Gov. Phil Murphy signed off on a pilot program Wednesday that gives New Jersey the green light to research and cultivate hemp crops.
Hemp plants have been used for centuries to make clothing, rope, bath products and paper — until the federal government strictly regulated it 71 years ago, then banned it in 1970 along with its genetic relative, marijuana.
Now, the state’s Department of Agriculture can promote the study and cultivation of hemp. The state will work along side qualified institutions of higher education, according to the bill Murphy signed into law.
“This pilot program is a win for local farmers who need a diversity of opportunities to compete in the global agriculture market,” state Sen. Declan O’Scanlon said in a statement.
“Hemp is growing in value as a cash crop, and I am sure the New Jersey economy, and our farmers will benefit from this pilot program,” O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth, added. “We are the Garden State.”
New Jersey will join 38 other states with similar programs for industrial hemp, he said.
Hemp has no psychotropic effects. In other words, it won’t get you high.