PRESS RELEASE February-11-2020

Sweeney Speaks on State’s Emerging Industrial Hemp Industry at New Jersey State Agriculture Convention

Atlantic City – Senate President Steve Sweeney spoke at the State Agricultural Convention last night, expressing his commitment and dedication to New Jersey’s agriculture sector as well as his hopes for the emerging industrial hemp industry in the State, calling hemp the next major cash crop for the Garden State.

“The agricultural industry has always been a vital facet of our state’s economy and culture. I am proud that last year we were able to establish New Jersey as a national leader for the industrial hemp industry, which has the potential to be the next great cash crop in the Garden State,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Our state was one of the first states to receive USDA authorization for industrial hemp production and with over 25,000 uses for hemp, this is sure to be a boon not only for farmers but for creating jobs, expanding industries and invigorating our economy.

“Now that the funding has been released and thanks to the leadership of Secretary Doug Fisher, I am sure hemp will reshape agriculture in New Jersey for years to come.”

The NJ Hemp Farming Act, legalizing hemp production in New Jersey, was signed into law in August of 2019. Previously hemp production was limited to academic or agricultural research.

The FY2020 budget included $500,000 in appropriations for the implementation of the new law. The funding was frozen, however, by Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 73 in June 2019, until October 2019.

New Jersey then became one of the first states in the country to have its plans for licensing industrial hemp approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“With over $1 billion in annual sales, Senate President Sweeney understands the impact New Jersey’s agricultural industry has on our state’s economy,” said Doug Fisher, the New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture. “Last year at the State Agricultural Convention he stated his commitment to preserving farmland throughout the state and this year Senator Sweeney expressed his support and excitement for the future of our hemp industry and the positive impact it will have on the state. His confidence in this new industry and his knowledge of agriculture, along with his track record of getting things done makes us all excited for this new crop to expand the sector in the coming years.

Industrial hemp is used in a wide variety of products including textiles, construction materials, and foodstuffs.  Hemp is typically cultivated for fiber, seeds, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. There are over 25,000 reported uses for industrial hemp products globally according to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report. The fiber can be used for fabrics, yarn, or paper products. Seeds are often used in food products, soaps, and cosmetics.