Christine Cohen

State Senator

Christine Cohen

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Listening, Advocating & Getting Results

May 10, 2019

Governor Signs Cohen-Supported Legislation to Create a Hemp Industry in Connecticut

HARTFORD, CT – State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) applauded Governor Ned Lamont’s signing into law a piece of legislation which will create an industrial hemp industry in Connecticut. Sen. Cohen, who co-chairs the Environment Committee, has championed this legislation and said she is excited for the possibilities a hemp industry will bring the state’s farmers and economy.

“I am thrilled Governor Ned Lamont signed this important bill into law,” said Sen. Cohen. “Connecticut will soon join other states that are reaping the benefits of industrial hemp. This new industry will strengthen our economy, while providing lucrative opportunities for the agriculture and manufacturing industry. This is great for our state and I look forward to all the ways Connecticut’s economy will grow thanks to this cash crop.”

State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) agreed with Sen. Cohen’s sentiments. Sen. Osten has been an early supporter of creating a hemp industry in Connecticut. She said she has spoken to many area farmers about their desire to grow industrial hemp in Connecticut. Sen. Osten’s district encompasses many of the 436,000 acres of arable land in Connecticut.

“I’m very happy to see our hemp bill signed into law by the governor; it will allow farmers to plant and grow a crop beginning this summer, and that’s a game-changer for the Connecticut agricultural community,” said Sen. Osten, an early proponent of legalizing hemp production in Connecticut. “Hemp is a billion-dollar industry in America that only has room to grow. I anticipate our new hemp law will help the large agricultural community in eastern Connecticut and maybe even replace some of the tobacco crops that have fallen out of production in recent years.”

State Representative Mike Demicco (D-Farmington) also co-chairs the Environment Committee and applauded the efforts of all those involved in getting this important piece of legislation signed into law. He said the possibilities a hemp industry will bring to Connecticut are endless.
“This bill is particularly important and serves as the gateway for farmers to grow, produce and sell hemp, which has many practical commercial applications,” said Rep. Demicco.

Senate Bill 893 will require the Department of Agriculture (DoAg) Commissioner, Bryan P. Hurlburt, to adopt regulations establishing an industrial hemp pilot program in accordance with federal law. The pilot program will study the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp in Connecticut and ensure hemp growth and cultivation only takes place at sites certified by, and registered with, DoAg.

In 2014, Public Act 15-202 legalized an industrial hemp pilot program authorized under the 2014 farm bill. This legislation establishing a pilot program in Connecticut will jumpstart the process and positions our state to reap the benefits of industrial hemp as soon as possible. Commissioner Hurlburt said an industrial hemp industry will be a lifeline for the state’s agricultural economy.

“We thank Governor Lamont and the General Assembly for moving this important piece of legislation – in a bipartisan manner – to open up and create new opportunities for farmers,” said Commissioner Hurlburt. “Today is an exciting day for our state and our farming community. Hemp has the potential to stabilize the agricultural economy and attract new farmers to the industry while providing consumers with a locally grown product that is in high demand. The Department of Agriculture looks forward to working with our potential growers.”

Commissioner Hurlburt added that individuals with questions on moving forward with hemp growing and processing can email DoAg at or call (860) 713 -2502.

A hemp industry will be incredibly advantageous to Connecticut’s economy. It is estimated that an acre of hemp could generate 500 to 1,500 pounds of dried flowers per acre, generating gross revenues of $37,500 to $150,000 per acre. The Hemp Industries Association notes that U.S. retail sales of hemp products totaled nearly $700 million in 2016. Gov. Lamont said this cash crop will benefit the state immensely.

“This legislation will strengthen our efforts to grow our agricultural economy and create jobs, and do so in a responsible manner by opening a competitive market to thousands of Connecticut’s farmers,” Gov. Lamont said. “With this program, farmers will have the opportunity to bolster their profits with hemp, and veteran and first-time farmers alike will be attracted to a new and growing market that will offer crop diversification, increased revenue, and expertise in an expanding field. I applaud both chambers of the General Assembly for their unanimous, bipartisan support of this legislation. If we truly want to give an economic boost to our state’s farms, this is something we should all support.”

Hemp has been grown for centuries for use in clothes, paper, and rope. According to the Congressional Research Service, there are over 25,000 different uses for industrial hemp, including fibers, textiles, paper, construction and insulation materials, cosmetic products, animal feed, food and beverages and a local hemp industry would fulfill a demand for locally produced CBD oil. CBD is currently being used to alleviate some epileptic conditions and the FDA recently approved a new medicine, Epidiolex. The Connecticut Hemp Association estimates more than 100 Connecticut farmers are interested in planting hemp.

Prior to getting Gov. Lamont’s signature, SB 893 passed the state House of Representatives, state Senate and Environment Committee by unanimous and bipartisan votes.