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Hemp - Potential Boon to New Mexico

Hemp - Potential Boon to New Mexico

Besides the opportunity it presents to positively impact New Mexico’s economy, hemp is a multi-use crop with substantial benefits for the environment.  Hemp is versatile; its fiber and seeds are harvested for everything from milk and oil, to biofuel, paper products, and textiles.1

It’s estimated hemp will grow into a $2.6 billion business by 2022, and with the passage of New Mexico House Bill 581 industrial hemp is now a legally regulated crop in New Mexico.2  Hemp is a sustainable crop, less impactful on our natural resources, requiring less water and energy than traditional crops such as cotton, and is naturally pest-resistant.3

To cultivate and harvest hemp, farmers must be licensed and meet stringent growing guidelines, including limiting their plants’ delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration to no more than three-tenths of a percent (0.3%).4 THC is the compound in marijuana that causes a high. Since THC levels are strictly limited, hemp cannot be used recreationally as a drug. 

The New Mexico Environment Department offers resources, rules, and applications to entrepreneurs looking to invest in hemp cultivation.

As a non-profit financial co-op rooted in organic banking and permaculture, preserving and protecting the well-being of our members, our community, and our environment is at the heart of what we do. Connect with a member of our team, and we’ll help you realize your green business’ full potential.

Kawtar El Alaoui
Commercial Services Officer
Sandia Area Federal Credit Union



1Palmer, B. (2011, April 12). Hemp versus cotton: Which is better for the environment? Retrieved from https://slate.com/technology/2011/04/hemp-versus-cotton-which-is-better-for-the-environment.html.

2Baca, M. C. (2019, April 28). Opportunities are growing for hemp. Retrieved from https://www.abqjournal.com/1308093/opportunities-are-growing-for-hemp.html.

3Cherrett, N., Barrett, J., Clemett, A., Chadwick, M., & Chadwick, M. J. (2005). Ecological Footprint and Water Analysis of Cotton, Hemp and Polyester. Ecological Footprint and Water Analysis of Cotton, Hemp and Polyester. Stockholm: Stockholm Environment Institute. Retrieved from https://mediamanager.sei.org/documents/Publications/SEI-Report-EcologicalFootprintAndWaterAnalysisOfCottonHempAndPolyester-2005.pdf

4Olivia, (2019, March 19). Hemp Basics: What Acequia Farmers Should Know about the Hemp Renaissance in New Mexico. Retrieved from https://lasacequias.org/2019/03/19/hemp-basics-what-acequia-farmers-should-know-about-the-hemp-renaissance-in-new-mexico/.

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