If Signed, How Narrow Will New Mexico Interpret Hemp Law?

One of the rare bills that cruised through both chambers of the state Legislature this session would allow the state to grow hemp for research purposes. 

Based on how the state Department of Agriculture interprets the legislation, New Mexico farmers still may not be able to grow the plant for a while. Jessica Gelay, a policy coordinator with Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico, says that based on her reading of the bill, nothing would prevent the Department of Agriculture, which is housed at New Mexico State University, from being able to contract with private farmers to grow hemp, so long as its tied to research purposes. 

But Gelay says that during committee discussions, lawmakers spoke about only allowing the department to grow hemp. 

"Certainly the discussions did not indicate they'd be licensing anyone but New Mexico State University," Gelay says.

The bill, which currently sits on the governor's...

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