SB 516, or the “Hemp Bill”, was signed into law last week by Governor Holcomb. Hemp will be commercialized for 2020 with license applications opening later this year, a requirement for all hemp growers.
He adds that we are still in research mode for 2019 as the amount of research licenses increased significantly from 6 people in 2018 to approximately 100 in 2019. That equates to a jump in acreage from 15 acres in 2018 to nearly 3,000 now. Waltz said those who have research licenses for 2019 will be able to profit from this year’s crop.
“We cannot, and will not, be issuing commercial licenses this year. So, if you’re wanting to get into it just simply to grow a good crop, and that’s a good reason to get in, but that’s a 2020 activity. Legally we cannot do that.”
Waltz told HAT that, based on trends from other states, he is anticipating perhaps 700-1,000 commercial licenses will be distributed for 2020. He says that number will likely decline after a couple of years after growers decide if it’s worth doing it.
“The whole cropping issue, whether you’re raising it for oil and CBD or whether you’re raising it for fiber, the infrastructure for both of those market streams are not well developed yet. So, there’s a lot of work that needs to go up front for a grower to actually get their crop into a place that can be sold.”
Waltz, again, expressed the importance of having a buyer in place. He said that he and the advisory committee will hopefully meet in the coming weeks to begin putting rules in place for the 2020 growing season. Federal guidelines are expected in the fall and adjustments will be made to those state rules, if necessary, based on the federal guidelines.