Gusciora Legislation to Expand Economic Growth by Permitting Industrial Hemp Farming Gains Panel OK

farming and grow the state’s economy was advanced by an Assembly committee on Thursday.
“More than 20 industrial hemp-producing countries worldwide each generate millions of dollars in revenue selling everything from fabrics to personal care products made from one of the world’s oldest crops,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “Allowing our farmers to grow hemp will be an economic engine for our agribusiness and a way to preserve more farm space in our state.”
The bill (A-1330) establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting, possessing and selling industrial hemp in the state. The bill also sets up procedures for persons applying to the Secretary of Agriculture for a hemp license.
“This hemp legislation is pivotal to the economic growth of New Jersey agribusiness,” Gusciora said. “Due to security and control regulations related to the growth and distribution of legal marijuana in the future, hemp offers lower barriers to entry for farmers that will produce an entirely new industry within our state. Historically, hemp was cultivated by our founding fathers and can be used to manufacture a wide variety of products, such as canvas, clothing, rope and food products.”
At least 15 states enacted legislation in 2017 – Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, North Dakota, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Florida and Nevada authorized research or pilot programs.
“Giving New Jersey farmers the right to compete this industry – which is worth about half a billion dollars in the United States – starts with this common-sense legislation,” Gusciora said. “The federal government has allowed farmers to benefit from the cultivating of hemp since the 2014 Federal Farm Bill. New Jersey has lagged behind on providing economic opportunity to our robust farming industry. It’s vital that we establish and extend this program as quickly as possible, so that our farmers have a chance to benefit from the incentives. The growth of hemp will ignite manufacturing opportunity of numerous products within our state, providing well-paying jobs and new opportunities for businesses to expand and develop. “
The bill was advanced by the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.