(a) The purpose of this article is to assist Alabama in the development of a more permanent, profitable, and diversified agriculture by moving to the forefront of industrial hemp production, development, and commercialization of hemp products in agribusiness, and other business sectors, both nationally and globally and to the greatest extent possible. These purposes may be accomplished, in part, through all of the following:
(1) An industrial hemp research program overseen by the department, working exclusively or in conjunction with other research partners. This research program may include the planting, cultivation, and analysis of industrial hemp demonstration plots by selected growers that are licensed by the department pursuant to this article.
(2) An institution of higher education's program to conduct industrial hemp research.
(3) The pursuit by the department or an institution of higher education of any federal permits or waivers necessary to allow industrial hemp to be grown in Alabama.
(b) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the authority granted in this article and the purposes accomplished hereby are proper governmental and public purposes, and that the development of industrial hemp production and commercial markets for hemp products within the state is important to the economic well-being of the state.