MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Department of Agriculture has started accepting applications for its hemp program.

This is the second year for Alabama's hemp program, last year just over 200 farmers' interest. The state is expecting to double that number this year.

Could it be the new cash crop in Alabama? Industrial hemp is picking up a lot of interest across this.

The 2018 Farm Bill declassified hemp as a Schedule 1 drug and deemed hemp as an agriculture commodity. This legislation defines hemp as all parts of the plant containing less than 0.3% THC.

Ag Commissioner Rick Pate said industrial hemp has a lot of uses. "It's used in cars, plastics, it's biodegradable. It would help with plastics getting in out water"

Pate said the plant looks similar to marijuana which presents some issues. "You try to tell people that it doesn't have those qualities that make you high."

To become a hemp farmer you'll have to pay a 200 application fee and submit a background check. If approved you'll have to pay a $1,000 location fee.

You can find the application and get more information on the program here:

Applications for the 2020 hemp program will be accepted through November 14, and are open to growers, processors and handlers, and universities.