The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries approved 180 applications throughout the state to grow hemp, and over 50 more to process it. There are 16 approved applications in Madison County.
"Hemp can be used for a lot of things like clothing, just like cotton," Heather Gates said, who is optimistic about the growth of the hemp industry in Alabama. "I think it can help the industry around here."
In the state of Alabama, certain licensed businesses can grow, process, or study hemp. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries granted licenses to 152 hemp growers, 59 hemp processors, and 5 universities.
Hemp can be used to make many different products, including clothing, gasoline, shoes, and even car parts. The Madison District Attorney's Office and the Huntsville Police Department tell WAAY31 because this is so new to the state, they are unsure how it will impact law enforcement.
Hemp is still illegal to grow or process without a license. It is defined as containing less than 0.3% of THC, the chemical found in marijuana.
The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries tells WAAY31 to receive a license, a person must pay over $1000.
To find a list of people and businesses officially licensed by the state, click here.