The epicentre of global cannabis research is certainly not found in North Carolina. The southern state, in fact, is one of the many battlegrounds for legalization left in the United States…
However, the farm-based state economy would be a perfect place to grow this higher cash crop. NC farmers are still reeling from decades of tobacco legislation and falling sales. Not to mention in search of a replacement. Not only that, but industrial hemp was once grown here – about a hundred years ago.
Now, a prominent state university, NC State, is moving into some interesting territory.They began their first industrial hemp trial at a special research “growing station” in the mountains of North Carolina in June. Farmer/researchers are examining the most suitable crops and growing methods for the regional climate and soil.
By August, the results were clear and impressive. Not to mention the sign of ground-breaking change coming just about everywhere when it comes to all things cannabis.
According to Dr. Jeanine Davis, who has spearheaded the program so far, “The North Carolina industrial hemp program is ground-breaking because in the first year there were no limits on the number of growers or number of acres of industrial hemp that could be produced. If a grower met the qualifications (e.g., bone fide farmer, no criminal convictions), chose a research purpose, and agreed to follow the rules, he or she was provided a license to grow industrial hemp.”
What is unclear is the next steps taken by either the state to continue to move forward on developing the cannabis plant for industrial development. NC, as a result, is an interesting cannabis battleground.
The state politics of North Carolina are both southern and conservative. Drug use in general is frowned upon. However, the idea of a lucrative crop that can be used for industrial purposes is the kind of thing that is irresistible to the state’s farmers.
On top of this, the state has a high number of veterans and active soldiers. The issue of medical use of cannabis has been growing steadily for the past five or six years. Led primarily in fact, by state vets.
This trial in NC State, in other words, is highly significant for two very large groups of people who could easily move politicians to further legalize the plant in state. As Davis said, “NC State University has taken the lead in conducting research on the growing and processing of hemp. This involvement by faculty across multiple disciplines sends a clear message to farmers and the public that industrial hemp has the potential to be a major agronomic crop in the state.”[Image credit- Wikimedia.Commons]