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Commerce Department Looking to Encourage Hemp Industry Growth

Byron Clark

Oklahoma is set to begin full-scale commercial hemp growing this year, and there could be tax credits available for companies that want to process the crop.

Oklahoma Department of Commerce Executive Director Brent Kisling said they’ve taken a close look at state and federal laws.

"We have determined that incentive programs can go to assist with hemp processing as long as it is something that is completely separated from a medical marijuana processing facility," Kisling said.

Oklahoma launched a hemp pilot program in 2018 and passed legislation in 2019 allowing full-scale growing to start this year. Industrial hemp can be used in products like paper, cosmetics and construction materials.

"We need a lot more markets for that product here in the state. Panhandle would probably be a great place for something like that," Kisling said.

In order for a variety of cannabis to legally be considered hemp, it must contain less than 0.3% THC, the plant’s psychoactive compound.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.