In New Jersey, farmers will soon be growing hemp

David Madden
January 04, 2020 - 4:00 am
Hemp.

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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Federal authorities have approved plans to grow hemp in three states. New Jersey is one of them, and agriculture officials in the Garden State are wasting no time in getting started.

Hemp farming has been illegal for almost 50 years until Congress reclassified it as an agricultural crop in the 2018 farm bill.

New Jersey, Ohio and Louisiana have had their hemp plans approved, and farmers here can start growing once they get their permits. 

"The rules are up on our website," New Jersey Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher told KYW Newsradio. "Applications they can make starting next week."

And they could be getting in on a business that has great potential, even if unlike marijuana, you can’t get high on hemp. But Fisher said it can be used in a lot of things, "like in textiles, paper, building materials, food, hemp seed oil, personal hygiene products."

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Besides, the more farmers that grow it, the more processors might locate their facilities in the state.

Fisher wasted little time in getting the process started and has been working for three years to get to this point.

"The minute the USDA took applications we were there at the door," he said, "because we wanted to be first in and first out to be able to grow it."

New Jersey will be responsible to ensure that THC levels in the hemp are below USDA guidelines. 

Fisher expects hemp farms in every county in the state.