New law helps CT hemp farmers grow their business

Connecticut

KILLINGWORTH, Conn. (WTNH)– The state’s newest budding industry has gotten a boost. Tuesday, Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill into law which puts state standards for hemp growers in line with federal regulations.

The aroma as soon as you walk into the front door of Running Brook Farms makes it clear what one of the crops they’ve been growing all summer long is. 

“We use this warehouse and this trellis system to dry our 2020 hemp crop,” explained Farm Manager Becky Goetsch.

The Killingworth farm was just the fourth of 170 hemp growers to be licensed by the state. 

“We had a great year,” said Goetsch.

About 1,500 plants grown in two greenhouses now hang after harvesting and this budding business is now about to get a boost.

On Tuesday, Governor Ned Lamont signed House Bill 7003 into law which allows hemp growers to go from being part of a pilot program into an industry in line with USDA regulations.

Congressman Joe Courtney, (D) Connecticut has fought on the federal level for these farmers and says the effort started in 2014 hemp was taken off the schedule one narcotics list.

“To see a processing facility is really like a cherry on top,” said Cong. Courtney.

The bill was signed at Lasa Extract which manufactures CBD oil in Suffield. 

“We hope to be the mega center of the hemp industry here in New England,” said Lasa Extract owner Rick Sotil, who started the business with his wife Valentina.

Growers say more manufacturers are needed and hope this bill will encourage that.

“There’s far more hemp being grown than can be processed,” said Goetsch.

She also produces some of her own products.

While the bigger buds can be sold whole, Goetsch uses the smaller ones found a little further up on the stem for her teas and pre-rolled joints because they’re just not as perfect.

And either is the hemp industry right now. 

“For example, my Square system doesn’t allow me to sell CBD products and Spotify, I mean Shopify, as well,” said Goetsch.

But she believes now having industry standards could help. 

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