Farmers can now legally grow hemp in Arizona
Starting Saturday, farmers can legally grow hemp in Arizona.
The Arizona Hemp Industries Association says those wanting to cash-in on the crop are still waiting for their state-issued licenses. But once they receive them, you’ll start seeing some changes across the Valley.
“They’re going to send us our license in the mail as soon as everything clears. Finger print cards, etc.,” George Buckler, one of about 200 people who applied for a license, said.
Buckler and former GOP Chairman Randy Pullen sit on the board for the Arizona Hemp Industries Association.
“It’s a gold rush,” Pullen said.
Pullen says you can make about $600 per acre growing hemp.
“Versus making anywhere from $0 to $100 an acre to plant other products,” he said.
He says new jobs are also expected to open up, as people like Buckler plan to research how the plant grows best.
“The different researchers around in Arizona, the different solar companies, the different lighting companies,” Buckler said.
Farmers are expected to start planting the seeds in the next 30 days.
“We’re going to see huge successes and we’ll see some that don’t do well,” Pullen said.
Not long after that, they predict you’ll start seeing a change at your local drug store.
“You’ll be buying CBD lotions and other products there,” Pullen said.
“Part of what it means for you too, is you’re going to know exactly where it came from,” Buckler said.
Those wanting to cash-in on the crop are still waiting for their state-issued licenses.
Interested in Planting Hemp in Arizona? Know the Risks.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized growing industrial hemp in the U.S. (and thereby, Arizona!) by excluding it from the definition of marijuana. The Farm Bill also expanded the definition to include seeds, all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids (including Cannabidiol (CBD)), isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers.
With the passage of Senate Bill 1003, the Industrial Hemp Program became effective May 31, 2019. You can now apply for a license from the Arizona Department of Agriculture, who manages the oversight and compliance of the program.
So, you’re interested in planting hemp in Arizona? Here’s what you need to know:
Get Your License. Anyone can register to become a certified Hemp Grower with the Arizona Department of Agriculture. To acquire an industrial hemp license, a valid fingerprint clearance card is required. Learn more and begin your application here.
Check Your County Laws. Does your county in Arizona approve? You might be state licensed, but does the county you want to grow in allow hemp growers? Each county in Arizona is different and different rules apply.
Choosing Your Plant… Where do you get your seeds or clones from? Are the people who sold you seeds or clones responsible for failure to grow in Arizona or are farmers taking risks just planting seeds/clones from other states? This is perhaps the most important question, as there are not yet varieties of hemp that are proven to do well in our Arizona environment.
“We’re all excited about the future of hemp in Arizona“, says Gigi Rock, President of the Arizona Hemp Industries State Chapter, “but we’ve got to ensure farmers are getting good quality seed that will do well here in Arizona. Right now we don’t know what varieties will thrive here, let alone survive, and we don’t want farmers throwing away their live savings on seeds that aren’t desert-adapted.”
Test your environment. Just like you know with any of your crops, you will need to test your water and soil.
Consider Your Investment. In addition to your seed-sourcing, how will you control and monitor the THC levels in your crops to ensure they stay below the mandated minimum?
What are Arizona farmers are saying about hemp?
Paul Ollerton of Casa Grande is optimistic, but starting small. From Cronkite News: https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2019/05/09/arizona-industrial-hemp/
For a complete FAQ on Industrial Hemp Production in Arizona, click here.
Interested in Planting Hemp in Arizona? Know the Risks. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized growing industrial hemp in the U.S. (and thereby, Arizona!) by excluding it from the definition of marijuana.