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Sweeney Speaks on State’s Emerging Industrial Hemp Industry at State Agriculture Convention

From left: Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Doug Fisher, New Jersey Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblyman John Armato.

Senate President Steve Sweeney spoke at the State Agricultural Convention last week, expressing his commitment and dedication to New Jersey’s agriculture sector as well as his hopes for the emerging industrial hemp industry in the state, calling hemp the next major cash crop for the Garden State.

“The agricultural industry has always been a vital facet of our state’s economy and culture,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Our state was one of the first states to receive USDA authorization for industrial hemp production and with over 25,000 uses for hemp, this is sure to be a boon not only for farmers but for creating jobs, expanding industries and invigorating our economy. Now that the funding has been released and thanks to the leadership of Secretary Doug Fisher, I am sure hemp will reshape agriculture in New Jersey for years to come.”

The NJ Hemp Farming Act, legalizing hemp production in New Jersey, was signed into law in August 2019. Previously hemp production was limited to academic or agricultural research. The FY2020 budget included $500,000 in appropriations for the implementation of the new law. Industrial hemp is used in a wide variety of products including textiles, construction materials, and foodstuffs. Hemp is typically cultivated for fiber, seeds, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. There are over 25,000 reported uses for industrial hemp products globally according to a 2018 Congressional Research Service report. The fiber can be used for fabrics, yarn, or paper products. Seeds are often used in food products, soaps, and cosmetics.