Cannabis legalization news has become a fixture in daily mainstream headlines. Hemp legalization rarely gets the same coverage, but it is arguably as important to the legal progression of the plant.
On October 31, a bill allowing for the growth of industrial hemp became law when North Carolina Governor, Pat McCory, failed to exercise his veto power to stop it.
Local farmers were excited about the prospect of a new crop coming to the state since tobacco’s decline in recent years.
“Hemp really gives us a crop during the summertime that is a viable cash crop to us,”
said Lee Edwards of Sugar Hill Farms in Kinston.
“We’re in a perfect geographical location for the production of hemp with our climate.”
Senate Bill 313 states that,
“The General Assembly finds and declares that it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to promote and encourage the development of an industrial hemp industry in the State in order to expand employment, promote economic activity, and provide opportunities to small farmers for an environmentally sustainable and profitable use of crop lands that might otherwise be lost to agricultural production.”
The bill will also establish the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission, allowing for the right to,
“Establish procedures for reporting to the Commission … for agricultural or academic research and to collaborate and coordinate research efforts with the appropriate departments or programs of North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University.”
Additionally, the state is also home to one of the country’s only decortication plants, a facility that processes hemp to sell to textile companies and other manufacturers. The facility is located in Spring Hope and will bring over 200 jobs to the area.