Hemp, a versatile plant genetically related to marijuana but with none of its psychoactive effects, can be grown freely in the Garden State under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Friday. Unlike the drive to legalize marijuana in New Jersey that stalled in the spring, hemp is enjoying a resurgence not seen in this country since Founding Fathers used hemp paper to draft the Declaration of Independence.
In December, President Donald Trump signed legislation taking hemp off the controlled substances list, where it had sat since 1970. That opened the door to states looking to take advantage of the crop as a source for textiles, fodder for animal feed and the foundation for a popular array of wellness products.
The law Murphy signed Friday repeals a law he enacted last fall, before Trump’s action, that created a limited farming program. The new law says farmers must be registered with the state department of Agriculture, and submit to periodic testing to determine whether a crop’s THC level — the active ingredient that makes people feel high — is below 0.3 percent. If a farmer’s hemp flunked the THC test three times within five years, the state could bar them from growing in the future.
Read more at nj.com