Alabama has approved applications from 180 farmers who want to grow hemp, and the first crop will be planted by April, said Alabama Department of Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate. “The people who have applied are serious farmers,” Pate said. “These are not people who have been growing marijuana.” A couple of applications that didn’t include the $100 application fee, or were not from qualified farmers, may have been rejected, Pate said. “There may been one or two who wanted to grow it in their backyard,” Pate said. “That’s not the intent.” Otherwise, no real farmers were turned down. The deadline to apply was by the start of March. “We approved all the legitimate applications,” Pate said. “Those notifications are going out this week.” Alabama also received about 70 applications from people wanting to have hemp processing operations, Pate said. “We ended up approving them all,” he said. “The idea was to keep out people who didn’t know what they were doing,” he said. The next step for farmers is to purchase hemp seed, which costs about $1,000, and plant it. “We have to give the certification to get the seed,” Pate said. “It can’t come into the state without a certification from us.” Although marijuana is a type of hemp, industrial hemp contains far smaller amounts of THC, the intoxicating substance in marijuana.
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