Arizona farmers can begin planting hemp in early June. Hemp industry applications are due by May 31, and it can take just days for applicants to receive licensing.
One area that the committee is having trouble with is what to do with crops that test over 0.3% THC, AZ Big Media reported. It’s likely that crops testing above the threshold would have to be destroyed. Some farmers are also concerned about civilians mistaking the crops for marijuana.
Paul Ollerton, a cotton farmer in Casa Grande, is considering adding hemp to his crop rotation.
“God knows we need something that’s a little bit more profitable than what cotton has been for the last few years,” said Ollerton.
The sustainability and versatility of the hemp plant is what makes farmers want to grow it. Hemp needs less water than many crops. It requires water at the beginning of its growth cycle, primarily, then much less.
Regarding what the state will do with hemp that tests above 0.3% THC limit, Brian McGrew of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, said, “There’s so many ways it might go. Complete destruction of the crop, as some states have done, if it tests over. It’s all going to be based on what resources are available for the grower and the state, and what technologies might exist.”
Zev Pass of the National Hemp Association said, “Hemp touches on many different industries in a sustainable way. We are at the very beginning of discovering all the benefits of it. Many industries are tapping into it, a lot of jobs are being created, a lot of local governments are getting tax revenue, it has a wide variety of tax benefits.”
Hemp takes about 120 days to grow. Farmers that plant on May 31 or in early June would be harvesting in October.
Photo: Ian Maule Tulsa World via AP File