A wide fan leaf from a mature hemp plant.

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A proposal to grow hemp by the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Hemp Society has been waitlisted by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets because other institutions applied for licenses before the group had an opportunity, according to the Daily Orange, Syracuse University’s student newspaper. Under the state’s 2014 Industrial Hemp Pilot Research Program, the state awards just 10 licenses for industrial hemp cultivation.

The proposal would see SUNY-ESF obtain the license to grow hemp on campus and the program would ultimately conduct the research; members of the Hemp Society would participate in the project. Ed Shao, treasurer of the Hemp Society, said he is hopeful that the college will receive a license by fall of 2018.

Currently, SUNY Morrisville is the only college in the state to hold a hemp cultivation license. Their seeds are provided by JD Farms – an Eaton farm that also holds a hemp license.

Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, a SUNY Morrisville School of Agriculture, Sustainability, Business and Entrepreneurship assistant professor, said that she has experienced her own hurdles while researching the plant due to stigmas and misunderstandings surrounding hemp.

“I walk into situations thinking I’m going to be discussing the research we are doing but I spend most of my time clarifying that, no, industrial hemp is not marijuana,” Jenkins said in the report. “It’s a stigma we must really work to break.”

The Hemp Society attempted to organize a group at Syracuse University, but the SU Student Association rejected their application to become a registered student organization.

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