The North Carolina Senate introduced
legislation Monday that would permanently remove hemp from the state controlled
substances list.

The measure, Senate Bill 762, would define “hemp as cannabis having
less than 0.3% of delta-9,” the cannabinoid that distinguishes hemp from
its federally illegal counterpart, cannabis, WRAL reported.

In addition, the state’s pilot program—which
temporarily removes hemp from the state controlled substances list—is set to
expire June 30. If S.B. 762 does not pass before the pilot program expires,
hemp will be outlawed in North Carolina.

During a May 24 meeting, Bill Sponsor Brent
Jackson (R) told the Senate agriculture committee that retailers would be
illegally selling hemp products if the current law were to expire before S.B.
762 passes. Farmers would also be growing the crop illegally, the news outlet

“In practical terms, we will maintain the
status quo that we currently enjoy today and our growers and retailers have
today,” he said during the committee meeting regarding why the state
should pass the measure.

According to WRAL, any previous
discussions of legalizing hemp in North Carolina caused protests from law
enforcement groups opposing legalization, but this time around, the measure did
not receive pushback and passed in the committee meeting May 24.

“The bill has several more committee stops
before making it to the Senate floor. It then has to pass the House,” WRAL