This week, Louisiana officials announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture has endorsed the state’s plan to regulate and promote the growth of industrial hemp within its borders.
The federal approval is the first of its kind in an atmosphere where state governments have been largely self-directed in the tack they take toward industrial hemp since its legalization at the end of 2018.
Some state governments have been more draconian than others, but none before now have received the USDA’s explicit approval.
Industrial hemp has become a popular crop among farmers, especially those struggling amid a trade war that has cost them exports of traditional staples like corn and soybeans.
Its rise has been helped by the wild popularity of CBD oils and products, which can be manufactured from industrial hemp. CBD is used by thousands of fans for chronic pain, anxiety, inflammation, arthritis and other problems.
While CBD’s medicinal benefits need further research, much of this deficiency is due to the longstanding prohibition no hemp. Hemp has also long been used in textiles, rope and plastics manufacture.
According to the Associated Press, the first Louisiana permit applications for growing industrial hemp within the new guidelines will be processed and approved in February. 
“With the USDA approving our state industrial hemp plan, the pieces of the regulatory puzzle are falling into place,” Louisiana Dept. of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Strain told ABC affiliate KATC 3. “We are now able to move forward and begin accepting industrial hemp license applications.” 
The USDA’s statement of approval toward the Louisiana plan came Friday, KATC 3 reports. 
“Especially in this first year, you’re going to be seeing a lot of us,” Angela Guidry, coordinator of the LDAF industrial hemp program, told the AP. 
The Louisiana licensing procedure will differentiate farmer applicants between growers, processors, seed producers and contract carriers. 
Each of the categories of licensing allow for different levels of interaction with the hemp crops, seeds and extracts. Some are allowed to grow the hemp, transport it and others can do both.
“Our Industrial Hemp program administrators have worked very hard to ensure the state regulatory framework was in place as soon as feasibly possible,” Strain told KATC 3. “I am pleased that we remain on track to issue licenses for the 2020 planting season.”