Connecticut’s House of Representatives has voted unanimously in favor of a bill authorizing a pilot program for the production and sale of industrial hemp.
Last month the Senate passed the same bill, SB 893, also unanimously. Gov. Ned Lamont is expected to sign it into law over the next few days.
The legislation requires the Connecticut Department of Agriculture to submit regulations to the federal government for the licensing, growing and processing hemp, and to establish guidelines for tracking and inspecting farm land.
Hemp is used in a variety of products, including clothing, rope, textiles, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. A byproduct, cannabidiol or CBD, is used to treat inflammation, pain and anxiety, and is believed by some researchers to be a potential treatment for such diseases as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, which supported the bill’s passage, estimates that an acre of hemp could generate 500-1,500 pounds of dried flowers worth $37,500-150,000.
“This legislation will strengthen our efforts to grow our agricultural economy and create jobs, and do so in a responsible manner by opening a competitive market to thousands of Connecticut’s farmers,” Lamont said. “With this program, farmers will have the opportunity to bolster their profits with hemp, and veteran and first-time farmers alike will be attracted to a new and growing market that will offer crop diversification, increased revenue, and expertise in an expanding field.”
“Hemp has the potential to stabilize the agricultural economy and attract new farmers to the industry while providing consumers with a locally grown product that is in high demand,” added Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Brian Hurlburt. “With this vote, we move one giant step closer to the legalization of hemp and all the benefits that it can provide. This ties in with the governor’s budget to support a hemp program and the desire to create new market opportunities for the small business men and women in Connecticut.”
“I’m pleased that this bill was approved in a form that will allow farmers to grow a new product, and requires testing of products derived from hemp,” said. “We’re excited about the business that this new industry can bring to our state,” said Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, “and that this law keeps practical measures to ensure public health and safety in mind for products produced in our state.”