North Carolina Hemp

I was reading a news article recently, here, and I came across something that I thought was odd. In this article Tom Melton who is the Deputy Director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service among other things had this to say “If they can, they can sell it, and it can be a great new crop for North Carolina. We don’t know that yet. Nobody really knows,” he said. “We’re just trying to set up some rules so farmers can try growing it legally, the universities can do a little research on it and find out if it’s something we want to expand.” 

I found this fascinating. See North Carolina has essentially nullified federal law regarding hemp, the cousin to Cannabis. No matter how you feel about drugs, hemp should be legal as it poses risk and cannot be used as a drug. Hemp is still illegal to grow per federal law but many states have taken it upon themselves to allow their citizens to grow it in complete disregard of the federal law. I find this great but also concerning. Concerning for the above-bolded text. There need not be any rules regulating the growth of hemp. We know from history that it grows well here, not only in North Carolina but across the east coast and other portions of the country. It is a sustainable crop that has a myriad of uses from paper, to clothes, oil, food, biodegradable plastics and more.

My biggest issue with the above-bolded text is that there seems to be an assumption that people, without the guidance of a government agency, cannot grow hemp nor research its many uses. Another concern of mine is the restrictions and constraints put in place by the commission that is setting this up. You have to have farm experience, specific licenses to apply for the permit, then fill out the application. Only a few are able to farm hemp and those with felonies are not allowed to farm it nor help the farmers that do. This crop could be a huge boon for the State of North Carolina as well as the country. We currently import all of our hemp in the United States since it has been banned since the 1930’s.

In a remarkable turn from the beginning of the article where they were unsure of how and if it would be a productive crop in North Carolina, they admit it later on that it had been in the past “North Carolina farmers grew a lot of hemp for fiber production in the 1800s and early 1900s, before it was banned. “It’s a crop that we haven’t grown here since the 1930s here in North Carolina. As the market develops we hope to learn more about how to cultivate crops in North Carolina as a viable alternative for our farmers,” commission vice chairman Sandy Stewart said.” 

The ability to grow hemp here where I live is an exciting one, although the State government seems to want it regulated to a few for now. I will be keeping an eye on this as it develops further. Hopefully, the John Locke foundation will push for this to be opened to all who want to grow it instead of a select few.

What are your thoughts about hemp? Is it something that we should look into, are you excited about the possibilities, or do you not really care? Remember, this was done by local activist pushing for the nullification of federal law. The Tenth Amendment Center was instrumental in helping get this done. If you are looking for a place to help out, check them out and think about donating! We would love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below, subscribe on the side, and please share with your friends!

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