Interested in Planting Hemp in Arizona? Know the Risks.
Guest post by Gigi Rock, President, Arizona Hemp Industries State Chapter
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized growing industrial hemp in the U.S. (and thereby, Arizona!) by excluding it from the definition of marijuana. The Farm Bill also expanded the definition to include seeds, all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids (including Cannabidiol (CBD)), isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers.
With the passage of Senate Bill 1003, the Industrial Hemp Program became effective May 31, 2019. You can now apply for a license from the Arizona Department of Agriculture, who manages the oversight and compliance of the program.
So, you’re interested in planting hemp in Arizona? Here’s what you need to know:
Get Your License. Anyone can register to become a certified Hemp Grower with the Arizona Department of Agriculture. To acquire an industrial hemp license, a valid fingerprint clearance card is required. Learn more and begin your application here.
Check Your County Laws. Does your county in Arizona approve? You might be state licensed, but does the county you want to grow in allow hemp growers? Each county in Arizona is different and different rules apply.
Choosing Your Plant… Where do you get your seeds or clones from? Are the people who sold you seeds or clones responsible for failure to grow in Arizona or are farmers taking risks just planting seeds/clones from other states? This is perhaps the most important question, as there are not yet varieties of hemp that are proven to do well in our Arizona environment.
“We’re all excited about the future of hemp in Arizona“, says Gigi Rock, President of the Arizona Hemp Industries State Chapter, “but we’ve got to ensure farmers are getting good quality seed that will do well here in Arizona. Right now we don’t know what varieties will thrive here, let alone survive, and we don’t want farmers throwing away their live savings on seeds that aren’t desert-adapted.”
Test your environment. Just like you know with any of your crops, you will need to test your water and soil.
Consider Your Investment. In addition to your seed-sourcing, how will you control and monitor the THC levels in your crops to ensure they stay below the mandated minimum?
What are Arizona farmers are saying about hemp?
Paul Ollerton of Casa Grande is optimistic, but starting small. From Cronkite News: https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2019/05/09/arizona-industrial-hemp/
Neil Brooks of Abby Lee Farms is eager to make the switch. From AZ Family: https://www.azfamily.com/news/legal-hemp-production-starts-friday-in-az-farmer-says-it/article_044d1e5a-80f2-11e9-90aa-8b06d093a14a.html
For a complete FAQ on Industrial Hemp Production in Arizona, click here.
About the Arizona Hemp Industries State Chapter
AZHIA is a non-profit trade association of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). The goal is to provide support to state hemp farmers & businesses in the interest of developing a successful state hemp industry. As a member of the HIA, the chapter’s priority is to keep producers up-to-date & informed on all issues involving hemp industries. Awareness & advocacy are key to our success. We are facilitators of the exchange of information and technology for the Arizona community.
The Arizona Chapter was founded in 2018 by Gigi Rock, current President of the Association. In 2019, a Board of Directors and Executive Director were put into place. For more support, contact Gigi Rock at email@example.com or Lee Mill, Executive Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have questions regarding the Industrial Hemp Program or the licensing process, please contact Arizona Department of Agriculture’s Brian McGrew, at 602-542-3228 or email@example.com.