NC Hemp bill signed into law
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – The hemp industry’s budding business will avoid a shutdown, just two days before it would have been illegal to produce or sell it in North Carolina.
The North Carolina General Assembly gave final approval of the bill in a 42 to 2 vote Wednesday, and Governor Roy Cooper signed it into law Thursday, which means hemp products will remain exempt from the state’s controlled substance law, which includes CBD products.
The news comes as a relief to local farmers, consumers, and retailers like Walt Fletcher who owns Hemp Restoration based out of Wilmington.
“There’s a stigma associated with marijuana and CBD,” he said.
Fletcher started growing hemp after he received a bad batch of CBD oil, and is relieved he can continue to produce the crop.
“I was diagnosed in 2010 with a central nervous system autoimmune disease,” he said. “So it’s been a long process, and it does help with excruciating pain.”
That Fletcher continues to deal with, and he is not the only person.
Cabbett Johnson was diagnosed in with breast cancer in 2018, she said chemo therapy was tough on her body.
“The chemo or the surgery didn’t remove it, the chemo didn’t kill it,” she said.
Cancer returned about seven months ago – she now turns to holistic medicine to treat her illness – including CBD products for her pain.
“I feel good I’m not sick, I don’t feel sick, my energy is pretty high,” she said. “The only issue, is I have a hard time walking.
In 2015, hemp was legalized through a pilot program but those laws expired at the start of 2022, handing over THC testing and other responsibilities from the state to the federal level.
According to Southeast Hemp Association’s Executive Director Blake Butler, the hemp industry needed a piece of legislation that matches federal laws.
“The State Senate passed it in the Farm Act, unfortunately, the North Carolina House took it out of the Farm Act,” said Butler. “So a stand-alone bill, Senate Bill 455 has passed, so hemp will remain legal in North Carolina moving forward, and hemp, and CBD products.”
In a Statement from Governor Roy Cooper Read, “Agriculture Is North Carolina’s largest Industry, and giving North Carolina farmers certainty that they can continue to participate in this growing market is the right thing to do for rural communities and our economy.”
Fletcher said he couldn’t be happier.
“I’m thrilled to death that there is an opportunity now for people to use the product and not have to worry about if the product is legal or not,” he said.
According to Butler, hemp products don’t have the same components as marijuana and contain no more than 0.3 percent of THC, which makes it legal.