A bill legalizing hemp has been signed into law by Governor Gina Raimondo after being overwhelmingly approved by the state’s legislature with a 97 to 7 vote.
House Bill 8232 makes it so that hemp in Rhode Island “is an agricultural product which may be grown as a crop, produced, possessed, distributed, and commercially traded”. The Department of Business Regulations is tasked with handling licensing and regulations for the new industry.
The measure explicitly states that Rhode Island does not need to wait for a change in federal law for it to take effect, or for farmers to begin cultivating the crop (which is still illegal on the federal level if not for research).
The new law goes into effect immediately.
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