SANTA FE, NM – Lawmakers in New Mexico have given final approval on a bill to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp, sending the measure to the desk of Governor Susana Martinez.
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, would allow for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to provide for the growing of industrial hemp for research and development purposes. And, upon passage of the legalization of hemp, the provision will permit growing of industrial hemp by New Mexicans issued a license by the department.
If SB94 is signed into law by Governor Susana Martinez, New Mexico will join Kentucky, Hawaii and Colorado, which have already created industrial hemp research programs.
Farmers worldwide grow hemp commercially for fiber, seed, and oil for use in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including food and clothing. The United States is the only developed nation that fails to cultivate industrial hemp as an economic crop on a large scale, according to the Congressional Resource Service.
Over thirty countries produce industrial hemp, including Australia, Austria, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and Ukraine.
With an estimated market of over $500 million per year, the United States is the world’s largest importer of hemp fiber and products. The majority of hemp sold in the United States is imported from China and Canada, the world’s largest exporters of the crop.