As you may have read in our post What is the 2014 Farm Bill, President Obama signed the Agricultural Act of 2014 during his Presidential term. Within the Agricultural Act of 2014, or 2014 Farm Bill, there exists a Section 7606. Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill allows for higher education entities and state departments of agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research purposes.
Since the passing of the 2014 Farm Bill, we have seen over 30 states pass their own legislation related to the revival of industrial hemp. West Virginia is one of them. Per West Virginia Code. § 19-12E-1 to 19-12E-9 (Industrial Hemp Development Act 2016):
The Legislature finds that the development and use of industrial hemp can serve to improve the state’s economy and agricultural vitality and that the production of industrial hemp can be regulated so as not to interfere with the strict regulation of controlled substances in this state. The purpose of the industrial hemp development act is to promote the economy and agriculture by permitting the development of a regulated industrial hemp industry while maintaining strict control of marijuana.
The West Virginia Industrial Hemp Development Act allows:
- Hemp production for commercial purposes by growers licensed by the West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture.
- Growers must use seeds which produce plants containing less than 1 percent THC.
This is a positive event for the industrial hemp movement as we continue to see states recognize the benefits of the cannabis sativa plant. According to Robert Kerr, Communications Director for the West Virginia Hemp Farmers Cooperative, nine farmers are participating in the program this year across 13 acres of land. Farmers are working in collaboration with state universities in researching the many different uses for hemp, like construction materials, textiles, and cannabidiol (CBD).
Read more about West Virginia’s Hemp Research Program in West Virginia’s local newspaper, The Register-Herald