Monday, November 16, 2015

North Carolina Passes Bill Legalizing Growing Industrial Hemp

Written by Katharine Richter

On October 31, 2015, North Carolina passed a bill (SB 313) into law and legalize hemp for industrial use.  SB 313 was presented to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory who failed to approve the law within the prescribed time and by taking no action, the bill became law.

In SB 313 the stated purpose of the bill is to recognize the “importance and legitimacy of industrial hemp” and to promote agricultural employment while being in compliance with Agricultural Act of 2014.  In the first section, § 106-58.50, it states the bill establishes an “agricultural pilot program for the cultivation of industrial hemp in the State,” which will provide data for research on industrial hemp. 

The second section of SB 313, § 16-568.51, defines terms.  The following section, § 106-568.52, defines the creation of the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission.  The Commission will be comprised of five members and will serve four year terms with potential for reappointment of second year for another four years.  § 106-568.53 of SB 313 sets the powers and duties of the Commission.  The Commission is the body that will issue licenses for hemp production to the extent  allowed by federal law.  Licensees will be responsible for providing an accurate geographical description of “the location of the industrial hemp farming operation.”  In addition, the Commission is responsible for implementing procedures and rules for growers, studying marketplace opportunities for hemp products and investigating hemp cultivation methods best suited to sustainable growing practices.

Under § 7606 of The Agricultural Act of 2014, growing industrial hemp is allowed “under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research.”  SB 313 complies with the Agricultural Act of 2014 by legalizing the growing of hemp  through  the authorized agricultural pilot program.  

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