TRENTON – An Assembly panel released a bill that could clear the way for industrial hemp to be harvested in the Garden State.
Members of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee released A2415, which establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting and processing industrial hemp.
The bill, proponents argue, is long overdue as the product is a valuable resource and does not share enough of the same characteristics of marijuana that make it a danger to society.
The bill cleared the committee following nearly unanimous support from lawmakers.
It’s illegal to harvest industrial hemp but legal to import it, according to proponents. They say it’s impossible to create marijuana from hemp seeds and argue there are numerous health benefits from the seed.
Proponents also argued industrial hemp should not be considered akin to marijuana, which they say holds different properties that can’t be extracted from industrial hemp.
The legislation provides requirements for fingerprinting and conducting criminal background checks for license applicants, and would be conditional on Congress taking action to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana as it relates to the Controlled Substance Act.
Assemblyman Ronald Dancer (R-12) voted against releasing the measure from committee.