RALEIGH – The N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission will hold its first meeting Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 2 p.m. in the Martin Building at the State Fairgrounds. The meeting is open to the public.
The state General Assembly passed legislation in 2015 to create a pilot program to research hemp production in North Carolina as allowed under federal law. The Industrial Hemp Commission will be responsible for setting up the rules and process for applying for the pilot program.
The commission has nine members representing agricultural research, law enforcement, farming, agricultural consulting, agribusiness and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
For centuries, industrial hemp (plant species Cannabis sativa) has been a source of fiber and oilseed used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products. Currently, more than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, which is sold on the world market. In the United States, however, production is strictly controlled under existing drug enforcement laws. Currently there is no large-scale commercial production in the United States and the U.S. market depends on imports.
Hemp production has been legalized in North Carolina, but only as part of the state’s pilot program as allowed under federal law. As such, it will still be awhile before the first fields are planted. The N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313 in 2015, but dictated that an Industrial Hemp Commission would need to be established to develop the rules and licensing structure necessary to stay within federal laws. The law was modified in 2016 in House Bill 992.
More information about the industrial hemp pilot program, including a project timeline, is available at www.ncagr.gov/hemp.