WA House COG - Public Hearing
(March 25th, 2019) - SB 5276

On Monday March 25th, The House Commerce and Gaming Committee hosted a public hearing for SB 5276, “Concerning hemp production."

  • SB 5276 was granted a public hearing in its Senate policy committee on January 29th and a substitute bill was passed during executive session on February 7th. The bill was granted a public hearing in its Senate fiscal committee on February 25th and was passed during a subsequent executive session. Engrossed Second Substitute SB 5276 (E2SSB 5276) was passed by the full Senate on March 12th with one amendment.
  • The House Commerce and Gaming Committee hosted a public hearing for SB 5276.
    • Staff Counsel Peter Clodfelter summarized the bill’s effects (audio – 2m, video); from the House bill analysis:
      • Establishes a hemp agricultural commodity program, under the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA) jurisdiction, to replace the Industrial Hemp Research Program, which is repealed January 2020.
      • Requires the WSDA to develop and submit the state’s plan for regulating hemp production to the United States Department of Agriculture, with certain minimum components, under a process included in the 2018 Farm Bill.
      • Authorizes Washington State University to develop and make accessible an Internet-based application to provide regional communications concerning recommended planting times for hemp crops in Washington.
      • Amends the Controlled Substances Act to expressly exclude hemp from scheduled substances.
    • Kelly McLain, Policy Advisor to the Director of the WSDA, testified “other” saying that the “fiscal ask for this program is not included in the governor’s budget.” McLain said WSDA costs for the program were “first year impacts” as the department expected the program to be “fully self-sustaining after year one.” McLain said WSDA had worked with stakeholders and “with the proposed amendments [the agricultural commodity program] would allow Washington producers the opportunity to participate in this new and emerging market” (audio – 1m, video).
    • Josh Ashby, an attorney with Lane Powell, told the committee he represented “many clients with an interest in growing hemp” and lauded the bill for “bringing Washington up to speed” with hemp policies in other states. He favorably cited an amendment on hemp as a food product as it brought the subject “down to the state level for administration” while the federal government developed more robust policies (audio – 2m, video).