The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) last week released guidance under a 2020 plan to allow cannabis and hemp cultivation on land belonging to the state Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) and Farm Viability Enhancement programs. The move could open up more than 73,000 acres of protected farmland to potential industry operations.

The APR program, which dates back to 1979, offers to pay farmland owners the difference between fair market value and the agricultural value of their farms in exchange for permanent deed restrictions in order to preserve farmland for agricultural use in the future, according to the agency website. The Farm Viability Enhancement Program provides business and technical assistance to established farmers through grant funding in exchange for signing an…



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