Gov. Murphy Signs NJ Hemp Pilot Program Into Law

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This week, Governor Murphy signed the following bill into law:

A1330 (Gusciora, Pinkin, Reynolds-Jackson/O’Scanlon, Gopal) – Directs Dept. of Agriculture to create pilot program to research cultivation of industrial hemp.

Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) gave props to Governor Phil Murphy’s signing of legislation that establishes a pilot program to study industrial hemp, licensing growers and distributors.

“It’s time for New Jersey to put its finger on the pulse of the hemp industry,” O’Scanlon, an original sponsor of the hemp legislation, said. “This pilot program is a win for local farmers who need a diversity of opportunities to compete in the global agriculture market. Hemp is growing in value as a cash crop, and I am sure the New Jersey economy, and our farmers will benefit from this pilot program. We are the Garden State.”

“Smart steps are needed for New Jersey to stay competitive in the rapidly-growing industrial hemp industry,” O’Scanlon said. “Hemp has long-been misunderstood. The people who believe you can get high off industrial hemp are just dead wrong – or maybe even high.

“Our bipartisan effort to establish a hemp program moves the Garden State to a more sustainable future for both our agriculture industry and our state economy. If money can be made, we should do the legwork to ensure New Jersey can benefit.”

The bill had broad support. It passed the state Senate by a 33-2 vote with 5 senators abstaining and the Assembly by 67-0 vote, with 7 abstentions and 6 who didn’t vote.

Text From The Bill (A1330):

This bill establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing,harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp in the State.  The bill also requires any licensee to comply with the Department of Agriculture and Attorney General’s rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 4 of the bill.

The bill also establishes procedures and requirements for persons applying to the Secretary of Agriculture for a license, including procedures and requirements for fingerprinting and criminal background checks for license applicants.

NJ HEMP PROGRAMThe bill defines industrial hemp as an agricultural product that is any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis.  As an agricultural product, the production of industrial hemp would be subject to the protections of the “Right to Farm Act.” Also, the land used for its production could be eligible for valuation and taxation pursuant to the “Farmland Assessment Act of 1964.”

 The bill also requires any person planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp to:

     1)    file with the Secretary of Agriculture documentation indicating that the industrial hemp is a type and variety of hemp approved by the secretary as having a concentration of no more than 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol by dry weight; and

     2)    notify the Secretary of Agriculture and the Attorney General of any sale or distribution of industrial hemp by the person and the name and address of each person to whom the industrial hemp was sold or distributed during the calendar year.

Finally, the bill authorizes penalties for violating the bill’s provisions, to be established in regulations.

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