Arizona’s Industrial Hemp Bill Signed Into Law

Industrial hemp in Arizona
Image: kat_geb - CC BY 2.0, Link

It’s been a long time coming and has had a few false starts, but industrial hemp is now legal in the U.S. state of Arizona – with lots of conditions attached of course.

On Monday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1098 into law, providing funding for the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s (AZDA) agricultural pilot program. Universities and those with a license from AZDA will be able to cultivate industrial hemp. Growers, harvesters, transporters and processors will all be required to obtain a license from the AZDA.

“This bill opens Arizona to the possibility of a new agricultural product,” said Governor Ducey. “I’m glad to sign a bill that could have a positive economic impact for the state.”

SB 1098 passed the Senate in February and passed the House early this month.

SB 1098 was led by Senator Sonny Borrelli, who was also behind SB 1337. Unfortunately, SB 1337 was vetoed by the Governor last year as it reportedly failed to provide funding for AZDA to operate the program (the new bill allocates $750,000). However, some believe it occurred as the Governor isn’t much of a fan of anything cannabis-related and was looking for any excuse to bin the bill. Still, he came through in the end.

As in many other U.S states, industrial hemp in Arizona is defined as the plant cannabis sativa L. with a delta‑9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than three‑tenths of one percent on a dry-weight basis.

Hemp products are defined as all products made from industrial hemp, including cloth, cordage, fiber, fuel, grain, paint, paper, construction materials, plastics and by-products derived from sterile hemp seed or hemp seed oil.

As well as Senator Borrelli, SB 1098 had 40 co-sponsors.

“By establishing an industrial hemp program in Arizona, we are creating new jobs and expanding economic opportunities,” said the Senator in February.

As to when cultivation can begin, the AZDA is yet to get with the program – a search of its web site for industrial hemp returns zero results. Some reports state cultivation will begin in the next few months.

Arizona joins at least 34 other U.S. states that have passed legislation in relation to industrial hemp.