The move to legalize the production of hemp has investors in New Mexico racing to get a piece of what could be a multibillion-dollar industry.
The Albuquerque Journal reports New Mexican business leaders are hurrying to capture part of what cannabis market research firm New Frontier Data estimated will become a $2.6 billion industry nationwide by 2022.
Hemp, also known as industrial hemp, belongs to the cannabis species of plants like marijuana. The plants can appear nearly identical, but hemp varieties contain only trace amounts of psychoactive components and do not cause a high.
Hemp was legalized nationally in December with Congress’ passage of the Farm Bill.
New Mexico House Bill 581, passed during the recent legislative session, authorizes several agencies to regulate the industry here.