by: Jesse Inman, Ozarks First
The Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) approved regulations for the state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program today at their quarterly meeting.
The decision puts Arkansas farmers one step closer to growing hemp in the state.
The approval came after Mary Smith, author of the regulations and ASPB Seed Division Director, presented several public comments collected during a thirty-day public comment period that concluded June 15th. Many of the comments were inconsequential and did not result in recommended changes to the current draft of regulations.
One comment however resulted in a change, where licenses will be suspended instead of revoked as a result of violations, pending a hearing.
The regulations that were approved by Governor Asa Hutchinson in May are now headed to the Arkansas Legislative Council (ALC) for approval. The ALC’s next meeting is scheduled for August 17, 2018 at 9am.
Once approved by the ALC, the adopted rules and regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s office and will become effective ten days after filing.
When the hemp regulations become effective, the ASPB will establish the protocol to grant licenses to Arkansas farmers and processors. It’s unlikely that licenses will be granted in time for the 2018 growing season.
Industrial Hemp is a versatile crop that can be used to produce a variety of products such as CBD extracts, paper, building materials, food products, and biofuel.
According to local Hemp Genetics and CBD company, Tree of Life Seeds’ CEO, Jason Martin, “The ability to grow and process industrial hemp in the natural state is a game changer for Arkansas farmers who will now have a viable alternative crop that can provide increased profits at a time when farming profits are low.”
(Press Release Provided by Tree of Life Seeds)