TRENTON – A bill to allow industrial hemp farming and distribution in New Jersey cleared a hearing of the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee in what sponsor Reed Guscoria (D-15) called a victory for economic development in the state.
The bills went through by an overwhelming margin, with the only abstention coming from Anthony Bucco (R-25).
The first bill (A2719) would allow for farmers who register with the state Department of Agriculture and report their sales to the Attorney General to grow hemp for industrial use. As long as their strain contained less than 0.3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active chemical in commercial and medical marijuana, farmers would be free to take their crop to market. Farmers would have to provide details to the Attorney General about who they sold to and when.
The second (A2919) would create a new hemp grower’s license. Applications for the license would require fingerprinting and criminal background checks. The licenses would not be available unless New Jersey successfully petitions Congress to be included on a federal roster of states where hemp farming is approved.
“More than 20 industrial hemp-producing countries worldwide each generate millions of dollars in revenue selling everything from fabrics to personal care products made from one of the world’s oldest crops,” said Gusciora. “We cannot continue to allow misconceptions about the hemp industry to govern decision-making when an opportunity to create good jobs and expand our economy is on the line.”