrial hemp poses to marijuana is so serious that last year in California legal medical marijuana growers vocally opposed an industrial hemp bill because it didn't contain a clause they desired that would have limited commercial industrial hemp production to agricultural areas of the state where marijuana isn't widely cultivated.

Trail told his peers Idaho has leaped ahead this year by pioneering a licensing program through the DEA. He also appealed to Mormon colleagues by invoking the name of an early church patriarch.

"It received the blessing of Brigham Young in 1847, who told Mormon farmers to go out and plant industrial hemp and flax," Trail said.

The committee decided to wait.

"Why would we not wait and see how Idaho comes out?" said Rep. Darrell Bolz, R-Caldwell.

At least one legislator wanted nothing to do with a crop that he feels has been championed by counter-cultural marijuana smokers.

"I don't want my name attached to it," said Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, a rancher.

The committee voted to kill the bill.

Rep. Trail is an important advocate for industrial hemp farming nationwide. In 2000, he got the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) to adopt a pro-hemp resolution. The resolution has since expired. We hope that the opinion of his misinformed colleagues in the Idaho Statehouse won't discourage him from bringing the issue before the NCSL again. No doubt, he is encouraged by the Idaho Farm Bureau and Idaho Rural Council's consistent support for industrial hemp.

Idaho Industrial Hemp Legislation

Idaho State Legislature

RS 16621
Resolution asking the U.S. Congress to legalize hemp farming. Killed in the House Agricultural Affairs Committee by a 6-4 vote on 1/30/07.

Killed in the House by a 47-15 vote.
Download the text of HJM 3 here (PDF file 7k).

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