BLACKSBURG, Va., March 19, 2015 – Virginia Tech will be able to begin research on growing industrial hemp in the commonwealth as a result of a new state law and the establishment of an industrial hemp research program by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The bill Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law on Monday states that Virginia institutions of higher education can grow industrial hemp for research purposes. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will issue the growing licenses. The law does not take effect until July 1.
“We look forward to working with our partners across the state to undertake research that has the potential to bring a new crop to Virginia’s already robust agricultural portfolio,” said Alan Grant, dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Although we are only in the beginning stages of establishing this program, our research abilities, when combined with Virginia Cooperative Extension and our Agricultural Research and Extension Centers, can help this new initiative grow and benefit the state.”
Hemp has a long history in Virginia dating back to the 1600s, when the law stated that Jamestown farmers must grow it because the fiber’s many uses were so vital to the colony. In the colonial era, farmers could pay their taxes with hemp. [Read more at VT News]