Legalizing Hemp Production & Labor Update
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Now that recreational marijuana has been legalized within the state growing industrial hemp as a profitable agriculture product is getting closer to being realized. In January the Senate passed SB 5012, a measure that recognizes hemp as an agricultural crop, and the House Commerce and Labor Committee recently approved legislation to regulate hemp, a federally controlled substance. Legislators and hemp production advocates agree on the need for simple state regulations to prevent cross-pollination with marijuana fields. The bill would require WSU to study the feasibility of hemp production and marketing in the state, and report findings and recommendations to the Legislature by January 14, 2016. The research would be dependent on acquiring federal or private funding.?
WAFLA's Dan Fazio gives us a labor update regarding the recent special state Supreme Court hearing on whether piece rate workers should be compensated for break times.
FAZIO: I thought we did very well, that farmers came out very well in the hearing. In particular Justice Stevens from Spokane asked why the regulation said the piece rates earnings should be included and what does that mean, and so I think that she understood where we were coming from. And Justice Gonzalez from the Seattle area figured out that the scheme suggested by attorneys for workers would actually create a powerful disincentive for workers to take breaks and he was grilling the workers pretty hard on that. So, I'm quite hopeful that we'll get a favorable outcome in that hearing, and I'm really hopeful that it's going to come fairly quickly - certainly before the apple harvest.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray with the Ag Information Network of the West.