RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — A bill legalizing the production and sale of hemp was approved by legislators on Wednesday only two days before hemp was set to become illegal in North Carolina.
The bill is now headed to the desk of Gov. Roy Cooper for his expected signature.
Senate Bill 455 was passed by a 41 to 2 vote in the NC Senate. The bill removes hemp permanently from NC’s list of controlled substances but does not legalize marijuana. A medical marijuana bill passed in the NC Senate and is currently stalled in the House.
Hemp products have been legally available in North Carolina since 2015 when the state passed the hemp pilot program bill, which offers an exemption, but that program was set to expire at the end of June.
Hemp is commonly used to produce CBD health products in NC, and there are thousands of hemp-based products sold in North Carolina. They range from CBD products at specialty stores to hemp products in pet stores and supermarkets.
About 1,500 hemp growers and more than 1,200 processors in North Carolina have set up in the Tar Heel State.