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Legislatively Speaking
Legislatively Speaking: As the 2019 Session Winds Down

By Alma Graham, CT State Grange Legislative Director

  June 5, 2019 --

As of this writing, the 2019 Connecticut General Assembly is in its last days of its session. The General Assembly must by statute adjourn on June 5th. Any bills that have not passed both the House and Senate will be considered dead. Of course, the budget is the primary issue in these last few days. Along with the budget, the discussion of reinstating tolls in the state has become a main focus. As of today, the Governor released a summary of what he is proposing for tolls and how they would be managed. The Governor is also is calling for a special session dedicated to the toll bills. This may be prudent so that the legislators will be focused on one topic only. There have been some bills that have made it through the General Assembly. A notable bill that passed is SB 893 which addressed the regulating, growing and harvesting of industrial hemp in Connecticut. The 2018 Federal Farm Bill redefined industrial hemp as a raw agricultural product that could be marketed. This legalized the growing and harvesting of industrial hemp by farmers across the nation. Many states had already started addressing this but Connecticut had not set up a Hemp program.

SB 893 was passed on May 18th with the Governor signing it on May 9. It is now addressed in Public Act 19- 3, An Act Concerning a Pilot Program for Hemp. This act authorizes the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) to implement a Hemp research program. DoAg must then submit this state plan to the United States Secretary of Agriculture for their approval. Once approved, the research program will expire and DoAg will then regulate the commercial production of Hemp as an agricultural commodity.

DoAg is now holding informational meetings around the state for potential growers and processors of hemp. They will review license applications and agreements along with guidance and compliance of the new laws.

DoAg has also implemented a web page where growers can find the application, compliance and Licensing Information. That site is https://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?a=1367&Q=608506 . If you go to the DoAg front page you should be able to find a link there. www.ct.gov/doag

Public Act 19-3 also addressed the use of hemp products used for human consumption. The Department of Consumer Protection will license and regulate hemp products intended for human ingestion, inhalation, absorption and other internal consumption.

Any hemp use for animal drugs will be regulated by the FDA Center of Veterinary Medicine.



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