The CBD and Hemp industries are ever changing in both our state as well as across the country. To keep you all informed here is what’s happening today for North Carolina Hemp farmers.
As many of you know North Carolina was the number one tobacco state. However, farmers report losses in contracts for tobacco as it continues to decline with more going to china. With the Hemp pilot program that started here 3 years ago, many farmers have seen reported increases in revenue with Hemp as their primary crop, though not every farmer has had the same results. Sometimes it can take a few rounds of mature crops to prime the soil for a viable harvest. Hemp makes a great rotation crop because it can leach chemicals from the soil and replenish nutrients that other crops need. However, that also means as it leaches crops, they may not produce the quality desired to be extracted or smoked.
Smoked, that is the main topic of discussion with state legislation. This is by far the most profitable form of Hemp grown in the Carolinas because it needs little to no processing, it can be used straight from the farm to consumer after testing to verify it is within legal concentrations of less than .03% THC. Lawmakers are challenging whether smokeable hemp should be legal as law enforcement cannot tell if a person is smoking a hemp derived product or a marijuana product. There are readers that law enforcement can use to test products on site however the devices can cost up near $5,000 each and have currently not been on the table for discussion as a potential solution to the problem of distinguishing what a consumer may have in their possession.
In March of 2019, South Carolina updated their farm act to lift restrictions on how many farmers can grow hemp causing a 500+% increase in hemp farmers state wide. The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office says the Hemp Farming Act of 2019 makes it clear that “the mere possession of raw unprocessed hemp or hemp that’s not in a finished hemp product is unlawful if someone does not have a state hemp license,” but the act was unclear about whether hemp in its raw flower form- which is popular and smokable– qualifies as “unprocessed” and is illegal. So many retailers are clearing their shelves to avoid potential prosecution. This however has not greatly affected South Carolina growers as they are simply selling to other states such as North Carolina.
North Carolina House passed the North Carolina Farm Act with revisions to restrict smokable hemp in August of 2019 to ban smokable hemp beginning May 1st, 2020. It is unclear how this will ultimately affect North Carolina farmers. It could have the same effect as the tobacco decline once again putting our North Carolina farmers as risk. During discussions about proposed ban Rep. Jimmy Dixon states “If this bill passes without the ban, we will put 800 of our law enforcements dogs and their handlers out of business”. This statement has raised the question of the ban being put in place for the right reasons.
That’s North Carolina currently Hemp news see links below for further resources. We will keep you updated as laws change.