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Connecticut Gov. Signs Industrial Hemp Bill

A measure to establish an industrial hemp pilot program in Connecticut has been signed into law; the bill passed both chambers of the state’s General Assembly with unanimous support.

Full story after the jump.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, has signed legislation creating a pilot program for hemp cultivation in the state. Lamont said the program will strengthen officials’ efforts to grow the agriculture economy and create jobs “in a responsible manner.”

“With this program, farmers will have the opportunity to bolster their profits with hemp, and veteran and first-time farmers alike will be attracted to a new and growing market that will offer crop diversification, increased revenue, and expertise in an expanding field.” — Lamont, in a press release

According to the bill text, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture will use Kentucky’s industrial hemp program as a policy guide for the state’s hemp regulations. The pilot program aims to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp in Connecticut “in a manner that ensures that only such department grows or cultivates such industrial hemp through the use of sites that are certified by, and registered with, the Department of Agriculture.”

The measure received unanimous support in both chambers of the state General Assembly.

Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Brian Hurlburt said that while the measure doesn’t outright legalize hemp – as many other states have done following the passage of the federal farm Bill last year – it is a “giant step closer” to broad reforms.

“Hemp has the potential to stabilize the agricultural economy and attract new farmers to the industry while providing consumers with a locally grown product that is in high demand,” he said in a statement. “This ties in with the governor’s budget to support a hemp program and the desire to create new market opportunities for the small business men and women in Connecticut.”

Interested farmers will pay a $50 annual application fee and a cultivation fee of $50 per planned acre of hemp; processors will pay a $250 licensing fee.

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