States Race to Grow Industrial Hemp

NAIHC.orgWashington, Nov. 10, 2015 – Kentucky leads the race to commercialize industrial hemp, as confirmed yesterday on Veterans Day when an American flag made from Kentucky-grown and –sewn hemp flew over the U.S. Capitol. But North Carolina is determined to catch up ASAP.

North Carolina has surged forward now that its Senate Bill 313, the Industrial Hemp Research Act, is law. The new law which went into effect Oct. 31 establishes that: “it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to promote and encourage the development of an industrial hemp industry in the State in order to expand employment, promote economic activity, and provide opportunities to small farmers for an environmentally sustainable and profitable use of crop lands that might otherwise be lost to agricultural production.”

 North Carolina’s new law is entitled “An act to recognize the importance and legitimacy of industrial hemp research, to provide for compliance with portions of the federal Agricultural Act of 2014, and to promote increased agricultural employment.” The act’s stated purposes are:

  • “to establish an agricultural pilot program for the cultivation of industrial hemp in the State,
  • ”to provide for reporting on the program by growers and processors for agricultural or other research, and”
  • “to pursue any federal permits or waivers necessary to allow industrial hemp to be grown in the State.”

The act creates a five-person North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission to include at least one “full-time farmer with at least 10 years of experience in agricultural production in the State.” The Commission is tasked with establishing “an agricultural program to grow or cultivate industrial hemp in the State” and with issuing licenses “allowing a person, firm, or corporation to cultivate industrial hemp for commercial purposes to the extent allowed by federal law.”

The Commission is also responsible for coordinating industrial hemp research efforts with North Carolina State University and North Carolina A & T State University, and responsible for pursing “marketplace opportunities for hemp products to increase the job base in the State.” The act specifies that the products include but are not limited to “cloth, cordage, fiber, food, fuel, paint, paper, particleboard, plastics, seed, seed meal and seed oil for consumption, and certified seed for cultivation if the seeds originate from industrial hemp varieties.”

To read the full text of S313, the Industrial Hemp Research Act, click here.