Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: April 24, 2018
Sen. Lonnie Paxton
New law to allow Oklahoma farmers to grow hemp
Paxton applauded Gov. Fallin for signing legislation Tuesday
to help grow Oklahoma’s agriculture industry by allowing farmers
to grow industrial hemp. House Bill 2913, by Sen. Paxton, Rep. Jon
Echols and Rep. Mickey Dollens, creates the Oklahoma Industrial
Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program.
“Currently, Oklahoma can import hemp but can’t grow
it. This will help diversify our state’s struggling economy
and will provide a tremendous boost to the agriculture industry,”
said Paxton, R-Tuttle. “This new industry will potentially
create thousands of jobs and put hundreds of millions of dollars
a year into our economy. There’s a strong possibility that
it could easily become a $1 billion industry.”
The new law will allow universities or farmers contracting with
universities to cultivate certified hemp crops for research and
development for industrial uses. The Department of Agriculture,
Food, and Forestry will manage the program. A revolving fund will
also be created for all registration, lab, and inspection fees paid
by program participants.
Hemp is the strongest natural fiber in the world and has been found
to have more than 50,000 uses including rope, clothes, food, paper,
textiles, plastics, insulation and biofuel. Being a weed, it is
drought tolerant taking one-third the amount of water of alfalfa.
The benefits of cultivating this plant is that it can yield 3-8
dry tons of fiber per acre per year, which is four times what an
average forest can yield and it does not require chemicals such
as pesticides or herbicides. Hemp could yield Oklahoma farmers as
much as $1,500 per acre.
The new law, which went into effect upon being signed, was made
possible by the Agricultural Act of 2014 allowing the growing of
hemp under pilot programs overseen by universities. Nearly 40 other
states already have industrial hemp programs.
For more information:
Sen. Paxton: (405) 521-5537