Raleigh, NC: State officials will assess the economic and environmental feasibility of industrial hemp production, following the approval of legislation authorizing an independent commission to study the domestic production of the agricultural crop.
As enacted by the legislature, "The Beneficial Uses of Industrial Hemp Act" creates a commission to study the "economic opportunities industrial hemp provides to the state and to consider the desirability and feasibility of authorizing industrial hemp cultivation and production as a farm product in North Carolina."
The commission is anticipated to report its findings and recommendations to the 2007 General Assembly and the Environmental Review Commission by December 1, 2006.
Previous state-sponsored hemp studies commissioned in North Dakota, Kentucky, and elsewhere have estimated that hemp cultivation could yield farmers revenues from $320 to $600 per acre.
Earlier this week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) vetoed legislation that sought to establish regulations governing commercial hemp cultivation by state-authorized farmers, stating that federal law makes no legal distinction between hemp grown for industrial purposes and cannabis.
According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report, "The United States is the only developed nation in which industrial hemp is not an established crop."
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500.