Andy Peck wants to start growing hemp plants at his nursery in Dacula, but like many farmers across Georgia, he’s worried that government regulations will stifle the new industry before it starts.
Peck wouldn’t be allowed to sell hemp to anyone except processing companies, which don’t exist yet in Georgia. He couldn’t ship his product outside Georgia, but out-of-state producers could bring their hemp here. With such an uncertain market, Peck doesn’t know whether hemp would even be profitable.
Since Georgia lawmakers legalized hemp farming earlier this year, Peck and 71 other people have submitted public comments to the state Department of Agriculture, almost all of them expressing concerns about the state’s proposed regulations. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained their comments through a request under the Georgia Open Records Act.
“The way they proposed it isn’t going to work for Georgia farmers,” said Peck, who would like to grow hemp along with violas, ferns, perennials, annuals and other flowers in greenhouses on his 21 acres at Quail Hollow Nurseries. “We want to make sure Georgia is competitive with the rest of the South. The way the laws are written now, we won’t be.”