Rhode Island farmers will be able to begin applying for a hemp cultivation license on October 9. Hemp has dozens of uses from medicinal to industrial. Rhode Island farmers see this as an opportunity to increase profits and be included in the national movement to show the sustainability of hemp.
Norman Birenbaum helped create Rhode Island’s hemp regulations, according to the Providence Journal. He says that the doors have been opened for hemp and that it can become “a new industry”. The rules are complex, so the state is unsure how many farmers will apply to cultivate industrial hemp.
Birenbaum said, “I think the fastest-growing facet of the market…is based around the CBD products.”
To grow industrial hemp in Rhode Island, farmers must:
- Pay a $2,500 licensing fee
- Submit to a criminal background check
- Comply with required lab testing
- Ensure that the hemp does not contain more than 0.03% THC
- Participate in the tagging and tracking system to display how much is being sold
Matt Tracy of Red Planet Vegetable Farm said, “I don’t have to pay to grow corn or arugula, and neither of those get me high.”
Some farmers are grappling with the cost of cultivating hemp since it is an agricultural crop that comes with more rules than growing any other crop. Tracy is one of the farmers that may shy away from applying for a license – even after being approached by a CBD investor, due to the cost. Tracy also says that the security, packaging and labeling requirements may not be something that most farmers can comply with simply because they aren’t equipped to do so.
Sarah Partyka, the daughter of a turf farmer, said, “If it has both a medicinal purpose as well as something that would be a good crop for the land, we would definitely be interested in learning more about it.”