OKLAHOMA CITY – Even though a bill that legalizes the production of industrial hemp in Oklahoma was signed into law, one Oklahoma university says it will not participate in the pilot program at this time.
“We know Oklahoma has to diversify our economy. We need new and recurring revenue and this does both,” State Rep. Mickey Dollens, D-Oklahoma City, told News 4 in November. “Oklahoma is prime real estate for the production of industrial hemp. Our farmers can grow it, they can do well. Our citizens can buy new products that can be made from this, it can be taxed.”
House Bill 2913, which creates the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Agricultural Pilot Program, would allow universities and colleges in the state to grow the crop for research.
The measure passed out of the House and Senate before it was signed into law by Gov. Fallin in April.
Now, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry is accepting applications for the Oklahoma Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.
Oklahoma universities and colleges with a a plant science curriculum are eligible to apply for an annual license to grow industrial hemp for research.
On Thursday, Oklahoma State University announced that it has not applied for a license and does not plan to apply for a license at this time.
“Anyone inquiring about growing under an OSU license should be informed that we are not taking applications for subcontractors for the 2018 growing season,” Tom Coon, vice president of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, said. “We will be taking the next six months to develop our strategy to ensure the best possible outcome for Oklahoma hemp growers in the future.”