The licensing process for New York’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is about to kick off after NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets published final regulations last week.
The original bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Lupardo and Senator Tom O’Mara.
“We know of at least two universities that will be pursuing licenses and have heard from many farmers who are interested in getting involved,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell).
“This is the first of many steps we’ll be taking to develop this new and highly lucrative new crop.”
Cornell University is one of the institutions eager to grow industrial hemp and has congratulated Donna Lupardo in her tireless efforts to make the prospect a reality.
“Industrial hemp is a crop with great potential for New York farmers as it has wide-ranging applications throughout multiple sectors of industry, including as a cost-effective animal feed ingredient for the agriculture sector, novel fibers for the textile sector, and multiple new therapies for the pharmaceutical sector,” said Dean Kathryn J. Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.
The United States has had a long and complex association with industrial hemp, the non-intoxicating cousin of marijuana.
The cultivation of hemp was strongly supported by the US government for much of the nation’s history. For example, George Washington cultivated industrial hemp at Mount Vernon. Last century, the U.S. Government produced a film called Hemp For Victory in the 1940’s that encouraged farmers to grow the crop.
Unfortunately, hemp was targeted by companies pushing synthetic fibers and also by the cotton industry, which saw the plant and industrial hemp sector as a threat to their businesses. Hemp was then demonised by associating it with what was referred to as dangerous drug – marijuana.
Eventually these efforts were successful even though industrial hemp contains little THC (the psychoactive compound), is grown differently and even looks different to marijuana.
By 1970, hemp was illegal to grow without a permit in the U.S..
In New York, industrial hemp won’t be returning to its glory days any time soon – but the new program will be a start.
Ten 3-year licenses will be issued to universities to grow the plant. The universities will work with local farmers to study cultivation, harvesting, storage, transportation, and marketing techniques for the crop.
Through the success of such programs in New York and other states, hemp’s supporters hope that remaining legal barriers will soon begin to fall more rapidly and humanity will once again take full advantage of this truly amazing plant.