NC industrial hemp industry faces uncertainty as law set to expire

NC industrial hemp industry faces uncertainty as law set to expire

3:41pm May 26, 2022
Hempress Farms in Winston-Salem is a "seed to bottle" cultivation facility that grows hemp and produces CBD products. The company has been in the hemp business for the past three years, but there are concerns about its future if a law that legalized industrial hemp in the state expires. Image courtesy of Hempress Farms Facebook.

A state law that legalized the hemp industry in North Carolina is set to expire soon. Proposed legislation is currently being discussed in the General Assembly that would keep that from happening.

The state approved a pilot program in 2015 that allows farmers to grow hemp and sell products. But if a change isn’t made by the end of June, that will become illegal.

Lawmakers introduced two bills to help the industry. The 2022 Farm Act, Senate Bill 762 would permanently exclude hemp from the state's list of controlled substances, conforming with federal law. It would also differentiate between marijuana and hemp by listing a maximum chemical percentage of THC.

A similar proposal, Senate Bill 455, is also being discussed by lawmakers.

The hemp industry is booming in North Carolina and all of this is raising concerns for growers and retail shops that sell CBD products. Maya Gilliam is the owner of Hempress Farms in Winston-Salem. She says the uncertainty is difficult.

"I’ve been tapping into other streams of revenue for just in case, of course, and just trying to be flexible and fluid in this time when the business that you feed your family with could be illegal, so we are all just kind of waiting it out,” says Gilliam.

According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, there are around 1,500 licensed industrial hemp producers in the state.

Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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