The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved New Mexico’s hemp plan which will take effect for growers licensed after October 31. The state’s Economic Development Department anticipates at least 400 hemp-related jobs from Local Economic Development Act funding.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said the industry “can be an economic game-changer” for the state’s agricultural communities.
Jerry Walker, CEO and president of Independent Community Bankers Association of New Mexico said the USDA approval “is good news” for both hemp cultivators and the community banks that serve them.
“The diligent efforts of the [New Mexico Department of Agriculture] will pay dividends for years to come as the industry grows and matures. New Mexico’s community banks have been pleased to support this effort and the economic development that will benefit many areas of the state.” – Walker in a statement
Officials note that the state’s rules for the 2019 and 2020 growing season already closely aligned with the 2018 Farm Bill – which legalized hemp throughout the U.S. – but the USDA-approved plan provides more clarity for operators.
New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte said the USDA-approved plans “provide uniformity among states, as everyone is held to the same standards.”
This month, the USDA also approved Michigan’s hemp plan, bringing the total approved by federal regulators to 30, along with Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The USDA website now lists 10 plans under review, four states as operating under USDA rules, and three continuing under 2014 pilot programs.
Alaska is listed as “drafting a plan” for approval, while Colorado’s is “pending resubmission,” and Idaho lawmakers still have not approved legislation to legalize the crop in the state.