Bipartisan legislation that would permanently enact a program to permit hemp growth for industrial use has passed the New Jersey Senate.
The legislation, Senate Bill 3686/Assembly Bill 5322, repeals the New Jersey Industrial Hemp Pilot Program – the pilot program established earlier this session – and replaces it with a permanent program to establish guidelines for the growing of hemp for industrial use.
The legislation would make it lawful for a hemp producer to cultivate, handle, or process hemp or hemp products in the state, and for any person to possess, transport, sell, and purchase legally produced hemp products in the State. Any unauthorized person who cultivates, handles, or processes living hemp would be subject to the same penalties as those related to marijuana.
A number of state legislatures have taken action to promote industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. At least 41 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp and at least 39 states have considered legislation that allowed for hemp cultivation and production programs.
The hemp that would be permitted to be grown in New Jersey does not contain the substances that are used in marijuana either for medicinal or recreational use.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Steven Oroho, R-24th District; Senate President Steve Sweeney, D-3rd District; Sen. Jim Beach, D-6th District; and Sen. Bob Andrzejczak, D-1st District.i