A new law signed by Gov. Mary Fallin on Tuesday will allow Oklahoma farmers to grow industrial hemp.
House Bill 2913, by Sen. Lonnie Paxton, Rep. Jon Echols and Rep. Mickey Dollens, creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program.
The law will allow universities or farmers contracted by universities to cultivate certified hemp crops for research and development for industrial uses.
“Currently, Oklahoma can import hemp but can’t grow it. This will help diversify our state’s struggling economy and will provide a tremendous boost to the agriculture industry,” said Paxton, R-Tuttle. “This new industry will potentially create thousands of jobs and put hundreds of millions of dollars a year into our economy. There’s a strong possibility that it could easily become a $1 billion industry.”
The benefits of cultivating the plant is that is can yield 3-8 tons of fiber per acre per year, four times the amount that an average forest can yield. It also does not require chemicals such as pesticides or herbicides.