The industrial hemp bill SB 1098 has passed the Arizona Legislature and is now headed to Governor Ducey’s desk. SB 1098 would authorize industrial hemp production, processing, manufacturing, distribution and commerce conducted by licensed growers, harvesters, transporters and processors in Arizona.
Governor Ducey, who is well-known for being one of the most anti-marijuana lawmakers in Arizona, has until May 14 to sign or not sign the bill, Phoenix New Times reports. If passed, Arizona would become the 11th state in the U.S. to allow commercial industrial hemp cultivation and sales.
Ducey has vetoed a previous hemp legalization bill sponsored by Senator Borrelli because that bill didn’t verify where funding for a hemp program would come from. This time around, however, Borrelli believes the hemp bill will pass.
If SB 1098 passes, the Department of Agriculture would oversee the pilot program and allow hemp cultivation and retail, if allowed by federal law. All industrial hemp must remain under 0.3% THC. A one-year license would need to be obtained by those that wish to cultivate.
In the bill, $750,000 is set aside in state money to operate the program, which includes $250,000 for full time employees. The other $500,000 would be used to fund other parts of the program’s expenses.
Borrelli said, “It’s about rope, not dope. I believe it’s good policy. I do believe its going to benefit the state [economically].”
Arizona farmers would be able to harvest hemp at least 4-times every year. It is anticipated that farmers may cut 1,500 pounds of hemp per acre. There is a lot of open land in the state that can be used for hemp cultivation since the plant grows well in many environments.
The hemp plant has dozens of uses from food supplements and therapeutic relief to clothing, paper and building materials.