New Jersey authorizes hemp but gives no timetable and few details

(This story has been updated to provide more details on the recreational marijuana measure before the New Jersey Legislature.)

In a new state statute authorizing hemp production, New Jersey has directed agriculture authorities to promote the plant “to the maximum extent permitted by federal law.”

But the Garden State provided few details on what that means.

The law, signed last week by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, calls hemp a “lucrative cash crop” and says that researching the plant could “greatly aid farmers seeking to grow hemp for the first time.”

The state Department of Agriculture has been charged with establishing rules and fees for potential hemp farmers, but no deadline for doing so has been set.

And the law is missing some key details, including:

  • Whether hemp can be sold or just researched.
  • Who can grow hemp.
  • Whether hemp can be grown for CBD production or just for “textiles, construction materials and foodstuffs.”

The law also leaves THC-testing procedures and potential background-check requirements to the New Jersey agriculture department.

The hemp law was signed just days before Democrats in the state Legislature unveiled plans to authorize recreational marijuana.

Lawmakers have proposed setting up a five-person cannabis commission and taxing cannabis sales at 12%.

Murphy has called for a marijuana legalization bill by the end of the year.

New Jersey is the 42nd state to authorize hemp production.