The Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) held its first Industrial Hemp Committee on Tuesday (Jan. 30) after 80 years of prohibition.
Committee members drafted a series of proposed regulations. These decisions mark the beginning of the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program that could bring production, development and commercialization of industrial hemp to the Natural State.
About 40 farmers, breeders and ancillary business representatives attended.
Mary Smith, author of the regulations and ASPB Seed Division Director, read through the proposed regulations. Committee members reviewed and approved a few motions to change minor details in the regulations before voting to approve the draft. Chairman Jerry Hyde, Bruce Alford, Russell Bragg, Robert Campbell, Matthew Marsh, and Barry Walls comprise the committee.
The ASPB and Smith were praised for developing the first-time regulations. During the drafting process, the ASPB reviewed other states’ programs for best practices, met with local businesses and took public comments. Tree of Life Seeds CEO and Director of Hemp Advancement at the Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, Jason Martin, commended the board’s efforts stating.
“The Arkansas State Plant Board and the Industrial Hemp Committee have been a pleasure to work with. Their comprehensive work and due diligence are building a Hemp program that will serve as a model for other states that will soon implement similar programs,” Martin said.