A new bill, Senate Bill 1337 (SB 1337), could legalize industrial hemp cultivation in Arizona. The bill was filed by State Senator Sonny Borrelli. If passed, hemp will be permitted to be grown and processed for health foods, fibers and other industrial applications.
The bill has language to include the use of processed hemp seeds, according to AZ Central. State Representative Bob Thorpe co-sponsors SB 1337. The argument in support of legal industrial hemp describes hemp as being more efficient, at least in the aspect of water consumption. Legislators say that industrial hemp requires less water and fertilizer than cotton.
In a press release regarding SB 1337, it reads, “Compared to cotton, hemp grows faster and produces higher yields per acre, decreasing environmental costs.”
Experts say that the global industrial hemp industry could profit $580 million annually. Charging fees to growers, processors and distributors would help the program run and fund itself. A separate trust would be setup for industrial hemp fees collection.
Borrelli said, “With the Arizona Legislature’s focus on economic growth and development, now is the appropriate time to explore this burgeoning industry and to reap the potential profits it can bring.”
The Arizona Department of Agriculture would oversee the industrial hemp industry. If SB 1337 passes, violations could still occur if any licensed hemp cultivators sell the plant or any part of it that is not approved by state law.