MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries said more than 2,000 acres of industrial hemp was planted in 2019 in the state.
Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis plant and is in the same family as marijuana. Advocates say hemp is used for other uses which include clothing and car parts.
It is growing in Alabama comes after Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill which deemed hemp an agricultural commodity.
The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries created a program that allows certain people to grow and process hemp. They approved more than 180 growers in Alabama.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about hemp. A lot of people think that it is totally deregulated and anyone can grow it. People need to know it’s not the case. It is still regulated," said Alabama Department of Agriculture Plant Pet Administrator Christel Stewart.
Stewart said there are regulations for those who want a license. The agriculture department says they have been testing fields around the state to make sure people are not growing plants that contain more than 0.3 percent THC.
Gordon Faulk is investing in a hemp farm in Autaugaville. Gordon is not the licensed grower of the farm but he has a license to process hemp in Alabama.
“It is the Wild Wild West," he said. "We’re all on a learning curve.”
Faulk said the grower he helps is still learning how to successfully plant hemp in the state.
“Occasionally you’ll see a dry plant," Faulk said.
Faulk said the grower wants to use the hemp for CBD oil.
Applications for people who want to grow hemp in 2020 are available. They are available until Nov. 14.