The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) approved 180 license applications to grow and process hemp on April 2, and on April 18, the list of names was released to the public. It provides a glimpse into the robust hemp industry that’s quickly forming in Alabama.
Only individuals who are approved by the ADAI can legally grow hemp in Alabama. While some hold multiple licenses, the list is comprised of 152 grower licenses, 59 processor licenses and five university licenses to cultivate, process and research hemp.
The state has been developing its pilot program to get the ball rolling. “We have had a significant interest in the Alabama Industrial Hemp Pilot Program from potential growers and processors since the availability of applications was announced in January,” Commissioner Rick Pate said. “The approval of applications and execution of license agreements is complete, and we are in the next phase of the program. We are encouraged after our initial meetings with the approved growers and processors that the first year of the pilot program will provide opportunities for the agriculture industry in Alabama.”
The Alabama Industrial Hemp Pilot Program will be subject to strict regulations. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, for instance, will have access to the GPS locations of all of the cultivation and processing facilities.
The 2018 Farm Bill established new leadership and policies surrounding hemp. The United States Department of Agriculture defines hemp as having less than 0.3 percent THC. “The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration is the distinguishing factor between industrial hemp and marijuana,” the department stated on its website. “Industrial hemp cannot have a THC concentration more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
It’s an exciting time for people who know the importance of hemp in American history, and how it can be processed into textiles, home building materials, oils and countless other products.