Connecticut has licensed 82 hemp growers, two processors, and 21 manufacturers under a new pilot program allowing for the cultivation, harvesting, processing and manufacturing of hemp plants and by-products in the state.
In total, there are 294 acres of land being used to grow hemp in Connecticut, according to Gov. Ned Lamont, who made the announcement during a visit in Ledyard to Town Farm, one of the businesses participating in the program.
“Our administration is committed to efforts that will strengthen our agricultural economy and create jobs, and do so in a responsible manner by offering a competitive market to thousands of our state’s farmers,” the governor said.
“Since we launched this hemp program (in the spring), we’ve developed great partnerships with these farmers – some of whom have been in the industry for many years and are diversifying their agricultural opportunities with hemp, and other who are first-timers and have become attracted to this new and growing market,” he added.
The legislation, Public Act 19-3, was approved in both chambers of the General Assembly by unanimous, bipartisan votes and signed into law by Lamont on May 9 with the intent of enacting the program in time for the hemp-growing season.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture, which is responsible under the act for licensing the growers and processors, had the program up and running within one week and launched an online portal providing those interested to submit applications for licenses.
The pilot program requires the Agriculture Department to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp by licensed entities in Connecticut. In accordance with federal law, the state agency is responsible for ensuring that the production is only taking place at sites certified by, and registered with, the state.
“There has been a lot of engagement and collaboration with partners and farmers across the state, and it’s great to celebrate the first growing season with all of the partners today,” Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlbut said.