Mississippi group looks at the potential of hemp cultivation

Mississippi group looks at the potential of hemp cultivation
Industrial hemp is booming in Kentucky, but farmers there say federal regulations are lagging.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - This week, a new group will consider what growing hemp might mean for Mississippi’s economy, and you’re invited to weigh in on the discussion. Legislators created the Hemp Cultivation Task Force, and the group has its first meeting Monday at the state Capitol. (See the full meeting agenda below.)

A news release from state Agriculture Commissioner Andy Gipson says topics will include regulation and cultivation of hemp, the cannabis research program at the University of Mississippi, current issues related to cannabis and law enforcement issues about hemp.

The U.S. Congress last year approved allowing production of non-intoxicating hemp in heavily regulated programs.

Task force members include legislators, employees from universities, the attorney general’s and secretary of state’s offices, the state health department and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. The full list of members follows:

  • Andy Gipson, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce
  • Wes Burger, Mississippi State University
  • Edmund Bucker, Alcorn State University
  • Larry Walker, University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy National Center for Natural Products Research
  • Paul Dees, Delta Council
  • Brittany Ridinger, Mississippi Secretary of State's Office
  • Mike Lanford, Mississippi Attorney General's Office
  • Jeff Jones, Director of Pharmacy, Mississippi State Department of Health
  • Bill Pigott, Mississippi House of Representatives
  • Josh Harkins, Mississippi Senate
  • Marshall Fisher, Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety
  • Andy Whittington, Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation
  • John Dowdy, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics Director (Governor Designee)

The public meeting begins at 10 a.m. and lasts until noon in Room 113 of the Mississippi Capitol. It will be shown on the Facebook page of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce. The public can submit comments by emailing MSHempTaskForce@mdac.ms.gov.

The following is the full meeting agenda, as released by the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce:

10:00 – 10:10 - Introductory Remarks

  • Andy Gipson, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce

10:10 – 10:25 - Introductions and Perspectives on Hemp

  • Task Force Members

10:25 – 10:40 - Regulation and Cultivation of Hemp

  • Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce
  • Chris McDonald, Director of Federal Affairs
  • Michael Ledlow, Director of Bureau of Plant Industry

10:40 – 10:55 - University of Mississippi Cannabis Research Program

  • Dr. Larry Walker, Director Emeritus of the National Center for Natural Products Research

10:55 – 11:00 - Break

11:00 – 11:10 - Current Issues Related to Cannabis

  • Jeffery Jones, MS State Department of Health, Department of Pharmacy, Clinical Liaison/Policy Analyst and Residency Program Director

11:10 – 11:20 - Hemp Law Enforcement Concerns

  • Marshall Fisher, Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety

11:20 – 11:40 - Open Discussion

11:40 – 11:55 - Action Item – Report to Legislature

  • Andy Gipson, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce

11:55 – 12:00 - Confirmation of Next Meeting – September 25

  • Andy Gipson, Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce

12:00 - Adjourn

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