In June 2019, the Legislature passed the New Jersey Hemp Farming Act (the “HFA”). This is great news for the “Garden State.” New Jersey has hundreds of thousands of acres in farmland and hemp cultivation may prove to be a lucrative business.
Previously, hemp cultivation in New Jersey was limited to non-germinating seeds and stalks of the hemp plant and confined to individuals who were approved to collaborate with educational institutions to research the plant. Because the HFA now legalizes the sale of products originating from any part of the plant, there should be an expected increase in the sale of both raw hemp and hemp products.
Increases in sales may also drive production and manufacturing costs down as well. State Senate President Stephen Sweeney stated that New Jersey’s propensity for agricultural production “has the capacity and ability to capitalize on new opportunities for hemp products that will create and expand economic opportunities. Recently, one Canadian cannabis firm spent hundreds of millions of dollars to enter the United States hemp market. Hemp is increasingly viewed as a strategical investment and growth opportunity. Now the Garden State can join a dozen other states who have already created procedures for hemp production.
The industrial hemp craze that has been sweeping the United States is now taking root in New Jersey. However, it is important to note that individuals and entities must still apply for the requisite licenses and approval to work with hemp and to comply with reporting requirements after permission to work with hemp has been authorized. Otherwise, they may be subject to the same penalties as those related to illegal marijuana production and sales.