State officials release policy for commercial and industrial hemp program

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State environmental officials have announced a new hemp policy for the commercial growing and processing of industrial hemp in Massachusetts. 

On July 28, 2017, An Act to Ensure Safe Access to Marijuana updated Massachusetts laws that govern the use of marijuana. This legislation also created a distinction between marijuana, Hemp and Industrial Hemp, allowing Hemp to be grown commercially for Industrial Hemp or as part of an Agricultural Pilot Program. Hemp does not contain tetrahydrocanabinol or THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.

The state is hoping to expand opportunities for farmers who want to grow the renewable and sustainable crop by creating new locally grown products and providing economic and job growth in rural Massachusetts. Industrial hemp has multiple commercial purposes, such as for use as a fiber crop, seed crop, or production of beneficial compounds found in the flowers. Products manufactured from the plant include rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation, oil, and biofuel.

Licensing applications for commercial growers and processors of industrial hemp are now available through the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR).

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