North Carolina farmers gained the right this week to grow industrial hemp when Gov. Pat McCrory declined to veto Senate Bill 313, which legalized the plant’s industrial cultivation.
McCrory, who had until midnight on Oct. 31 to veto the bill, also signed a law in July permitting doctors to offer CBD oil for patients with epilepsy. A House committee rejected a proposal to legalize medical marijuana in March, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The news bodes well for Hemp Inc., one of the nation’s only facilities that processes hemp to sell to textile manufacturers and other users. The plant, in Spring Hope, N.C., is near ready to start production.
Hemp Inc. officials have said the facility will cater to small farmers instead of large mega farms. Some 200 people are expected to be employed there.
Observers forecast there will be about 1,200 acres of hemp crops in the state within two years.
Under the new law, the recently created North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association must raise $200,000 to create a state Industrial Hemp Commission, which will regulate the crop, according to the Observer.
North Carolina is the 20th state to allow some form of legal hemp production.