Wilk's industrial hemp bill unanimously passes Senate Agriculture committee

Sacramento – Today, Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, announced the passage of his Senate Bill 1409 (SB 1409) by the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

The measure updates current law to streamline the production of industrial hemp in California and allow California farmers to grow and produce non-intoxicating hemp for commercial and industrial uses.

“California represents the largest consumer market for hemp materials in the nation and we are currently in position to take advantage of a great opportunity,” said Wilk. “I am proud that today the committee recognized that opportunity and voted accordingly to approve a bill that will allow California farmers the opportunity to diversify their operations, conserve our valuable water resources and create thousands of new jobs.”

Industrial hemp is an agriculture crop that is grown and processed throughout the world for thousands of consumer and food products including alternatives to fossil fuel and wood products.

“California laid the groundwork for an industrial hemp industry when it enacted Senate Bill 566 in 2013 which conditionally approved an industrial hemp pilot program,” said Wilk. “Unfortunately, Proposition 64 essentially undid much of the progress made under previous efforts by in large part failing to differentiate this industrial commodity from its psychoactive counterpart, cannabis.”

Senate Bill 1409 brings California’s hemp laws up-to-date by allowing the pilot program to proceed as intended and by bringing the definition of industrial hemp in line with reality. Wilk added that the federal government has also initiated efforts to bring industrial hemp laws in to the 21st century by removing it from the federal controlled substances list and that measure will compliment his bill if it is successful in congress.

“This bill and the industry it aims to help establish represent a potential boon for California farmers, businesses, residents and for our environment,” said Wilk. “California is prepared for industrial hemp; we have a market for it across our economic sectors, an appetite for it in our farming community and investors ready for the opportunity to support hemp operations that would employ a hungry workforce. It’s time we take advantage.”

SB 1409 is double-referred and will now be heard in the Senate Public Safety committee.