After speedily proceeding through the North Carolina House and Senate, the industrial hemp bill — which called for a pilot program for hemp cultivation across the state — was legalized without Gov. McCrory’s signature as of Friday, Oct 30.
Press release from Governor Pat McCrory
Raleigh, N.C. – Governor Pat McCrory issued the following statements on his reasons for allowing two pieces of legislation to become law without his signature.
Senate Bill 313 – An act to recognize the importance and legitimacy of industrial hemp research, to provide for compliance with portions of the Federal Agricultural Act of 2014, and to promote increased Agricultural Employment.
“After discussion with Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, I have decided to allow Senate Bill 313 to become law without my signature. Despite the bill’s good intentions, there are legitimate concerns I would like to address.
“The legislation tasks a new commission to establish from the ground up a regulatory structure to reintroduce a crop to North Carolina. Although there is a clear intent to ensure this program supports agriculture and research goals, a strong regulatory framework to safeguard against abuse is critical to its success and the safety of North Carolinians.
“The commission will need significant time to address a number of issues including the protocol for testing of crops to ensure compliance, the availability of a certified seed for purchase in North Carolina, and the role of other federal regulatory agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Given that the federal authorization for these pilot programs is just over a year old, every state looking to or currently implementing this program will serve as a resource to North Carolina. We will need ample time to visit and learn best practices from other states.
“We want to ensure that farmers and researchers participating in this program are provided clear guidance to safeguard their investment of time, land, and money to produce this crop. We want to get this right.
“Agriculture is North Carolina’s top industry and this program has the potential to provide a new opportunity for many farmers in our state. I encourage members of the General Assembly to further study the regulatory needs of this program with the commission established by this bill, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, research institutions, our federal partners, and all North Carolinians.”
Senate Bill 670 – An act to limit members if the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to three terms, and to establish a process for selection of a president of the University of North Carolina.
“I have concerns with legislation claiming to provide transparency being passed in the dead of night and waning days of session. I will allow Senate Bill 670 to become law without my signature.
“While the intentions of this bill are commendable, I believe further discussion is needed on how best to encourage transparency in the Presidential search process. Another concern is to ensure the independence of the Board of Governors is maintained, particularly during the search for a new president. We have many years until the next search and therefore ample opportunity to debate the effect of this legislation.”