Wirths and Space on industrial hemp

Public Health. Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblyman Hal Wirths (All R-Sussex, Warren, Morris) commended the State and particularly Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher for quick work on the rules allowing the production of hemp and hemp products in the new year.

03 Jan 2020 | 04:01

Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths commended Agriculture Secretary Doug Fisher for quick work on the rules allowing the production of industrial hemp in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture released its rules this week after getting a green light from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“This is good news for farmers, businesses and consumers in New Jersey,” said Oroho. “Hemp is a versatile and profitable cash crop that can bring new revenue to cash-strapped farmers. I am pleased the State has taken the necessary steps to make this opportunity a reality in 2020.”

According to the agriculture department, applications for the 2020 New Jersey Hemp Program are expected to be available on their website within the next week.

Oroho, Space and Wirths sponsored legislation, signed into law in August, paving the way for the production in the Garden State of industrial hemp, a strain of the cannabis sativa plant that is grown specifically for industrial uses.

Hemp was removed from the controlled substance list in the 2018 federal “Farm Bill.”

“We’re not the only state embracing the potential of industrial hemp,” said Space. “It’s important to allow our farmers to act quickly to compete in this prolific new market with growers in nearby states.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures estimates the plant may be used in more than 25,000 products. The varied uses include: fiber, building materials, plastic and composite materials, paper, animal bedding, water and soil purification, weed control, cosmetics, automotive parts, furniture, agricultural applications, and biofuels.

“This is an exciting new industry and everyone from the farmers to homeowners stand to benefit,” said Wirths. “It will be exciting to watch the manufacturers in the state as they bring new designs to market and integrate this durable, Jersey-grown natural resource into their product lines.”

The hemp that will be permitted to be grown in New Jersey does not contain the substances that are used in marijuana either for medicinal or recreational use.