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Is It Legal to Grow Industrial Hemp in New Jersey?
On December 27, New Jersey was among the first three states to have its Hemp Program approved by the USDA.
Check .....New Jersey Hemp Farming Act Summary and Rules.
The links for applications to grow and process hemp in New Jersey are available at http://bit.ly/35dzAQW.
What Is Industrial Hemp?
Industrial hemp is from the plant species Cannabis sativa and is used to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products. Hemp is a source of fiber and oilseed grown in countries worldwide. Many products, including fibers, textiles, paper, construction and insulation materials, cosmetic products, animal feed, food, and beverages can be produced from hemp. By definition, industrial hemp is low (less than 0.3%) in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis plant's primary psychoactive chemical.
Is Industrial Hemp the Same as Marijuana?
Industrial hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. While both are botanically the same species, different varieties or cultivars have been developed for distinct purposes and are grown with different cultural practices. Marijuana is cultivated for production of the psychoactive plant chemical tetrahydrocannabinol. Industrial hemp is typically cultivated for fiber, seed, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Federal and state law requires that the concentration of THC must be less than 0.3% in industrial hemp.
What Are Some of the Uses of Industrial Hemp?
There are over 25,000 reported uses for industrial hemp products globally according to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report. Industrial hemp is grown mainly for fiber production (fabrics, yarns, paper products, construction materials, etc.) or seed production (food products, culinary oils, soaps, lotions, cosmetics). Some varieties are suitable for dual-use production. Hemp is also grown for the production of cannabidiol oil extracted from resins produced largely in its flowers. CBD is used as a health supplement with purported health benefits including pain relief, inflammation, and others.
What Happens If an Industrial Hemp Crop Tests Higher Than the 0.3% THC Regulatory Limit?
By definition, the plants are no longer considered industrial hemp. Under current regulations, the crop would not be legal to harvest and must be destroyed. New Jersey forthcoming regulations will mandate the sampling and crop destruction protocols.
Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol oil is sometimes called "hemp oil." CBD oil should not be confused with hemp seed oil. Cannabidiol is a naturally occurring compound largely found in and extracted from the resinous flowers of cannabis. CBD is one of more than a hundred phytocannabinoids, which are unique to cannabis. Seed oil is made from pressing the hemp seed, similar to the processing of oil from sunflower or canola seed.
What Risks Might Be Encountered While Producing Industrial Hemp?
Just as producing any crop, there are risk factors associated with industrial hemp production. It is important that producers carefully evaluate the potential costs, market opportunities and technical feasibility of any production system before beginning any new crop. Factors to consider when evaluating the production of industrial hemp include:
Currently industrial hemp is not covered by crop insurance. This may change under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Presently, there are no pesticides labeled for insect, disease, or weed control.
Inputs including specialized equipment/implements, trained labor for hand-harvesting, controlled atmosphere structures (high tunnels or greenhouses), and other resources may be needed and should be considered during budgeting.
Proper variety selection is important and dependent upon whether the product end use will be fiber, seed, or CBD oil.
As the industry is just beginning to develop, hemp marketing and processing facilities are limited.
Recognize that "THC spikes" have been reported in industrial hemp crops planted in other states. A THC spike is when the THC concentration exceeds the regulatory limit of 0.3%. The crop must be destroyed if the THC level exceeds the regulatory limits established for industrial hemp. Further research is needed to determine what, if any, production practices or environmental conditions can contribute to THC spikes.
Is Industrial Hemp Production Economically Viable for New Jersey?
As is the case with any emerging agricultural product, limited data exist to quantify the economic feasibility of industrial hemp production in New Jersey. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) reported total United States sales of hemp products at nearly $800 million in 2017, with significant increases in the sale of hemp-based products, foods, and supplements as compared to 2016 estimates. Although industrial hemp production may provide an opportunity for New Jersey, it is crucial that producers carefully examine the market and accessibility of market channels as part of a marketing plan for their operation.