This summer has been a stressful one for North Carolina hemp growers and retailers. The North Carolina Hemp Pilot Program that provided hemp with temporary legal status in 2015 was to end June 30th of this year. Hemp growers alone numbered above 1,500 in NC during the pilot program, but with the end of the program, growing hemp would have once again been the same as growing marijuana - illegal.
Aside from growers, the expiration would affect hundreds of businesses that sell hemp and CBD products. Would thousands of dollars worth of inventory suddenly become illegal? Hemp advocates followed the story anxiously as the Farm Act (SB 762) negotiations stalled, between the House and senate, and only passed after hemp legalization was removed. With the deadline looming days away, hemp legalization was introduced in a separate bill (SB 455). The bill passed the Senate 41-2 June 29, and was signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper the next day.
Cooper said, “Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry, and giving North Carolina farmers certainty that they can continue to participate in this growing market is the right thing to do for rural communities and our economy.”
SB 455 removes hemp from the controlled substance act. Now North Carolina's hemp industry can continue to grow without the uncertainty it's lived under.