Arizona Gov. Vetoes Monumental Hemp Bill

Hemp Bill

photo by Gage Skidmore

Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli’s hemp bill, SB-1337 had been amended and has received approvals from both the House and Senate. The only thing that was missing was just one signature for the full approval and legalization of hemp in Arizona from Governor Doug Ducey. However on May 22, Gov. Ducey vetoed the bill.

SB-1337 would have legalized the production, processing, sale and distribution of industrial hemp for commercial purposes and be treated as an agricultural crop, subject to regulation by the Arizona Department of Agriculture. So far, the only reasoning that Gov. Ducey provided for his veto was because the bill did not provide proper funding for the state Department of Agriculture.

House leaders added language to the bill in the recent amendment, stating that the state can’t issue hemp-growing licenses to anyone unless hemp production is legalized at the federal level, which complicates things slightly.

Borrelli says the bill would allow farmers to grow what could become a good cash crop, and could have expanded the Arizona markets with hemp to include more options like fiber, clothing, paper, building supplies, plastics, packaging and oils. In states where hemp growing has been allowed under federal changes, cultivators have had great success with different hemp industries, and they’re experimenting on many other uses and markets.

The passing of SB-1337 would have come at a great time for some investors, like Hemp, Inc. which has been building a “Hemp Growing Veteran Village Kins Community” on 500 of the total 4,500 acres owned by the company in Arizona, north of Kingman. The eco-villages there would include organic gardens, natural beehives, a pond and a living fence. Hemp, Inc. also has seven master hemp growers from all over the country that will help create massive hemp grows, helping to establish “The Great United Hemp Demonstration,” according to Hemp, Inc., which will encompass a total of 350 acres of hemp crops. Hemp, Inc. also has been working on a 70,000 square-foot multi-purpose industrial hemp decortication facility, in North Carolina, which is set to be fully operational soon, and will be the largest hemp processing plant of its kind in the western hemisphere.

With Washington State removing hemp from the state list of illegal drugs, and West Virginia allowing hemp to be grown for research purposes and commercially, hemp seems to be on track to be legalized elsewhere—apparently it just wasn’t the right time for Arizona.

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