HomeNewsNorth Carolina Closer To Excluding Hemp From Controlled Substances Act

North Carolina Closer To Excluding Hemp From Controlled Substances Act

The future of hemp in North Carolina is looking more assured after a Senate vote this week on a critical piece of legislation.

While hemp has been legal at a federal level in the USA since the 2018 Farm Bill, in North Carolina it is still currently listed in that state’s Controlled Substances Act. However, there has been an exception for a pilot program that has been operating since 2017. But that program ends on June 30, meaning after that date hemp will be illegal again at a state level.

There has been a concerted move to fix the situation through Senate Bill 762, which seeks to permanently exclude hemp from the State Controlled Substances Act. There was good news on this front earlier this week with the North Carolina Senate unanimously voting to pass SB762.

While the bill still needs approval in the House and the Governor’s thumbs up before becoming law, the chances of both happening are good.

Hemp has become a significant business in the state. As at July 30 last year, there were 1,500 licensed hemp growers and 1,295 registered processors  in North Carolina. At that point, there were 6.8 million licensed square feet of greenhouse production and 14,016 licensed acres. According to the USDA’s National Hemp Report released in February, 2,150 acres of hemp were planted outdoors in 2021, with 1,850 acres harvested.

In other cannabis-related news out of North Carolina, a bill to legalize medical marijuana is making its way through the legislative pipeline. SB711 – which cleared a Senate Committee today – would enact the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, enabling appropriately registered patients with qualifying debilitating medical conditions access to medical cannabis through a regulated supply system.

This won’t be a loosely run program by any means, and licensing fees will be high for suppliers – and there will only be ten of them. Suppliers would need to pony up a $50,000 non-refundable fee and pay $5,000 for each production facility or medical cannabis center (dispensary).

A poll by Emerson College back in 2020 found three-quarters of North Carolina voters support medical marijuana legalization and it appears a similar poll carried out more recently indicated continuing strong support.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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