House Passes New Bipartisan Industrial Hemp Bill

House Passes New Bipartisan Industrial Hemp Bill

HB 530 Establishes the New Mexico Industrial Hemp Research & Development Fund

Santa Fe, NM – New Mexico has a second chance to join the booming industrial hemp marketplace. Tonight the House passed House Bill 530, sponsored by Representatives Bealquin “Bill” Gomez (D-La Mesa), Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque), Rick Little (R-Chaparral), and Nate Gentry (R-Albuquerque). This new bipartisan bill is a second attempt to open New Mexico to the industrial hemp marketplace following the Governor’s veto of two hemp bills earlier this session.

“Expanding into the vast industrial hemp market is a win-win for New Mexico,” said Rep. Gomez. “Not only is it a sustainable crop that is good for our environment, but the economic opportunities are endless, from cultivation to product development to marketing to manufacturing. This industry is a major job creator.”

“The hemp industry has been a booming success in at least thirty other states,” said Rep. Maestas. “We need to get our economy moving and this common-sense legislation would be a giant step forward for New Mexico’s farmers and entrepreneurs.”

Although hemp is the same species as marijuana, it contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent in marijuana. Often referred to as a sustainable “wonder crop,” hemp is extremely versatile.

Recent economic estimates suggest the American market for industrial hemp is at least $600 million per year.  Hemp requires minimal fertilizer or water to grow, making it perfect for New Mexico’s dry climate.  It thrives just about anywhere, and is a low-cost, low-effort crop.

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 have passed laws creating hemp pilot studies and/or hemp production.

Grown in three harvestable components—fiber (stalk), grain, and floral material—hemp can be used in a variety of products, including cloth, paper, construction materials, carpet, foods and beverages, body care products, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and biofuel.