Another US state has given the green light for a revived industrial hemp sector.
Legislation in North Carolina now authorizes an industrial hemp pilot program in the state and establishes the Industrial Hemp Commission (IHC); which will create rules and regulations for the sector.
“The General Assembly finds and declares 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,” reads the opening remarks of Senate Bill 313.
As is the case with quite a few other US States, industrial hemp is not a new crop. It was cultivated in North Carolina for almost 200 years, when it played an important role in the state’s economy.
North Carolina is now the fourteenth state to permit the cultivation of industrial hemp.
“Given that the federal authorization for these pilot programs is just over a year old, every state looking to or currently implementing this program will serve as a resource to North Carolina,” said NC Governor Pat McCrory. “We will need ample time to visit and learn best practices from other states.”
Each farmer wanting to grow the crop will be required to pay a graduated license fee based on the acreage proposed for cultivation of industrial hemp. Cultivators will also need to pay an annual fee of USD $250, plus $2 for each acre per acre of industrial hemp cultivated.
““Agriculture is North Carolina’s top industry and this program has the potential to provide a new opportunity for many farmers in our state,” said the Governor.
According to the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Assocation (NCIHA), the tentative date for the program to be fully operational is April 1, 2016.
“Thanks to ALL for your hard work and dedication in moving Hemp forward for North Carolina! Restore the past. Grow the Future,” the NCIHA tweeted shortly after Senate Bill 313 became law.