Hemp, Inc., announces that the Hemp Industry continues to garner media attention as Pennsylvania shows favorable interest in legalizing industrial hemp and North Carolina awaits the signature of approval from Governor Pat McCrory to legalize industrial hemp.
As the Richmond County Daily Journal pointed out, “Linking hemp and marijuana was a knee-jerk reaction based on misinformed public sentiment rather than science.” Thus, “Allowing industrial hemp cultivation corrects that mistake.”
As more states begin to realize the potential environmental and economic benefits of industrial hemp, state officials are positioning their states to reap the economic rewards.
Here is some of the latest news covering the industrial hemp industry:
Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives loves hemp. Industrial hemp. In fact, they love it so much that the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee approved the newly-introduced House Bill 967 within minutes of introduction, sending it to the house floor for debate and vote.
House Bill 967, introduced by Representative Russ Diamond on Tuesday (October 6), would allow industrial hemp to be grown or cultivated by special programs in Pennsylvania. Currently, American companies must import industrial hemp from countries such as Canada and China, blockading what has historically been one of America’s largest markets.
Pennsylvania’s move, which mirrors those taken by other states, could potentially open up a number of doors for commercial uses, which would benefit the planet given hemp’s low impact on the environment.
As with other states, Pennsylvania’s House Bill 967 grew out of an amendment to the 2014 federal Farm Bill. Signed into law by President Obama, this bill legally redefined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana, opening the doors for states to pursue academic, state department and commercial research into its benefits as an agricultural crop.
If House Bill 967 passes the Pennsylvania house, the state will join 24 other states in industrial hemp research, including California, Hawaii, West Virginia and New York, amongst others.
Senate Bill 313, which is awaiting Gov. Pat McCrory’s signature, clears the way for farmers to grow industrial hemp after obtaining a permit from a state study commission in North Carolina. The bill also rewrites the N.C. Controlled Substances Act to distinguish hemp from marijuana.
In its first iteration, SB 313 was an innocuous bill introduced to add five more specialty license plates to the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles’ already long list of customized tags. The full text was replaced with the unrelated hemp bill as a House Rules Committee substitute on Sept. 28.
Farmers, processors, universities, and others interested in conducting an industrial hemp pilot project in 2016, are invited to apply, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has announced.
“The industrial hemp pilot projects have yielded valuable information the past two years,” Commissioner Comer said. “We look forward to another successful round of projects and encourage applicants to submit proposals to research hemp production, processing, manufacturing, and marketing. This work will help establish Kentucky as the epicenter of America’s industrial hemp industry once the remaining legal barriers to hemp production are removed.”
Applicants must complete an application and submit it to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture no later than Nov. 5, 2015. Applications and instructions are available on the KDA’s website at www.kyagr.com/hemp.
The department received 326 applications and approved 121 in 2015.
This year’s planting intentions totaled more than 1,700 acres, of which more than 922 acres were planted. In 2014, the first year of industrial hemp pilot projects, projects totaled just over 30 acres.
The 2014 federal farm bill permits industrial hemp pilot programs in states where hemp production is permitted by state law. Legislation passed in the 2013 Kentucky General Assembly established a regulatory framework for industrial hemp production in Kentucky. Commissioner Comer led a bipartisan effort in support of the legislation, known as Senate Bill 50.
For the full press release, click here.