US (NM): Slow and steady growth for hemp industry

For years proponents of legalized industrial hemp have praised the plant for its reportedly numerous benefits—including the ability to bolster the state’s economy. With both state and federal law opening the doors for growers and manufacturers, some New Mexicans are well on their way to start growing the non-psychoactive relative of cannabis.

But, some of those new hemp farmers say it could be at least a year before the state sees a significant hemp market. Since legally growing and cultivating hemp is still new to the state, current licensed growers who spoke with NM Political Report can’t say for sure when their crops will be ready or how well they will perform in the state. But all of them said they expect hemp to be a viable crop within several years.

Ultra Health, a prominent medical cannabis producer in New Mexico, appears to be on its way to become one of the larger hemp operations in the state. But, the company’s president and CEO Duke Rodriguez said even with a current $1.1 million investment in water rights, land and equipment, he’s not expecting fully grown crops ready for market until at least November. Rodriguez lists the many variables in growing any kind of crop as a reason why no one can fully predict how this year’s crop of hemp will do.

“We don’t know. Like green chile, if you’ve been here long enough you know that the ranges in temperatures of green chile can be affected by the amount of moisture, the amount of heat,” Rodriguez said. “The same thing can happen to this.”


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