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Industrial Hemp Grows in VA

Virginia Tech

A new state law ends Virginia’s restriction on growing Hemp in the commonwealth. Several states have already passed laws allowing hemp cultivation and sale. And even as Virginia joined them this week, it continues to classify the move as a ‘research project’ that has certain requirements attached.

In colonial times, the hemp plant was so important to Virginia, that farmers here were required to grow it. Advocates for industrial hemp say it could be just as important today for everything from fiber and feed to bio-fuel and health supplements ,such as CBD oil.  For the last couple of years, four universities in the state have been granted the right to grow hemp under controlled test conditions for research. Now the new law adds a second, potentially much larger research project that's open to anyone who wants to grow hemp in the state.

This one is administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and cCnsumer Services. VDACS Spokeswoman, Erin Williams says growers must register with her department, and report their results at the end of the growing season.

“The growers would submit on the application, information on the goals of their research, a description of their research, the varieties of plants they plan to work with, and what they plan to do with the crop.”  Williams adds, this is “Just so we have an idea of who the participants are in the research.” 

Some of these rules could change if a proposed federal law, now under consideration passes.  A provision of the 2018 farm bill would require states that want to over see state projects that grow hemp, to submit their plans to the US Department of Agriculture. Another provision would remove hemp from the list of controlled substances.  

For information about registering to become a hemp grower, click here.

Robbie Harris is based in Blacksburg, covering the New River Valley and southwestern Virginia.
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