Industrial Hemp Bill Goes to Governor’s Desk
HB 144 Establishes the New Mexico Industrial Hemp Research & Development Fund
Santa Fe – New Mexico could soon join the booming industrial hemp marketplace. House Bill 144, sponsored by Representatives Bealquin “Bill” Gomez (D-La Mesa), Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque), and Rick Little (R-Chaparral), which establishes an industrial hemp research program in New Mexico, has passed both the House and Senate and is now headed to the Governor’s desk.
“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.”
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.