Wilk's industrial hemp measure becomes law

SACRAMENTO – Senator Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announces Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Senate Bill 153 (SB 153)  into law. SB 153 ensures California law is in full compliance with changes to federal law regarding the cultivation of industrial hemp.

SB 153 requires the Secretary of the California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA), in consultation with the Governor and the Attorney General, to develop and submit a state plan on industrial hemp to the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on or before May 1, 2020

“SB 153 opens the door for California to take full advantage of the exciting opportunities industrial hemp offers our agricultural and manufacturing sectors,” said Wilk. “Hemp is used in 25,000 different products, so the opportunities are endless - especially for an area like the Antelope Valley, which has the perfect climate for hemp production.”

In 2018, with the passage of SB 1409 (Wilk), California streamlined industrial hemp production rules and became compliant with then existing federal law. Subsequently Congress passed - and the President signed - H.R.2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (farm bill) in December. This measure removed hemp from Schedule I controlled substances, making it an ordinary agricultural commodity.

State departments of agriculture are now required to consult with the state’s governor and chief law enforcement officer to devise a state plan on industrial hemp and submit it to the Secretary of the USDA for approval. A state’s plan to license and regulate hemp can only commence once the Secretary of USDA approves the plan. SB 153 ensures California is able to meet these requirements.

“Industrial hemp presents such a great opportunity for California,” said Wilk. “Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper, and Betsy Ross weaved the first flag out of hemp. Just imagine its possibilities today. With SB 153 now law, California is back in position to take advantage of the opportunities presented for our agricultural and manufacturing industries.”