America’s hemp industry is growing, no pun intended. Hemp cultivation was completely prohibited for many decades, but thanks to a provision in a 2013 farming bill (signed by Obama in 2014), states are allowed to cultivate hemp under certain conditions. Since that time farmers in states like Colorado and Kentucky have been planting more and more hemp. Kentucky is expected to triple production of industrial hemp this year.
One state that will unfortunately not be cultivating hemp in the near future is New Mexico. New Mexico’s current Governor vetoed a hemp legalization bill back in 2015, and had already vetoed a hemp legalization bill earlier this session in New Mexico. Yet another hemp legalization bill came across her desk recently, and as with the other two, she vetoed it. Per Santa Fe New Mexican:
Gov. Susana Martinez on Saturday vetoed another bill that would have established a research program for industrial hemp, a measure that legislators of both parties said could create enormous business opportunities for New Mexico’s farmers.
Martinez offered no explanation for her decision, which she announced in a brief statement.
Her veto of Senate Bill 6, sponsored by Sen. Cisco McSorley, D-Albuquerque, came only three days after she vetoed a more sweeping bill on hemp research authored by members of the House of Representatives.
According to the article, Governor Martinez stated after the 2015 veto that she vetoed the bill because of fears that law enforcement wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana, and that people could theoretically hid marijuana plants in hemp fields. That argument is deficient in many ways, the most obvious of which is that marijuana does not look like hemp when its growing, and hemp would cross pollinate the marijuana plants, rendering them useless for the purpose of getting consumers ‘high.’ It looks like New Mexico will have to wait until Governor Martinez is out of office before legal hemp cultivation becomes a reality in New Mexico. Governor Martinez’ term runs out at the end of 2018.