Arizona Senate unanimous in passage of industrial hemp bill

The Arizona Senate Thursday unanimously passed SB 1098, which would create an industrial hemp industry in Arizona. Last year, Senator Sonny Borrelli passed similar legislation, but it did not become law due to lack of appropriated funding. This year’s bill resolves that issue and specifically allocates $500,000 to the Arizona Department of Agriculture and $250,000 and three full time employees to the Arizona Department of Agriculture Plant Services Division.

This money will be used for the additional requirements placed upon the Department, such as establishing the Industrial Hemp Program, issuing licenses and maintaining records.

According to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures, 38 states allow for the cultivation of hemp for commercial, research or pilot programs. Last year alone 15 states enacted legislation to establish such programs.

Hemp is used in products similar to those made from cotton, but grows using less water and less fertilizer. Compared to cotton, hemp grows faster and produces higher yields per acre, decreasing the environmental costs. Historically in America, hemp was used to make cords, papers and lines and riggings for ships and is now used to make thousands of products, including lotions and beauty products, oils, rope, textiles, food and nutrition items, and building materials.

“By establishing an industrial hemp program in Arizona, we are creating new jobs and expanding economic opportunities,” said Senator Borrelli. “Arizona is one of the top agricultural producers in the country, and it makes sense to grow a product that will thrive in our desert climate. Hemp is so low in THC that it is impossible to get high from, so remember, this is rope, not dope.”

The bill is now over in the Arizona House of Representatives and waiting to be assigned to a committee.

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February 2018