NEW YORK: The state Department of Agriculture and Markets has developed proposed regulations to govern experimental growing of a cultivar of cannabis, the plant most known today as the source of marijuana. Industrial hemp, as it’s sometimes known, has too little of the active ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol, often referred to as THC, to produce a recreational high yet is seen as having enormous potential.
Hemp has edible and oil-producing seeds, and its fibrous bark and internal core can be used as a building material. Parts of the plant are used in making plastics, paper, insulation, animal bedding and cosmetics, eaten and burned as biomass fuel. It also provides a chemical seen as having medical potential.
Two state lawmakers from the Southern Tier sponsored bills to get trial plantings started: Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, and Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Elmira.
“We are on the frontier of a major new industrial crop, and that’s why I’ve been pushing New York to get out in front of it,” Lupardo said.
Federal law was changed in the 2014 national farm-policy bill to allow states to permit hemp research. Lupardo and O’Mara sponsored bills in New York to do just that. The measure was adopted with near-unanimous support, but rules governing the experiments were not adopted in time for the 2015 growing season.