Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) legalized the growth and cultivation of industrial hemp (hemp) for research purposes. Hemp was defined as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. Growth and cultivation was limited to institutions of higher education and state departments of agriculture for purposes of agricultural or other academic research or under the auspices of a state agricultural pilot program for the growth, cultivation, or marketing hemp. For hemp to be legally grown in a state, the respective state had to adopt laws to legalize hemp cultivation. In 2018, 45 states enacted legislation to legalize hemp but only 23 states actually grew hemp. Mississippi did not adopt state laws to legalize hemp under authority of the 2014 Farm Bill.
In December 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) was signed into law by President Trump. Under authority of the 2018 Farm Bill, Section 10113, hemp was removed from Schedule 1 controlled substances and allowed to be grown and cultivated on a commercial basis. A state desiring to have primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp in the state shall submit to the Secretary of Agriculture, through the State Department of Agriculture (in consultation with the Governor and chief law enforcement officer of the State) or the Tribal government, as applicable, a plan under which the State or Indian tribe monitors and regulates hemp production.
To date, Mississippi laws and regulations have not been amended to allow the cultivation of hemp within the state. However, the Mississippi Legislature established a 13-member Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Task Force during the 2019 Regular Legislative Session to consider the potential of hemp cultivation, market potential, and potential job creation in Mississippi. With the enactment of House Bill 1547, the Mississippi Legislature specified that Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson serve as Chairman of the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Task Force.