Greg Pawlowski, an activist, and city official in Detroit, Michigan, has the mayor’s support in an initiative to grow hemp on vacant lots in the city.
The budget used in cutting grass on vacant land parcels every year totals $3.5 million. He suggested that hemp could be grown on these vacant lands and create job opportunities.
Thirty-five thousand lots have been left vacant following the demolition of homes and other buildings. Much of the land is polluted, and planting hemp could help with soil redemption.
Greg said that Mayor Duggan has analysts looking into hemp’s legal issues, requiring re-zoning. There is a possible test parcel that could be planted next spring.
Pawlowski will soon be leaving his post as a Detroit City Planner but says he will serve as the mayor’s hemp industry advisor. In the past, he has done social justice work in Michigan and New Hampshire. While in the Michigan Democratic Party, he was the co-founder of the cannabis caucus and among the group of activists that established the Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access, a cannabis patient-rights group.
Any growing hemp and processing are under the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). This year in August, the agency received approval for its industrial hemp program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Michigan has now moved from a pilot hemp program where farmers, processors, and educational institutions could grow, handle, process, and research industrial hemp.
Almost all hemp growing in Michigan has been harvesting flowers for CBD production. The year 2020 has seen an increase in hemp, with growers having cultivated 13,225 acres outdoors and 11 million square feet indoors. About 553 growers have been registered, according to a report from MDRAD.
Hemp grown in vacant lands will see Detroit’s economy grow and the money used in cutting grass put to beneficial use. It will also create new job opportunities.