A bill introduced in the New Jersey State Assembly would legalize hemp farming and production, effectively nullifying a federal prohibition on the same.
A2719 was introduced on Feb. 24 by Rep. Reed Gusciora (D-15). The bill allows for a state-regulated market to develop in New Jersey that would essentially nullify the decades-long federal ban on industrial hemp within the state.
The bill states that “a person may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, distribute, buy, or sell industrial hemp in the State, provided the person complies with the rules and regulations pursuant to… this act.” The rules and regulations in the bill consist mainly of reporting requirements to ensure that hemp farms are not used as decoys for marijuana grow operations.
Industrial hemp falls under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. It technically remains “legal” to grow in the U.S., but farmers must first obtain a permit from the DEA, a nearly impossible feat. Doing so without a permit is considered illegal.
The proposed New Jersey law ignores the federal prohibition and opens the door to hemp cultivation in the state. It would allow the state to develop an intrastate market and poise it to lead the way if Washington DC ever opens up the interstate market.
Experts count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and biofuel. The U.S. currently imports hemp products, primarily from China and Canada.
Three states – Colorado, Oregon and Vermont – have already passed similar measures. Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013.
A2719 is currently in the Commerce and Economic Development Committee where it will need to be passed by a majority before it goes to the full assembly for a vote.
For New Jersey: Take action today to help pass A2719 by clicking HERE.
For Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to legalize hemp farming by clicking HERE