Washington state’s budget includes $100,000 to license hemp farmers and market hemp products, according to a Capital Press report. The funding – $187,000 less than requested by the Department of Agriculture – allows the program to continue for another year; however, the agency has not yet resumed licensing producers.
The program has been on hold since late last year and officials have not set a timetable for when they will begin licensing farmers for the next season, an Agriculture Department spokesperson told Capital Press. Licensing fees – set at $750 – paired with grower registration fees of $1,300 were expected to sustain the program but those fell short of the department’s expectations.
Cory Sharp, owner of HempLogic which grew half of the state’s 180 industrial hemp acres planted last year, said he still had unused hemp crops from last season and warned farmers not to plant too many acres. HempLogic will not participate in this year’s program because the company is developing a mobile hemp processor with a Colorado-based equipment maker.
“The processing has just not caught up with the growing. If you do 5 acres and you lose the whole thing, you’re still a hemp farmer, but you didn’t lose the whole farm. … “Maybe in a weird way, Washington, by throwing cold water on it, saved people from making big mistakes.” – Sharp to the Capital Press
Last season the agency issued seven one-year licenses throughout the state and collected $8,139 from licensees; the agency spent $146,000 overseeing the program.