Hemp exemption set to expire June 30; Future of hemp in North Carolina uncertain

SHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) – Hemp-based products are found all over North Carolina.

They’re legally allowed through an exemption in the state’s Hemp Pilot Program.

However, with the exemption set to expire on June 30, what does that mean for those in the business of hemp?

Moses Frazier owns Grateful Green Farms, and grows produce and plants, which includes hemp.

“Well primarily, right now we’re growing the hemp for the CBD,” he said. “There is a little bit — may be for concern, just the uncertainty.”

Moses Frazier has been growing hemp legally in North Carolina the day the Hemp Pilot Program bill passed in 2015.

According to Frazier hemp products sold in the state don’t have the same components as marijuana.

“Hemp is low THC, and what they consider marijuana is high THC,” he said. North Carolina hemp products cannot contain more than .3 percent of THC.

At the start of the year state hemp farming laws expired – handing over THC testing among other responsibilities from the North Carolina Agriculture Department to the federal level.

With the state’s exemption laws set to end June 30th, Frazier says he’s feeling a bit anxious.

“For some of the hemp farmers, like maybe they’ll get excluded from the industry, so that’s probably the anxiety in it all.”

The executive of the Southeast Hemp Association is Blake Butler. He said it will be business as usual come July 1.

“There are a few things left over from the pilot program from 2015 that need to be fixed to get in line with federal law,” he said.

Butler says the legislative fix will be made in May so that state and federal law match when it comes to the definitions of hemp and marijuana.

“I’m a thousand percent confident that it’s going to be done; every legislator has said to me they do not have the appetite to hurt the hemp industry,” he said. “They are focused too in working alongside with us and getting it fixed as soon as possible.”

The General Assembly is expected to return May 18.

WWAY reached out to a couple of local lawmakers for comment but they were not available in time for publication.

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