Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1409, a bill authored by state Sen. Scott Wilk, into law Monday morning, which updates California’s current law to allow farmers in the state to produce non-intoxicating hemp for commercial and industrial uses.
“This is a big win for our local farmers, and it’s going to revolutionize agriculture,” Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said Monday.
Industrial hemp uses less water than other crops and needs little to no pesticides and is used in over 25,000 different products, he said.
“Just last night, I got a text from a local farmer who is converting his fields to local hemp,” he said. “I heard from a battery manufacturer (who uses hemp fiber in battery production) who secured a 15,000-square-foot building, thanks to the bill.”
Industrial hemp is an agricultural crop that is grown and processed throughout the world for thousands of consumer and food products, including alternatives to fossil fuel and wood products, according to a news release.
SB 1409 brings California’s hemp laws up-to-date by allowing the pilot program to proceed as intended and by updating the definition of industrial hemp to reflect the difference between it and cannabis. The federal government also has initiated similar efforts to update industrial hemp laws by removing the product from the federal controlled substances list.
The legislation in Congress, if successful, will complement Wilk’s legislation.
“We had been working this really hard with the department and administration on this,” he said. “This will be a boon for California’s economy and local farmers.”