HARTFORD, CT — Lawmakers in Connecticut approved a bill Wednesday aimed legalizing industrial hemp cultivation in the state.
Once enacted, the bill will allow Connecticut to begin industrial hemp pilot and research programs through the Department of Agriculture and the state’s higher education institutions, in accordance with new federal regulations introduced last year.
The bill defines industrial hemp as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) on a dry weight basis.
Hemp products are already legal in the United States, but only if the hemp is imported from the more than 30 countries that legally grow it. Last year, members of Congress relaxed some federal restrictions on hemp cultivation by approving language in the omnibus federal Farm Bill that explicitly authorizes states to sponsor hemp research and pilot programs absent federal reclassification of the plant.
Over 20 states have adopted similar hemp laws.
In 2014 U.S. consumers purchased more than $640 million worth of hemp products, representing market growth of 3% since 2014.