US (OK): Lawmakers discuss possible benefits of hemp production to rural areas

Oklahoma legislators are studying whether industrial hemp production would benefit rural development in the state. Growing hemp became legal in Oklahoma after Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s classification of marijuana and declassified hemp as a Schedule I narcotic.

While there was a lot of initial interest in 2018, Oklahoma has seen a decline in interest from potential growers since then, according to Kenny Naylor, the director of Consumer Affairs for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

“Unfortunately, our numbers have gone way down,” Naylor told the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. “In 2018, everybody wanted to grow hemp.” As of this year, Oklahoma has 21 licensed hemp growers and 22 licensed hemp processors.

Aside from a saturation of the CBD market and limited processing ability, which have both cooled the interest in growing hemp, according to Naylor, other factors were a matter of bad timing.


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