Farmers in Texas are well positioned to be top producers of what’s poised to become the next major U.S. cash crop — hemp — but only if state lawmakers let them, advocates told a legislative committee at the Capitol on Tuesday.
“Texas could lead the nation’s hemp economy,” said Shawn Hauser, a representative of the American Hemp Campaign. “It’s jobs, family farms and economic growth. It’s just common sense” to legalize the crop in Texas.
A version of the 2018 farm bill that was recently approved by the U.S. Senate would lift federal prohibitions against growing hemp — the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana. If the provision makes it into the final version of the farm bill, states would be able to decide for themselves how to regulate the crop.
Hauser, along with members of the Texas agriculture industry and other hemp backers, turned out for a state House committee hearing to urge lawmakers to legalize hemp production during next year’s state legislative session. They said an abundance of suitable crop land in Texas, as well as hemp’s relatively low water requirements, makes the state ideal for what could be a $2 billion U.S. industry in the next few years. [Read more at My Statesman]