Gov. Baker’s office strings hemp farmers along
While recreational weed seems to be ready to lurch into being this summer, the state’s hemp crop so far is a nonstarter. The problem isn’t mold or bugs. It’s Charlie Baker. And farmers like Linda Noel, who wants to grow hemp in Franklin, are at the end of their rope.
She reports: “The staff at the Department of Agriculture (MDAR) have worked for months drafting regulations for hemp production. They want farmers like me to be able to compete fairly with the farmers of Kentucky, Vermont, Texas, and the Carolinas who are already growing and producing hemp products.
“We were supposed to review the regulations in February, but when we got to the meeting, we couldn’t review the regulations because they were ‘being reviewed by higher-ups.’ In fact, the regulations have been stuck in Gov. Baker’s office since January. I suspect Mr. Baker supports Mr. Trump’s wish that hemp not be grown nationwide.
“We should have started our seedlings last month. We found a source of certified seed (from Oregon), but they won’t ship it to us without our license. And planting a single hemp seed without that license is a crime.
“After another 60 days it will be too late to plant hemp in Massachusetts, and we will have lost another year to the other states and the entire country of Canada, who are already outgrowing us.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Baker has taken an opportunity to hobble the hemp industry. He readily signed a bill passed in haste by a handful of legislators that required potential hemp farmers to get permission from their city or town—a requirement not made for any other agricultural product.
Now the governor appears to be running out the clock against Mother Nature to make sure the hemp industry doesn’t get off the ground. When Linda Noel looks at the fields she’s ready to plant with hemp, she sees food, cosmetics, textiles, medicine, and building materials.
Baker, apparently, sees a field of waving pot plants and a menace to society.