This just in: the bill to legalize hemp production in Maryland has passed the General Assembly! Governor Hogan is expected to sign the bill, and then the Department of Agriculture will need to create regulations to allow for growing.
Thanks to everyone who reached out to their representatives in Annapolis in support of this bill. Even just a few messages from constituents on issues such as this can make a real difference on the voting floor. You helped make this happen!
Here’s why we’re so excited about hemp production in Maryland:
- Hemp is good for the environment: Hemp requires little to no fertilizers or pesticides, improves soil health, reduces farm runoff that can pollute our waterways, and supports biodiversity.
- Hemp is good for farmers: Hemp is a fast-growing crop that performs well in our climate and can open up new markets for farmers. It also helps build nutrients in the soil so farmers need fewer fertilizers or other costly additives.
- Hemp is good for Maryland: Hemp production can bring new jobs to the state to grow and process the crop and manufacture it into goods.
In 2016, Fair Farms released a report that detailed the risks associated with the decreased agricultural diversity and increased “homogenization” of farm practices. The report, called “Diversifying the Agriculture Basket,” warns that we are putting all of our eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. By legalizing hemp production, we have added one more potential crop for farmers to grow in our state, which can reduce the problems caused by monoculture.
We owe tremendous thanks to Delegate David Fraser-Hidalgo, who has been working for years to legalize hemp, as well as the Abell Foundation that produced this excellent report dispelling common myths about hemp (no, it can’t get you high) and highlighting the promise for the crop in Maryland.
Let’s hear it for hemp in Maryland! Thank you for helping move the needle for a more sustainable and diverse food system in the state.