In late May, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation proposed banning all smokable hemp flower, in addition to more stringent regulation of hemp processing and a host of other precautions. Those changes are now under consideration in the General Assembly, where they could be enacted as part of the N.C. Farm Act of 2019.
Last year, a handful of area farmers planted the first hemp crops to be grown legally in Western North Carolina in over 70 years. That first crop was plagued by delays introduced by regulators at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who held up shipments of seeds and seedlings, leading to a late start. Growers expect a smoother process for the 2018 growing season.