Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed into law a bill directing the state Department of Agriculture to create a pilot program to research cultivation of industrial hemp.Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed into law a bill directing the state Department of Agriculture to create a pilot program to research cultivation of industrial hemp.
“It’s time for New Jersey to put its finger on the pulse of the hemp industry,” said the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, R-13th District, said in a prepared statement. “This pilot program is a win for local farmers who need a diversity of opportunities to compete in the global agriculture market. Hemp is growing in value as a cash crop, and I am sure the New Jersey economy and our farmers will benefit from this pilot program.”
O’Scanlon was joined as primary sponsor by Sen. Reed Gusciora, D-15th District; Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin; D-18th District; Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, D-15th District; and Sen. Vin Gopal, D-11th District.
Petr Furey, executive director of the New Jersey Farm Bureau, said that the NJFB has been supportive of the bill and is pleased the governor signed it.
“This authorizes a development project, it does not mean that growers can immediately start producing industrial hemp, but the development project is a very good thing because it will set the parameters to help the initial success of the hemp industry once it gets started,” he said. “As far as the eventual impact, this could become a significant niche crop. So it won’t be like another soybean, corn or tomato, but in certain places for certain growers it’ll be a very welcome addition to the portfolio of crops that they grow and it’ll probably boost their profitability.”
The DOA did not answer a request for comment by press time.