Bills to Open New Mexico to Industrial Hemp Marketplace Advance
Bipartisan Committee Substitute Bill Combines Efforts to Establish the New Mexico Industrial Hemp Research & Development Fund
Santa Fe, NM – Today, in the House Labor and Economic Development Committee, three bills establishing regulations for an industrial hemp market in New Mexico were rolled together and passed unanimously. The new Committee Substitute combines bills sponsored by Rep. Bealquin “Bill” Gomez (D-La Mesa), Rep. Rick Little (R-Chaparral) and Antonio “Moe” Maestas. The bill allows for the New Mexico department of agriculture to regulate the growth of industrial hemp for research and development purposes, including agricultural, agronomic, ecological, processing, sales and marketing research.
“It is my prediction that in twenty years, hemp will be our second biggest cash crop here in New Mexico,” said Rep. Maestas.
“This bill is the definition of a no-brainer,” said Committee Chairman Bill McCamley (D-Mesilla Park). “Hemp is a high-value, low-water-use crop. It is perfect for New Mexico and our farmers should have the option to grow something that allows them to have better lives and employ more people.”
Hemp is the same species as marijuana, but contains little to no THC. Often referred to as a sustainable “wonder crop,” hemp can be used for a multitude of purposes.
Recent economic estimates suggest the U.S. market for industrial hemp is at a minimum $600 million a year. In 2014, the federal Farm Bill allowed states to grow hemp when partnering with their Departments of Agriculture or licensed universities. Since then, at least thirty states currently have passed laws creating hemp pilot studies and/or hemp production.
Hemp can be used in a variety of products including cloth, paper, construction materials, carpet, foods/beverages, body care products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and bio-fuel. Hemp can be grown in three harvestable components: fiber (stalk), grain, and floral material.
The new committee substitute bill now moves to the House Floor.