Massachusetts Opening Land for Cannabis Cultivation

Farming
  • The Department of Agricultural Resources in Massachusetts announced last week that more than 73,000 acres of farmland that was previously “protected” will now be open for hemp production.
  • The farmland that was being protected was part of a program from 1979 known as the Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program, which was designed to protect land for future agricultural use.
  • Despite marijuana’s legalization in the state, any land receiving federal funding will not be eligible for marijuana cultivation. No number has been provided on how many acres this affects.

The state of Massachusetts’ Department of Agricultural Resources announced last week that more than 73,000 acres of previously-protected farmland will be open for hemp and marijuana production.

The farmland was previously ruled as off-limits under the 1979 program known as the Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program, which was designed to protect farmland for future agricultural use. Landowners signed up for this program were previously unable to farm hemp and marijauna, despite their legality in the state (marijuana was legalized in 2016, and hemp cultivation in 2019).

However, as part of the Department’s “more expansive view of historical uses,” hemp production will now be allowed on the land.

This helps open the door for hemp producers in Massachusetts, as well as providing the CBD industry with a much-needed boost as it transitions to making room for marijuana and THC products. And thanks to specific sections of this program, hemp will be receiving most of the benefits of this change.

Despite marijuana’s legality in the state, it remains illegal at a federal level. As a result, any land receiving federal funding will still not be allowed to have marijuana grown there, and is subject to enforcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“While medical and adult-use marijuana has been legalized in Massachusetts, it remains illegal at the federal level,” the agency said. 

The number of acres affected by this stipulation has not been provided.

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