industrial hemp

With downward corn and soybean prices sapping Illinois farmers' profits, state lawmakers think industrial hemp can serve as another revenue stream.

Hemp processor Carolina Botanical will plant its roots in North Carolina with a promise of a $100,000 performance grant from the state.

Carolina Botanical is joining a string of companies that have received incentives to launch businesses in North Carolina.

The company will create 30 jobs with its facility in Tabor City. It will be a $3.4 million investment, according to Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland.

“And we know companies like Carolina Botanicals will find success here with our strong agricultural footprint, solid economy and available workforce,” Copeland said Thursday.

North Carolina is the eighth leading agricultural producing state, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The state collected more than $11 million in receipts from its commodities in 2018.

Hemp is a byproduct of cannabis that contains low amounts of THC. Hemp production was legalized in North Carolina as part of a pilot program regulated under federal law in 2014. Carolina Botanicals will use the plant to create CBD oil and other products. The market for cannabis-based products is projected to reach $1.3 billion by 2022, according to the National Hemp Association.

Carolina Botanicals will have to “meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify” for the $100,000 grant. The incentive will be paid from the One North Carolina Fund given to the local governments by the state.

Textile manufacturer Gildan Yarns will also benefit from the One North Carolina Fund.

The company is slated to receive $250,000 for a new facility in Eden, North Carolina. The manufacturer will invest $5 million to convert an old milling company. The project will require 85 jobs.

Earlier this month, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that Aerospace company Ontic Engineering and Manufacturing Inc. will receive $1.3 million in tax incentives to expand its facility in Butner, North Carolina.

Ontic follows Bharat Forge America Inc., Xerox, Carvana and other companies who have been pegged to receive millions of dollars in tax incentives in North Carolina this year.

Critics of the incentives argue that it is a way for the government to pick winners and losers in the private sector. Critics also contend that such incentives are a waste of taxpayer money because companies generally will expand without them. Improving the state's overall tax and business climate is a fairer way to grow jobs, critics say.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for three years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.