Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) introduced a bill (A1330) that allows industrial hemp farming and establishes an industrial hemp license in New Jersey. On Thursday, Feb. 1, the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill.
Since hemp is a non-psychoactive substance with a THC concentration of 0.3% or less, it is unable to make a user feel ‘high’. In comparison, many strains of cannabis used for medicinal purposes are often well over 20% THC and concentrates could be well over 60% and as high as 99.99%.
This bill establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp in New Jersey. As a result, farmers would be able to branch out into a new industry, that has a great demand right now around the country.
The bill also establishes procedures and requirements for persons applying to the Secretary of Agriculture for a license. Accordingly, procedures and requirements for fingerprinting and criminal background checks for license applicants would be created.
Reed acknowledged that the hemp bill, which would allow farmers to grow industrial hemp, is using the growing momentum around marijuana legalization that is gaining steam in the New Jersey.
According to statements by Gusciora, in an article by NJ.com, “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. New Jersey has lagged behind on providing economic opportunity to our robust farming industry,.”
According to the bill, the production of industrial hemp would be subject to the protections of the “Right to Farm Act.”
“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.”
Hemp also could provide a “parallel” opportunity for farmers should the state legalize marijuana, Gusciora said. Agricultural schools, such as Rutgers University’s Cook College, could also capitalize on research opportunities.