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Arizona hemp production could start earlier than thought

Senator Sonny Borrelli is working to jumpstart Arizona's new hemp industry, moving the date to begin production from August 2019 to May 2019. This week Senator Borrelli filed SB 1003 (industrial hemp; licensing; effective date), which would allow farmers to start planting more than two months earlier.

"We want to make sure we start growing the first hemp crop in its growing season," said Senator Borrelli, a Republican from Lake Havasu City. "This is a $500 million industry. It's time Arizona is a part of it."

The 2018 Farm Bill just approved by the U.S. Congress makes it clear that hemp is a different product than marijuana, and it allows for the sale and processing of the plant. Senator Borrelli's SB 1098, signed by the Governor after the legislative session earlier this year, put in place hemp production in Arizona, with proper licensing and regulation.

Growing hemp is also getting new attention because of ongoing concerns over our drought and future water supplies. It takes a third of the water to grow hemp as it does to grow cotton in our state.

It was more than two years ago that Senator Borrelli first saw the opportunity for Arizona to benefit from a vibrant hemp industry. "More than half the states in America have pursued hemp legislation. With our perfect growing conditions in Arizona, there's no reason we can't be the nation's leader in hemp production."

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