Report by Paula Antolini, September 9, 2019, 8:06PM EDT
NEWS / STATE
9-5-19 (LEDYARD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the State of Connecticut has licensed 82 hemp growers, 2 processors, and 21 manufacturers under a new pilot program he signed into law this spring allowing for the cultivation, harvesting, processing, and manufacturing of hemp plants and by-products in the state. In total, there are currently 294 acres of land being used to grow hemp in Connecticut.
The governor made the announcement during a visit in Ledyard to Town Farm, one of the many small businesses across the state that are participating in the program. He said the program is creating more business opportunities for the state’s agricultural industry.
“Our administration is committed to efforts that will strengthen our agricultural economy and create jobs, and do so in a responsible manner by offering a competitive market to thousands of our state’s farmers,” Governor Lamont said. “Since we launched this hemp program, we’ve developed great partnerships with these farmers – some of whom have been in the industry for many years and are diversifying their agricultural opportunities with hemp, and other who are first-timers and have become attracted to this new and growing market. I’m excited about the opportunities this program is creating.”
The legislation, Public Act 19-3, was approved in both chambers of the General Assembly by unanimous, bipartisan votes and quickly signed into law by Governor Lamont on May 9 with the intent of enacting the program in time for the fast approaching hemp-growing season.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (DOAG), which is responsible under the act for licensing the growers and processors, had the program up and running within one week and launched an online portal – available at www.ctgrown.gov/hemp – giving interested growers an opportunity to submit applications for licenses. The pilot program requires DOAG to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp by licensed entities in Connecticut. In accordance with federal law, the state agency is responsible for ensuring that the production is only taking place at sites certified by, and registered with, the state.
“It’s exciting to be able to offer a new opportunity and market for Connecticut farmers to participate,” DOAG Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt said. “There has been a lot of engagement and collaboration with partners and farmers across the state, and it’s great to celebrate the first growing season with all of the partners today.”
The act requires the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) to license manufacturers of hemp products for human consumption.
“The Department of Consumer Production is looking forward to supporting this emerging industry while ensuring products manufactured in our state protect the health and safety of the public,” DCP Commissioner Michelle Seagull said.
“While we were well-informed and well-researched on the benefits of creating a hemp industry, seeing it come to fruition and gaining momentum in Connecticut is beyond words,” State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) said. “I have been touring farms across the state and their progress is truly remarkable. There is a sense of hope and excitement over this crop with great reason. The beneficial uses of hemp are seemingly endless. I am grateful for the hard work of fellow legislators, such as Senator Osten, the Connecticut Farm Bureau, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Consumer Protection, UConn, our federal delegation, and Governor Lamont who were all at the table working to ensure this bill’s passage. The future is bright for this industry.”
VIEW VIDEO of Connecticut’s Hemp Production Pilot Program Seeing Results HERE.