New York aims to ramp up hemp industry with new law, funding

New York is bullish on hemp.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed legislation aimed at boosting production of hemp and committed $10 million in state funds to ramp up the industry.

In signing the bill into law, the governor said hemp holds great potential for New York’s agricultural and biotech industries.

According to the Albany Times Union, the new law:

  • Mandates that industrial hemp be categorized as an agricultural product and be given the same considerations as other crops and seeds.
  • Requires state agencies to collaborate on funding and support for hemp research and businesses.
  • Sets up an industrial hempseed certification program.
  • Calls for industrial hemp data collection.
  • Authorizes the establishment of an industrial hemp website.

The state also earmarked $5 million for research and production and $5 million for processing and commercialization, the Ithaca Journal reported.

Hemp is a variety of cannabis but doesn’t contain the psychoactive compounds found in marijuana. The plant typically is grown for use in textiles, food supplements, biofuels and even building materials.

New York is among the 31 states that have eased restrictions on the production of industrial hemp under the 2014 Farm Bill. Last year, New York launched a program allowing farmers to partner with universities to grow and research hemp.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily