West Virginia is setting the stage for a booming economy by adopting both medical marijuana and hemp as prized agricultural commodities.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has signed a bill allowing more hemp farmers to apply for a State license to cultivate hemp. By expanding the availability of licenses, the Governor is promoting West Virginia farmers who can now apply for a license to cultivate hemp. Previously only a State sponsored research campus could cultivate hemp.
This new measure allows the Commissioner of Agriculture to approve a license for any individual farmer rather than just state colleges and universities.
The application process requires first-time license applicants to submit their fingerprints and undergo state and federal background checks at their own expense. Individuals granted a license, which expires annually on Dec. 31, are “presumed to be growing industrial hemp for commercial purposes,” according to the bill text.
The measure passed both the House and Senate unanimously.
Following the Senate vote, Crescent Gallagher, communications director for the Department of Agriculture, said industrial hemp could play a role in improving the state’s economy. No doubt West Virginia is poised for economic expansion and growth just by allowing the cultivation of one plant…hemp.
“The department is looking forward to working with individuals who are interested in growing industrial hemp,” he said in an April 5 Gazette-Mail report. “The hope is that hemp becomes a niche crop that helps grow our agriculture industries and spur economic growth to help diversify our economy.”
Prior to this new change in state legislations, only the Agriculture Department and connected research programs were able to cultivate hemp. Last week, Justice signed legislation making West Virginia the 29th state to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. By adopting both Medical Marijuana and Hemp Cultivation West Virginia is signaling to the World Economy we are here and we wish to be relevant in this new economy.
Congratulations West Virginia! We have big hopes for your future success.