This week, Governor Doug Ducey signed SB 1098, providing funding for the Arizona Department of Agriculture’s (AZDA) agricultural pilot program allowing universities and those with a license from AZDA to begin cultivating industrial hemp – the fiber form of cannabis. Specifically, the hemp would be required to remain below 0.3 percent THC.
Industrial hemp grown under the pilot program would be an agricultural product that requires a grower, harvester, transporter or processor to obtain a license from the AZDA.
It is believed that industrial Hemp can help increase Arizona’s agricultural vitality. While cotton is one the of the 5 “Cs” of Arizona, it is a thirsty crop that requires large quantities of water. Hemp can be used in products similar to those made from cotton, but grows using less water and less fertilizer. Compared to cotton, hemp grows faster and produces higher yields per acre, decreasing the environmental costs.
Industrial Hemp has been use for thousands of years to make dozens of commercial products like paper, rope, canvas, and textiles.
Industrial Hemp was first unjustly banned after WW I. That ban was lifted, but then reinstated after WW II. However, Industrial Hemp has recently been rediscovered as a plant that has enormous environmental, economic, and commercial potential. What follows are some facts about Industrial Hemp that many people will find surprising:
The potential of Industrial Hemp for paper production is enormous. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, one acre of Industrial Hemp can produce 4 times more paper than one acre of trees. All types of paper products can be produced from Industrial Hemp including, newsprint, computer paper, stationary, cardboard, envelopes, concrete, toilet paper, even tampons.