Hemp in Va
If you’re a farmer and looking to diversify, you can get a license to grow hemp here in VA. As of April 31st 2019, Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services granted more than 6-hundred Industrial Hemp grower registrations and 92 registrations for processing the plant. Since it became legal to do so, hundreds of people have already received their state license to raise and process the crop that was once illegal. It could prove to be even more versatile than ever and researchers are finding new ways to use this easy-to-cultivate, renewable resource. A lot of people are hopeful this will give Virginia’s agriculture industry a boost.
Historically, hemp was one of the earliest grown crops in Virginia- even being planted by George Washington when fibers from the plant were necessary to create rigging for ships.
Historians estimate that by the mid-18th century, Virginia had 12,000 acres cultivated for hemp.
Progress toward legalization of hemp was made five years ago, when federal law was changed to allow cultivation of hemp for research purposes. Virginia law was amended to implement such a program in 2015, but advocates’ big win came with the passage of the 2018 farm bill, when hemp was legalized in all 50 states and removed from the federal list of controlled substances. Still, there are plenty of regulations. For example, if the THC level in a farmer’s hemp tests above a state-imposed threshold, the crop must be destroyed.
Researchers are saying that hemp already has a built-in market here and it could replace some 9-hundred million dollars’ worth that’s imported with hemp that is locally grown.
Hemp can be used for a variety of products, from textiles and insulation to biodiesel. An even bigger market than fiber may actually be oil, and not only the kind used for fuel. C-B-D oil products have become more and more popular over the years and is already showing up in medicines and soaps. Some industry analysts predict that the CBD industry will be worth $22 billion by the year 2022. Until now, only researchers at Virginia universities could grow hemp for making CBD. Advocates say CBD has a variety of mental and physical health benefits, but scientific research is limited.
If you’d like to learn more about the laws and specifications of growing hemp, check out the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services website, at vdacs.virginia.gov
You can also fill out your registration form as well.
For AMR News, I’m Abby Dufour