CALS leads New York State’s efforts to reintroduce industrial hemp, marijuana’s long-suffering sister plant
For Cornell agriculture scientists, introducing a new research crop often has challenges. But those don’t usually include giving federal agents a tour of your seed cache—unless that crop is industrial hemp.
Two years ago, New York relaxed regulations that outlawed planting hemp, joining a nationwide movement to promote a cash crop long banned for its family resemblance to marijuana. Last spring, CALS was home to the first New York State Industrial Hemp Summit, where officials extolled the plant’s virtues and announced $400,000 in research and Extension funding for Cornell. Scientists will study how the plant performs in various soil types, assess resistance to disease, and identify insect pests. CALS has planted two trial plots in Ithaca and plans to plant another at the Geneva Ag Station.