Bill to permit hemp growth passes State Senate

Trenton. Legislation to permanently enact a state program to permit hemp growth has passed the New Jersey State Senate.

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Steven Oroho (R- Sussex, Warren, Morris) that would permanently enact a State program to permit hemp growth for industrial use has passed the New Jersey Senate.

“The Garden State should do all that it can to grow and cultivate the hemp industry,” Oroho said. “This versatile and profitable plant will encourage new business development and boost the state’s economy. With burdensome federal regulations removed, New Jersey famers can greatly benefit from this potential billion dollar industry.”

Senator Oroho’s bipartisan legislation repeals the New Jersey Industrial Hemp Pilot Program — the pilot program established earlier this session — and replaces it with a permanent program to establish guidelines for the growing of hemp for industrial use.

Industrial hemp is a strain of the cannabis sativa plant that is grown specifically for industrial uses. Among these uses are fiber, building materials, plastic and composite materials, paper, animal bedding, water and soil purification, weed control, cosmetics, automotive parts, furniture, agricultural applications, and biofuels. Hemp is considered a super food, that is thought to improve heart health and reduce cholesterol levels. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates that the plant may be used in more than 25,000 products.

Hemp was removed from the controlled substance list in the 2018 federal “Farm Bill.”

A number of state legislatures have taken action to promote industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. At least 41 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp and at least thirty-nine states have considered legislation that allowed for hemp cultivation and production programs.

The hemp that would be permitted to be grown in New Jersey does not contain the substances that are used in marijuana either for medicinal or recreational use.

“Hemp agriculture provides a new opportunity for New Jersey farmers to diversity their crop supply and increase their bottom line,” Oroho added. “The benefits to consumers are limitless. With the enaction of this legislation, New Jersey will be the new frontier for hemp.”

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