EL RENO, Okla. — Redlands Community College is one of two colleges partnering with farmers to launch a development program to study and grow hemp.

Redlands Community College and Langston University are the first two colleges in Oklahoma to begin a new program, partnering with farmers to study and grow industrial hemp.

It’s been legal to grow industrial hemp in Oklahoma since April of this year when Gov. Mary Fallin signed House Bill 2913.

Tina Walker, a long-time farmer, said there are over 50,000 was to use hemp, including for lotions, building materials like concrete and fiberboard, rope, paper, mulch, and CBD hemp oil, to name a few.

“Wild hemp grows in Oklahoma. Oklahoma used to produce a lot of hemp back up through WWII and because of that, we have a lot of wild hemp in Oklahoma. So, we know that the environment is right,” Jack Bryant, president of Redlands Community College, said.

Bryant said students will be doing soil analysis to determine what each farmer who participates in the program has used for fertilizer over the years and what their rotation of crops has been.

“We’ve already got students that are expressing interest about getting in in the fall. Redlands has not already planted ours yet. We have a license,” Bryant said.

The next step will be opening their own indoor grow facility.

“I’m excited any time we can do something for our students that gives them a competitive edge when they leave our institution,” Bryant said. “We really appreciate everything our state legislature has done to make this happen.”