A look at industrial hemp as a crop in Alabama

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Current producers of industrial hemp have to be approved through the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industry. Production is strictly regulated to ensure that industrial hemp is grown for industrial purposes.

Interest in hemp production in Alabama has been growing for several years, initially spurred by the passage of our state’s 2018 Farm Bill that removed it as a controlled substance.  

Still, while the legalization of industrial hemp has led many producers to explore the crop for several different products, its production throughout the state remains relatively new. (This year marks the third growing season.) That means researchers still are developing best practices and recommendations. 

Additionally, while entirely distinct from industrial hemp, the recent passage of the medical marijuana law that created the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission and started the state down the path to legal medical cannabis, has continued to increase the profile of hemp production.  

Katelyn Kesheimer, Alabama Extension entomologist and leader of the hemp action team, said it is important to understand that hemp and marijuana are extremely different. While both are cannabis sativa, the plants have a major difference in chemical composition and have varied end usage. 



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