NJ Needs to Act Soon to Allow Hemp Production & Processing in 2020
Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths (all R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) recently wrote to Governor Phil Murphy and State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio requesting that the $500,000 which the Legislature appropriated for the New Jersey Hemp Farming Fund be released from reserve.
Oroho, Space & Wirths wrote to Governor Murphy and State Treasurer Muoio requesting that $500,000 appropriated by the Legislature in the FY 2020 budget for the New Jersey Hemp Farming Fund be released from reserve. (SenateNJ.com)
“The legislature did our due diligence by updating our laws to comply with the federal legalization of hemp,” said Oroho. “We also need to provide upfront funding to the State Department of Agriculture in order to create an approval process for hemp producers; establish a licensing, testing, and inspection program; establish an appeals process for violators; and establish procedures for the transport of hemp.”
Hemp was removed from the controlled substance list in the 2018 federal “Farm Bill.” In response to this, Senator Oroho and Assemblymen Space and Wirths sponsored S-3686/A-5322, which repealed the New Jersey Industrial Hemp Pilot Program – the pilot program established earlier this session – and replaces it with a permanent program to establish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.
To get the program up and running next spring, the Legislature appropriated $500,000 in the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Act.
“For farmers to be able to get a hemp crop in the ground for a harvest in 2020, obviously it is important that the money is released as soon as possible to the Department so everything can be in place for farmers and processors,” stated Space.
A number of state legislatures have taken action to promote industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. At least forty-one 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.
“To compete with New York and other states for this market, New Jersey has to get its hemp program up and running,” Wirths said. “This is an exciting new industry and we owe it to our farmers and residents of the farming areas of the state to allow them to be a part of it. Delaying this further is not an option.”
Click here for a copy of the letter.