With legislation recently passed in Arkansas and Wyoming, plus recent developments in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Hawaii’s industrial hemp economies, these are sure signs “that hemp is making its rightful return to the American landscape, one that will benefit many state’s economies.”
- With the passage of Arkansas’ Industrial Hemp Act in March 2017, House Bill 1778, which became Act 981, licenses can now be issued in the state to grow experimental plots of hemp, empowering Arkansas’ Plant Board to license growers to participate in a ten-year industrial hemp research program, set to begin in Spring 2018.
- Pennsylvania’s industrial hemp program is set to expand tenfold in 2018, according to Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf. This year was the first in decades that hemp could be legally grown in Pennsylvania, with 30 research project permits limited to 5 acres each. In 2018, up to 50 individual growers or institutions of higher education will be permitted to grow up to 100 acres of industrial hemp apiece.
- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed Senate Bill (SB) 119 into law on Dec. 1, 2017, enabling Wisconsin farmers to grow industrial hemp. Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) can now issue licenses to authorize the growing and processing of industrial hemp with a concentration of no more than 0.3 percent THC. The bill also allows the DATCP or a college or university to create an agricultural pilot program to grow and study industrial hemp.
- In North Carolina, Commissioner of Agriculture, Steve Troxler, believes their first year of industrial hemp production was quite a success. According to the recent article, AG Commissioner: There’s Hope for Hemp’s Future, published in The Wilson Times, North Carolina had 104 registered industrial hemp growers, 1,900 acres of industrial hemp grown who were registered to grow industrial hemp, and 176,000 square feet of greenhouse space were considered “significant for the first year.” Troxler also said there are 34 registered processors to create products and develop the market for industrial hemp and believes North Carolina will have even more success next year in growing industrial hemp. While industrial hemp production is legal in the state, it is only legal through North Carolina’s hemp pilot program, which is administered by the Industrial Hemp Commission. More information on North Carolina’s industrial hemp pilot program can be found here.
- In Hawaii, the Department of Agriculture is expecting to accept license applications in late February, possibly, for its industrial hemp pilot program. Plans for the statewide industrial hemp growing program encountered a slight setback after a shipment of Jamaican cannabis seeds failed to meet inspection standards. However, that’s not stopping Hawaii’s industrial hemp pilot program. They have since found another source of seed which is currently undergoing germination testing “to determine whether the seeds are suitable for tropical environments.” According to a recent article, Hemp Growing Program Suffers Setback, published in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, “once licenses are awarded – probably several month after applications open – licenses will be allotted a percentage of the Chinese seeds to raise on their properties and must provide reports to the Department of Agriculture.” To read the full article, click here.
- In New York, industrial hemp is being grown again as the state invests in it as an economic opportunity for farmers and producers. According to the article, A Growing Industry New York Cultivates Industrial Hemp, published in Cornell periodiCALS, “With regulations now relaxing, research essential to making hemp a viable crop is under way. This summer, trial plots in Ithaca and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva were used to study 17 hemp varieties and issues such as disease and insect pests that could prove to be barriers for this emerging industry.” The university (Cornell) “partnered with farmers across the state to cultivate more than 1,700 acres. The research tapped into our multidisciplinary expertise in plant pathology, breeding, genetics, seed technology, soil and entomology to determine optimal growing practices in the state’s diverse growing conditions.” To read the full article, click here.
Hemp cultivation in the U.S. more than doubled in 2017, according to data compiled by the advocacy organization Vote Hemp. The number of acres of hemp grown across 19 states totaled 23,343 in 2017, more than double the number of acres from the previous year. State licenses to cultivate hemp were issued to 1,424 farmers; and 32 universities conducted research on the crop.