Louisiana started handing out its first licenses to farmers to grow industrial hemp this month, after lawmakers legalized the crop in a bid to start a new agricultural industry in the state.
“Our industrial hemp program administrators worked hard to ensure the regulatory framework was in place as soon as feasibly possible and in time for the 2020 planting season,” Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, a Republican, said in a statement Thursday.
Strain’s office told The Advocate that it gave the first hemp grower’s license to Nanette Noland, the president of the Powell Group, an investment firm that owns several agricultural businesses.
The prospect of hemp as a new crop has excited farmers in Louisiana, especially after many suffered through rough weather and a trade war that stymied the market for some crops.
Hemp is a member of the cannabis plant family but contains only traces of the THC chemical compound that causes a high for marijuana users.
Louisiana’s hemp legalization came after Congress’ 2018 Farm Bill removed the crop from the list of federally controlled substances, giving states an opportunity to develop a hemp-growing program. It also coincides with the increasing popularity of Cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant that is often extracted from hemp. [Read more at WBRZ]