By SENATOR CISCO MCSORLEY (D-16-BERNALILLO)
I am pleased that my bill, Senate Bill 94 (SB 94), designed to help New Mexico lay the foundation for hemp industrialization, has passed the Senate and the first committee in the House of Representatives.
The U.S. Congress recently legalized hemp for research purposes in last year’s agricultural bill. SB 94 creates the New Mexico Industrial Hemp Research and Development Fund for the agricultural, agronomical, ecological, processing, sales and marketing research purposes of hemp growth. The research will be carried out by New Mexico State University (NMSU) and research funds will be collected by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA). Once the Federal Government fully legalizes hemp growth for all purposes, NMDA will already have established rules for hemp farming in the state, including requirements for licensure, training of law enforcement personnel, inspection, record keeping, and fees.
It should be noted that hemp is different from marijuana in that most of the psychoactive elements in marijuana are not contained in hemp, therefore rendering it harmless as a recreational drug.
The benefits that New Mexico would reap from the hemp industry are tremendous. Not only would our agricultural industry get a healthy boost, but it would also open up the doors to an industrial vitalization New Mexico desperately needs. New Mexicans are ready to work and this bill creates jobs.