Hemp production in Georgia on hold until funding secured
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s hemp farming program is effectively on hold until the state secures funding to oversee the crop.
Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said Tuesday that he’ll ask lawmakers for $1.6 million over the next two years to fund a state hemp program, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The oversight program is required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture before state hemp regulations can be approved.
But the funding request comes as lawmakers face tough decisions over how to trim the state budget amid a revenue downturn. No funding was appropriated for the crop when the legislature voted to allow hemp farming last year.
House Appropriations Chairman Terry England said House budget writers would work with Black and others “to see what we can do to resolve the issue in a timely manner.”
Black said that if funding were approved by March, Georgia farmers could plant in time for this year’s growing season.
The money would fund two field inspectors, two administrators, an enforcement officer, four four-wheel drive vehicles, training and computers, the newspaper reported.
Black said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has already reviewed the state’s hemp farming proposal and could approve it within days of the legislature approving funding.
Hemp is used to make CBD, the suddenly popular compound extracted from the cannabis plant. Marketers say it can treat a range of ailments without getting users high.