Arizona legalizes hemp, but no commercial crops likely before 2019

Arizona became the 39th state to legalize hemp production when Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill authorizing the cultivation of industrial hemp for experimental purposes.

“I’m glad to sign a bill that could have a positive economic impact for the state,” Ducey said in a statement released Monday.

However, Arizona hemp production likely won’t begin until 2019. That’s because Arizona’s new hemp law gives agriculture authorities time to certify seeds and hire three staffers to oversee the program.

There’s no deadline for settling the hemp regulations.

The Arizona law does not limit hemp production to university projects, and it legalizes “all products” made from hemp, meaning CBD production will be allowed.

The law also specifically permits “market research” as a viable form of experimentation with hemp.

Arizona’s hemp law ends years of contentious debate in the Copper State.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, state lawmakers voted in 2001 to allow the state’s universities to research industrial hemp as a cash crop, only to have the measure vetoed by then-Gov. Jane Hull.

Hull said at the time she didn’t want to spend public money on a project that “may detract from the goals I support.”