Category Archives: Industrial HEMP

County’s 1st hemp seeds of 2015 planted


More, bigger plots coming, advocate says

  • By Eli Pace, New Era editor

 

 

 

If last year’s industrial hemp planting was a trial run, this year Christian County hemp farmers are going all out with what’s expected to be 85 total acres of the crop spread across four local pilot projects.

The first pilot went into the ground Friday at Jeff Davis’ Pembroke farm, said Katie Moyer, a local hemp advocate who’s been heavily involved in the push to legalize the crop, which can be used to make everything from paper to plastics.

“It was actually done in record time,” Moyer said of Davis’ second hemp planting. “He got the seed Friday and planted Friday evening.”

Winner of the chamber’s 2015 Famer of the Year award, Davis planted a half-acre of hemp last year on his 1,300-acre farm. This time, according to Moyer, he put down about five acres’ worth of seeds on a different strip of land.

That’s a small chunk of the roughly 85 acres that’s expected to be planted across the four local pilots, but depending on how far the seed goes, Moyer said, the actual acreage could be a little more or a little less.

Compared to the two half-acre pilots planted last year in Christian County, that’s quite the step up.

“Yeah, big time,” Moyer said.

If everything goes according to plan, seed for the largest of the Christian County hemp pilots could be planted as early as Tuesday. When the seeds sprout, the crop should be visible from the Pennyrile Parkway at the Crofton interchange.

“This one is going to be very big and very visible,” Moyer said, adding that, because of media coverage and increased hemp awareness, more and more Kentucky farmers are showing interest in the crop.

“People really had an opportunity to see what was going on (last year). It’s like a snowball effect. We’re definitely a lot busier now than we were last year.”

In line with that growth, Moyer and a handful of individuals have formed a new company called “Legacy Hemp.”

Reached over the phone Monday, Moyer said she was working on filing the necessary paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State for what is to be a certified seed breeder that’s being created to sell hemp seed to Kentucky farmers and facilitate some of the processing that’s involved with taking the crop to market. A company website is in the works.

“Because everything is so new, we’re really feeling things out,” she said.

Moyer explained that, more than anything, she hopes people realize industrial hemp is not marijuana.

The two are related plant species, but hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the chemical that can register as high as 30 percent or more in marijuana and produces intoxicating effects in humans.

Because of the high visibility of this year’s crops, Moyer also said she hopes any would-be pot users don’t make the mistake of thinking hemp is an illicit crop, try to smoke it or steal any of the hemp plants to sell for a profit.

Reach Eli Pace at 270-887-3235 or epace@kentuckynewera.com.

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Local farmer leading the way in growing industrial hemp


By Sheldon Compton scompton@civitasmedia.com

HIPPO – Hippo resident Todd Howard had never been employed in his adult life when he was laid off as an engineer for the coal industry in 2010. He had also never farmed a day in his life. All that was about to change.

After Howard lost his job as an engineer, the Hippo resident said a key aspect of his personality was revealed in the best way possible.

“They had to make the decision to lay folks off, and I’ve just never been one to sit around and do nothing,” he said.

Howard lost his job in December and by Feb. 10 he had constructed a green house. Construction on that green house led to a crop of 10,000 tomato plants the first year. By the third year, Howard was overseeing the Floyd County Farmer’s Market and closing in on $50,000 in gross sales. But the time required with the market became difficult to manage.

“The farmer’s market was taking up a lot of my time and last year we decided to to try a sixteen-week program with Community Supported Agriculture,” Howard said.

This move launched Howard’s work as a full-time farmer, and now he is at the forefront of the movement to grow hemp in Kentucky in an effort to see Eastern Kentucky’s economy improved through ready resources not always popular throughout the state and nation.

Shortly after his efforts with the farmer’s market got underway, Howard soon became a board member for a statewide community farm alliance, testifying before senate and house agriculture committees, supporting the hemp bill introduced roughly three years ago.

“After getting to know some of the folks who helped get this legislation passed, I made a few acquaintances in that regard,” he said. “Mike Lewis and I got close.”

Lewis, who is a Kentucky farmer and COO with the organization Freedom Seed and Feed, a company with offices in Lexington, reached out to Howard, along with University of Pikeville’s Eric Mathis, visiting lecturer of applied sustainability at UPike.

The organization is a subsidiary of Mountain High Acquisitions Corporation, a Colorado-based company who advocate the legalization of marijuana and industrial hemp.

“He (Mathis) got in touch with me and asked if I’d be interested in growing some hemp, saying Mike had recommended me,” Howard said. “I’m a person notorious for diving in head-first without realizing sometimes I’m diving into the kiddie pool, but in we got a site located, got seed in the ground. So we have crop in the ground. It’s sprouted, it’s coming up, and it’s growing.”

The site is located along what was once strip mine land at the Pikville-Pike County Regional Airport, a section of land difficult to farm, to say the least, according to Howard.

“Growing on these mine sites is like a crap shoot,” he added. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. To date, no one I know has had any success growing at these places. The land is compacted soil and has huge rocks. It’s nothing like a standard agricultural piece of land you’d normally work with.”

Howard said the general goal is to create smaller cooperative models for growing industrial hemp on a larger scale.

“Obviously Eastern Kentucky has a brand right now and has some potential for this,” Howard said. “It’s sort of the elephant in the room to a player on a larger scale with all of this acreage. Let’s find a use for it.”

Sheldon Compton is a staff writer for the Floyd County Times. He can be reached at 886-8506.

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Hemp planted at Locust Grove


Sheldon S. Shafer, The Courier-Journal 10:10 p.m. EDT June 5, 2015

 

hemplogo2

"Today hemp is grown mostly in Canada. and the seeds and oil are imported for culinary purposes, but historically hemp was cultivated mainly for use in canvas and rope."

Locust Grove will have a hemp festival on Aug. 9. It will include a hemp village where products can be purchased, a hemp café with foods made from hemp oil and seeds, rope and paper making demonstrations, and talks by experts on hemp.

Also at the festival two films will be shown — "Hemp for Victory," a World War II-era short documentary, and "Bringing It Home," a film about the modern benefits of hemp.

Sponsors of the festival include Rainbow Blossom, Caudill Seed & New Earth. Admission to the festival is $5 per person.

Locust Grove is a 55-acre, 18th-century farm site and National Historic Landmark at 561 Blankenbaker Lane, just off River Road. The site has a mansion that was the home of the Croghan family. It served as a gathering place for George Rogers Clark and his associates and was visited by several presidents.

The property has a welcome center with a gift shop, museum and meeting space.

Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at (502) 582-7089. Follow him on Twitter at @sheldonshafer.

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the first year of state-sanctioned industrial hemp farming under the Farm Bill succeeded, and the pilot program’s second year promises to be bigger and better


On May 5th 2015, James Comer, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA), held a press conference in a Lexington-based tobacco facility belonging to G.F. Vaughan, the last remaining tobacco processor in Kentucky.

His message was historic, his location symbolic: the first year of state-sanctioned industrial hemp farming under the Farm Bill succeeded, and the pilot program’s second year promises to be bigger and better, with the potential to elevate the entire state economy by restoring industrial hemp as the new “cash crop.”

Specifically, Commissioner Comer announced that KDA had approved 121 total participants, including seven universities, over 1,724 acres — a significant increase from last year.   Additionally, millions of dollars have been invested in the state’s emerging industrial hemp production and processing industries.

The revival of industrial hemp means that Kentucky is creating a new agricultural commodity market, attracting an infusion of private-sector money from both inside and outside the state.  By giving farmers, suppliers and processors the ability to hire additional staff and join the vanguard of the global resurgence in industrial hemp, Kentucky is empowering a return to its past agricultural leadership.

Kentucky is once again the American heartland of industrial hemp culture, a title it proudly held throughout history before Prohibition. But it wouldn’t have gotten here if not for the determination of its political leadership, starting with Comer himself.  He was an early advocate of legalizing industrial hemp and worked with thought leaders from both parties to win support, joining with the rich Kentucky leadership of Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, Thomas Massie, Paul Hornback, John Yarmouth, and Andy Barr to move to action.

In 2014, these pilot programs were legitimized under the Farm Bill (aka The Agricultural Act of 2014).  Given the tough economic times, and particularly the economic plight of farmers, Comer’s Kentucky Proud strategy for a sustainable crop made perfect sense.  But politics intervened, and as the first 250-pound shipment of certified industrial hemp seeds from Italy arrived at the Louisville airport, the DEA seized them as if they were contraband, in direct violation of the new law.

Where others may have cowered before the federal authorities, Comer filed suit against the DEA, asserting his state’s rights to carry out its industrial hemp program. Realizing that they overstepped their bounds, the DEA released the seeds in time for planting: Jamie Comer’s quick action saved the 2014 industrial hemp growing season, setting the stage for the dramatic increase in the 2015 planting season.

GenCanna Global: Setting the Industry Standard

Hemp Project

“Young hemp plant; Source GenCanna Global”

All pilot programs in Kentucky seek to move industrial hemp farming forward, but one in particular has lead the way: GenCanna Global and its Hemp Kentucky Project.

GenCanna, working with its strategic local partners, immediately distinguished themselves by establishing the state’s first dedicated analytical laboratory in Lexington.  Since compliance with potency levels is vitally important, regulators from KDA and scientists from universities were invited into the lab to observe and confer.  The Hemp Kentucky Project is compiling significant internal data for use in future agricultural production decisions.

The Hemp Kentucky Project now employs over 40 people at facilities in Jackson and Garrard Counties.  Close working relationships with nursery and farming families have led to high expectations for the 2015 outdoor season.  Because GenCanna specializes in industrial hemp with high CBD (Cannabidiol), it is necessary to have defined protocols at all stages of the growth and processing cycle.  This new-aged approach to the ancient industrial hemp cultivation and production techniques has been enabled by the quick adoption of modern standards at both locations.

CEO Matty Mangone-Miranda quoted “ between our strategic partners with local nurseries and farms, our scientific research, and breeding and seed development at our Hemp Campus, we are literally seeding this agricultural revolution in Kentucky.  The ability to produce large amounts of CBD will fundamentally alter the supply available for both the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.  This Hemp Kentucky Proud effort will catapult locals into the forefront of industrial hemp production nationally.”

GenCanna is drawing on the great availability of different farming techniques to properly understand all aspects of repurposing existing farm assets to its unique high CBD industrial hemp.  As Chris Stubbs, GenCanna’s Chief Scientific Officer, puts it “the GenCanna Production Platform (GPP) assures the standardized, repeatable quality from nursery to field to processing to formulation.”  Additionally, Chris adds “the GPP ensures our mutual responsibilities with respect to staying within the letter and intent of the laws under which we operate.  We couldn’t be more pleased with the leadership and understanding that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has shown.”

GenCanna is not alone in its efforts.  Their strategic partner, Atalo Holdings, is the largest growing cultivation in the entire pilot program with over 30 farming partners.  Atalo and GenCanna are teaming up to repurpose a former tobacco seed development facility, conveniently located in the midst of the traditional industrial hemp heartland.  This new facility, a Hemp Campus, will be a research center that will attract companies and scientists from around the world to develop knowledge of CBD and create a vast inventory of Kentucky-developed, American-certified hemp seed cultivars.

As the industrial hemp production of large amounts of CBD becomes a probability, globally renowned research scientists are noticing.  Dr. Mark Rosenfeld, CEO of ISA Scientific, an American-based group of medical experts and cannabinoid scientists with direct ties to Israel and China talked about the partnering with GenCanna and the Hemp Kentucky Project as it “paves the way for substantial improvements in treating chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening health conditions that not only afflict many Kentuckians, but hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Part of the reason why we have a global scale of what we do.”

ISA Scientific’s Dr. Perry Fine (whose roots are in Lexington) spoke of how the GenCanna-ISA partnership will immediately work on treating diabetes and chronic pain with pharmaceutical-grade CBD therapies that are affordable and accessible.

Through its Hemp Kentucky Project, GenCanna and its strategic partners are working collaboratively to produce large quantities of CBD diversified over multiple farms in Kentucky.  COO Steve Bevan, recognizing the sizable capital investments in nurseries and farms, insists that empowering farmers to “help commoditize the production of CBD such that a sustainable agricultural industry can develop to literally produce for both the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical markets.  We are creating jobs, research, facility development, and industry leadership, all which require the human capital necessary to make this happen,  Steve suggests that “we’re going to need workers, technicians, accountants, support staff, scientists, everybody. And we’re going to find each of those people right here in Kentucky.”

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Wyden presses to lift federal ban on industrial hemp


Talks on Senate floor to mark National hemp History Week

From KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 7:29 PM PDT June 4, 2015  UPDATED: 7:29 PM PDT June 4, 2015

 

Sen. Wyden backs lifting ban on industrial hemp

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., takes to Senate floor to urge colleagues to lift ban on industrial hemp

 

WASHINGTON –

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Thursday again urged lifting the federal ban on industrial hemp, saying it has a wide variety of uses and economic benefits in Oregon and nationwide.

Hemp-based products contributed $620 million to the U.S. economy in 2014, but current federal regulations prohibit farmers from growing hemp in the United States, the senator noted.

“I’ve long said if you can make it and sell it in Oregon, you should be able to grow it in Oregon,” Wyden said in a speech on the Senate floor in recognition of National Hemp History Week.

“In my view, keeping the ban on growing hemp makes about as much sense as instituting a ban on Portobello mushrooms," he said. "There’s no reason to outlaw a product that’s perfectly safe because of what it’s related to.”

Wyden highlighted several products made in Oregon from industrial hemp by companies such as Milwaukie-based Bob’s Red Mill, which produces protein powder from hemp seeds, Creswell-based Fiddlebumps, which makes hemp butter and other skin care products, and Eugene-based Hemp Shield, which makes deck sealant and wood finish from hemp.

Wyden introduced a bill earlier this year with Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to lift the ban on growing hemp domestically. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act, S. 134, would distinguish between industrial hemp and marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Al Franken, D-Minn., and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., also cosponsored the bill.

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Banking on industrial hemp


Posted on May 29, 2015
by Dan Dickson

Industrial hemp is getting a lot of ink, air time and social media attention in Kentucky lately.

In the second year of the state’s hemp pilot program, 121 farmers were selected to grow a total of 1,740 acres of the crop in demonstration projects that industry leaders hope will prove the potential of hemp. But is hemp a good investment? Should banks and individual investors be sinking money into it?

“We’re absolutely excited about it,” said Debra Stamper, counsel for the Kentucky Bankers Association. “Any new industry is great for the economy, which means it’s great for the banks.”

Stamper said she’s impressed by the wide range of products produced from hemp, everything from clothing, oils and personal care products to automobile parts and food.
“Kentucky has such a rich history of hemp production for products,” she said. “It could help farmers who used to grow tobacco, especially smaller farms.”

Bank loans for Kentucky agriculture have fallen off in recent years, according to the association.

While hemp might provide a boost, Stamper said she thinks Kentucky bankers need to be reassured that investing in hemp is safe. The federal farm bill allows certain states to operate hemp pilot programs.

“I would argue quite strongly that that allows Kentucky banks, any bank, in states where hemp is legal, to hold money and make loans for hemp projects authorized by the pilot programs,” said Jonathan Miller, of Lexington’s Frost Brown Todd Attorneys and advisor to the Kentucky Hemp Industry Council.

Some Kentucky bankers recently met with hemp industry leaders and Agriculture Commissioner James Comer. They talked about a hemp education curve. Bankers must understand the differences between a legal hemp crop and an illegal marijuana crop. Officials discussed with bankers how to verify the people who approach them for loans for hemp projects, “so they’re not hesitant about getting involved in any of those businesses,” said Stamper.

Still, some bankers worry getting involved in hemp might bring the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to their door or lead to a crackdown from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

“That is something we’re working through right now,” Miller acknowledged.
But, Miller said, from an investment standpoint, now is the time to to get in on the ground floor of the state’s hemp industry.

“Given our history of world leadership in hemp a century ago, our soil and climate and the political support for it today, I would think investing in Kentucky hemp would be a wise bet,” he said.

Large and small banks have shown interest in hemp. Smaller banks might be in the best position to get into the business since they’re experienced with loaning to small farmers and business owners.

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– See more at: http://bizlex.com/2015/05/banking-on-industrial-hemp/#sthash.aNwpHmGP.dpuf

AMERICAN GREEN, INC.


Image result for kentucky hemp

American Green Inc (OTCMKTS:ERBB) recently released that the first of five ZaZZZ machines currently slated for Kentucky made headlines at the state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program Update in Lexington. Agriculture Commissioner James Comer of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture invited American Green marketing partner Chris Smith of Green Remedy (http://www.greenremedy.com) to talk about the future of hemp in the Bluegrass State. Green Remedy, which is comprised of John Salsman, Mike Boone, Chad Wilson, as well as Chris Smith is currently located in Bardstown, KY. American Green Inc (OTCMKTS:ERBB) advanced 1.82% and ended at $0.00560. The total traded volume was 9.11 million shares and market capitalization arrived at $24.84 million. The stock has a 52-week high price of 0.04 and its 52-week low was recorded at $0.01, while during last trade its minimum price was $0.01 and it gained the highest price of $0.01.

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Film screening promotes Hemp History Week


By Whitney Leggett The Winchester Sun

 

 

Film screening promotes Hemp History Week Local store puts focus on commerical, industrial uses

 

Marijuana’s misunderstood cousin is making a comeback in Kentucky and on a local level.

In 2013, the Bluegrass State became the first to legalize hemp production. Riding on the support of U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, along with Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, the legislation expanded a market for thousands of products produced using the crop.

One local business is joining the efforts of raising awareness and acceptance of the industrialization of hemp.

Full Circle Market is celebrating Hemp History Week through Saturday with special promotions and a movie screening at the Clark County Public Library.

The market, located at 240 Redwing Drive, sells vitamins, minerals, herbs, natural body care products, eco-friendly cleaning supplies and specialty food items. Among the merchandise sold at Full Circle are a variety of hemp products, owner Laura Sheehan said.

“We sell hemp products here at the store, and have sold hemp products since we opened (in 2001),” Sheehan said.

In its sixth year, Hemp History Week is a national campaign to educate and renew support for hemp farming in the U.S.

This year, Sheehan has taken the local campaign efforts to a new level.

“Full Circle Market has participated in Hemp History Week for the last three years,” she said. “This year as part of Hemp History Week they offered opportunities to show the movie ‘Bringing It Home’ to your community. I thought it would be a natural fit to educate people since now hemp can legally be grown in Kentucky. I thought it would be a good time to bring this movie to the community to show it so they can learn about the industrialization of hemp first-hand.”

According to the film’s website, “Bringing It Home,” filmmakers Linda Book and Blaire Johnson “animate hemp’s history and introduce us to business owners using industrial hemp for construction, textiles, nutrition and body care products in the U.S. and around the globe.”

Book and Johnson explore why hemp isn’t grown in the U.S. and expose some of the latest legislative efforts to legalize hemp production in the U.S.

The 52-minute documentary-style film will be shown for free at 7 p.m. Monday, June 8, at the Clark County Public Library, and Sheehan thinks the film will shed some much-needed light on the hemp industry.

“I think people will be interested to know that hemp is not marijuana,” she said. “Hemp is a viable crop that actually has negative carbon emissions. So it is a very green crop.”

Although hemp is a variety of cannabis and of the same variety of plant as marijuana, it has no drug value, according the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

KDA reports hemp seed contains little to no measurable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in drug varieties of cannabis. THC levels for hemp are around 0.3 percent, while marijuana THC levels are 10 percent on average.

For Sheehan and most other hemp proponents, the potential financial benefits of industrialized hemp production cannot be ignored.

“We sell millions of dollars of hemp products in the U.S. from food to fiber and fuel,” she said. “But we are importing it from around 30 others countries around the world. At this point, we as Americans have an abundance of farmers and farmland. So why not be growing it ourselves? The laws prohibiting hemp are really outdated and I feel strongly if it’s something we can source locally, our store wants to do that. I think this movie teaches us that it’s time to grow (hemp) here in the U.S.”

Sheehan said she hopes Kentucky can become known for its hemp production.

“I think it’s really exciting for Kentucky to be the first state to get to grow it,” she said. “There are other states behind us that are starting to legalize hemp. But if we can one day be known as the hemp capital of the world, that would be great. I think the revenue that can be made from hemp will really help our state, and it’s wonderful timing that our state is the first to get this crop planted.”

Prior to the screening of the film, there will be informational booths and samples of hemp products available from 5 to 7 p.m. at the library. Representatives from Plowshares for Appalachia, Atalo Holdings and Kentucky Hemp Industries Association will be available to answer questions.

“I think farmers are interested, but they don’t know how to get started,” Sheehan said. “What’s the application process like? How much land do I have to have? What do I do with my plant once I harvest it? There will be people there to help answer all these questions.”

Full Circle sells body care products made with hemp oil as the moisturizing base, as well as several hemp food products.

Visitors to the store can find chocolate covered hemp hearts (seeds), hemp protein powder, granola bars with hemp, hemp milk, hemp lotion, hemp soap (bar and liquid) and even a hemp shaving cream. Hemp twine, which is popular among local gardeners, is also available, Sheehan said.

Hemp is high in Omega 3, and is a good source of protein and fiber, she said.

As part of her Hemp History Week celebration, Sheehan will offer samples, special promotions and prize giveaways.

For more information about Hemp History Week, visit hemphistoryweek.com.

For questions about Full Circle Market products, Hemp History Week promotions or the movie screening, call Sheehan at 744-3008.

Contact Whitney Leggett at wleggett@winchestersun.com or follow her on Twitter @whitneyleggett.

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Hemp History Week coming up Events taking place from June 1st -7th, 2015


By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

In an effort to raise awareness about hemp and its place as a sustainable, versatile and profitable agricultural product, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp are putting together the 6th annual Hemp History Week, set to take place from June 1st – 7th, 2015.

The weeklong celebration, whose theme is “Sow the Seed” will highlight the many different industries that can benefit from hemp crops including manufacturing and cooking.

It will also highlight the spring planting and progress in the states that already allow large-scale hemp farms.

One of, and perhaps the main issue affecting hemp’s place as an agricultural commodity is that it’s closely associated with marijuana.

Here are some things that set hemp apart from marijuana:

  • While both marijuana and hemp are classified as the Cannabis sativa, hemp is taller and has less than 0.3% of THC, the chemical responsible for the effects of marijuana.
  • When hemp is grown and harvested on a large scale and used for things like oil, wax, soap, rope and paper, it can be classified as agricultural or industrial hemp.

Hemp rope

According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, retail sales of all hemp-based products in the United States could be worth approximately $300 million per year.

In 1938, Popular Mechanics deemed hemp the new billion-dollar crop.

Currently there are 13 states in the US that allow for commercial hemp farming: California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

Tell us your thoughts about Hemp History Week and the events taking place. If you’re a hemp farmer, what are some of the myths that need to be dispelled surrounding hemp?

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UK Plants Hemp Research Plots


LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 15, 2015) — Agronomists with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment began planting their 2015 hemp research plots May 14 on the university’s Spindletop Research Farm.

This is the second year for UK to conduct industrial hemp research. 2014 was the first year that hemp was legally grown in the state in decades. UK conducted the 2014 pilot project under the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s guidance.

This year’s research projects are funded by several corporations, with administrative support from KDA. Similar to 2014, UK will work in collaboration with scientists from other Kentucky universities. UK agronomists David Williams and Rich Mundell are the lead researchers on the UK projects.

UK researchers will evaluate the yield and fiber quality differences among different harvest times and harvest methods as well as retting times and retting methods. Retting is the process of separating the fiber from the stem. UKAg agronomists will collaborate with researchers at Eastern Kentucky University on this project, which is funded by Sunstrand LLC.

In a second research project, Williams and Mundell will examine the best production method for cannabinoids. Cannabinoids, such as hemp-based cannabidiol, may be used in food and dietary supplements for consumer health and wellness benefits. The pharmaceutical industry is researching them for a variety of therapeutic purposes. CannaVest Corporation funded this project.

Another project, funded by Freedom Feed and Seed, will allow UK researchers to manipulate plant growth rates in the greenhouse and in the field of hemp used for grain and cannabinoid production. They will study specifically whether small plants make the harvest simpler and whether small plants have any yield difference compared to larger plants.

UK researchers will conduct additional projects with Murray State University and Western Kentucky University. In collaboration with Murray State University researchers, UK scientists also will conduct a small variety trial of hemp plants for grain production. UKAg researchers will work with researchers from Western Kentucky University on a project that looks at hemp’s tolerance to agricultural herbicides.

Kentucky Hemp Seed Research and Development Company, a subsidiary of Atalo Holdings, donated a significant amount of seed to the 2015 UK hemp research project.

MEDIA CONTACT: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774.

planting_hemp.jpg

 

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Hemp pilot projects finding fertile ground in Kentucky


Posted on March 26, 2015
by Dan Dickson

 

Image result for hemp fields in kentucky

 

 

Cynthiana farmer Brian Furnish has a successful tobacco and cattle operation but wants to make life better for his family and many other Kentucky farmers who once depended on tobacco for their living.

“I’ve seen what’s happened with the decline of tobacco,” said Furnish. “Central and eastern Kentucky need a new crop. If we can build an industry around hemp here, it’ll be beneficial to growers.”

Furnish is also the chair of the Kentucky Hemp Industry Council, a 16-member group from around the state and nation that represents various stakeholder in hemp’s future, from farmers and crop processors to industries and retailers that want to process and sell hemp products. Hemp’s fiber and oil can be used in a multitude of goods, including food, paper, building materials, beauty products and much more.

Kentucky is entering its second year of industrial hemp pilot projects. The first round in 2014 produced a wealth of data about production methods, seed varieties, harvesting, processing techniques and uses for harvested hemp.

“We’re looking to conduct a wide scope of pilot projects in 2015,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a strong advocate for hemp and a Republican candidate for governor.

“There are more agriculture processors in Kentucky today making an investment in the state, signing contracts and hiring people. This is something we’ll be able to look back at and say ‘This was a good decision,’” said Comer.

Comer says one company that showed an early interest in developing the state’s hemp industry is Dr. Bonner’s Magic Soaps, a company selling hemp formulated soaps, organic bars, lip balm and body care products, according to its website. The company donated $50,000 to aid the hemp council’s work in promoting a future for hemp in Kentucky.

Comer says hundreds of others have applied for permits to participate in this year’s hemp pilot program. “There’s no shortage of farmers who want to grow hemp,” he said.

Lexington attorney Jonathan Miller is legal advisor for the hemp council.

“We would like to resume our leading role as the industrial hemp capital of the globe,” he said.

Miller and others have lobbied Congress and President Barack Obama’s administration to try to regain full legalization of hemp, which was banned 75 years ago, along with its intoxicating plant cousin, marijuana.

In the last year, no hemp has been commercialized in Kentucky. It remains in the experimental stage.

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Report: $620 Million in Hemp Products Sold in the U.S. in 2014


Report: $620 Million in Hemp Products Sold in the U.S. in 2014

Hemp Foods and Body Care Retail Market in U.S. Achieves 21.2% Growth in 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has released final estimates of the size of the 2014 U.S. retail market for hemp products.

Data from market research supports an estimate of total retail sales of hemp food and body care products in the United States at $200 million.  Sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled seed, soaps and lotions have continued to skyrocket against the backdrop of the new hemp research provision in the Farm Bill, and increasing grassroots pressure to allow hemp to be grown domestically on a commercial scale once again for U.S. processors and manufacturers. The HIA has also reviewed sales of clothing, auto parts, building materials and various other products, and estimates the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2014 to be at least $620 million.

The sales data on hemp foods and body care, collected by market research firm SPINS, was obtained from natural and conventional retailers, excluding Whole Foods Market, Costco and certain other key establishments, who do not provide sales data — and thus it underestimates actual sales by a factor of at least two and a half. According to the SPINS data, combined U.S. hemp food and body care sales grew in the sampled stores by 21.2% or $14,020,239, over the previous year ending December 31, 2014 to a total of just over $80,042,540. According to SPINS figures, sales in conventional retailers grew by 26.8% in 2014, while sales in natural retailers grew by 16.3%. Indeed, the combined growth of hemp retail sales in the U.S. continues steadily, as annual natural and conventional market percent growth has progressed from 7.3% (2011), to 16.5% (2012), to 24% (2013), to 21.2 in 2014.

“The HIA estimates the total retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. to be at least $620 million for 2014,” says Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the HIA. “Eleven new states have passed legislation and new businesses are rapidly entering the market now that American farmers in a handful of states are finally beginning to grow the crop legally. Challenges remain in the market and there is a need for Congress to pass legislation to allow farmers to grow hemp commercially in order for the market to continue its rapid growth,” continues Steenstra.

When the 2013 farm bill was signed into law in February of 2014, the hemp amendment to the farm bill, Sec. 7606 Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana in states where hemp is regulated under authorized hemp pilot programs. This was an historic moment in the longstanding effort to legalize hemp as the act asserts that industrial hemp is not psychoactive, having less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis and therefore presenting no drug value.

The bill further allows for states that have already legalized the crop to cultivate hemp within the parameters of state agriculture departments and research institutions. In 2014, 1831 acres of hemp were licensed in Kentucky, Colorado and Vermont. Many licensees were unable to obtain seed in time to plant due to DEA seed import requirements. We estimate that approximately 125 acres of hemp crops were planted during 2014.

In January of 2015, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act was introduced in both the House and Senate, H.R. 525 and S. 134 respectively. If passed, the bill would remove all federal restrictions on the cultivation of industrial hemp, and remove its classification as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Currently, 21 states may grow hemp per Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, including California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

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Mitch McConnell’s Love Affair with Hemp How the Kentucky senator picked a fight with the DEA and became one of Washington’s top drug policy reformers.


Last May, a shipment of 250 pounds of hemp seeds left Italy destined for Kentucky as part of a pilot project made legal by the 2013 federal farm bill. Kentucky farmers had long hoped for a crop that could fill the void left by the decline of tobacco, and many thought that industrial hemp, which is used in a vast array of products, could be that crop.

The hemp seeds cleared customs in Chicago, but when the cargo landed at the UPS wing of Louisville International Airport, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized it, arguing that importing hemp seeds required an import permit, which could take six months to process. If farmers couldn’t get those seeds into the ground by June 1, the entire first year of the hemp pilot program would be dashed.

The DEA would have succeeded in blocking the seeds from reaching Kentucky farmers and university researchers but for the efforts of the state’s agricultural commissioner, who sued the agency and, most improbably, Mitch McConnell.

McConnell—then the Senate’s minority leader—worked furiously to free the seeds from the DEA’s clutches and continued the pro-hemp drumbeat throughout 2014, as he campaigned for reelection. This year, as Senate majority leader, he’s taken a further step by co-sponsoring the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015. While the farm bill carved out an exception to allow hemp cultivation in Kentucky, the 2015 bill would remove hemp entirely from the list of drugs strictly regulated by the Controlled Substances Act. It would, in essence, legalize hemp production in the United States.

“We are laying the groundwork for a new commodity market for Kentucky farmers,” McConnell told me. “And by exploring innovative ways to use industrial hemp to benefit a variety of Kentucky industries, the pilot programs could help boost our state’s economy and lead to future jobs. … I look forward to seeing industrial hemp prosper in the Commonwealth.”

Yes, Mitch McConnell said that. About hemp.

To grasp how McConnell—the quintessential establishment Republican—came to champion industrial hemp, you must first understand the economics and internal politics of Kentucky, as well as McConnell’s relationship to Kentucky’s junior senator, Rand Paul. It’s also helpful to know that close to $500 million worth of hemp products produced by Canada and other countries is already sold in the United States through such stores as Whole Foods. McConnell’s move also has potential ramifications beyond the marketplace, providing a credible threat to the Controlled Substances Act since it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970.

“The fact that Majority Leader McConnell is a co-sponsor of a hemp bill shows how fast the politics are changing on this issue,” said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit group that favors reform. (Bill Piper should not be confused with Billy Piper, former McConnell chief of staff and current K Street lobbyist).

***

The story of how Mitch McConnell evolved on the hemp issue began in 2010. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, was running to replace the retiring Jim Bunning in the U.S. Senate and spent much of the primary season blasting McConnell, who not only represented the establishment but also supported a different Republican candidate. The McConnell-Paul relationship changed dramatically after Paul prevailed in the primary and McConnell vigorously stepped in to support him in the general election against the Democratic nominee, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

The bond only grew when Paul came to the Senate in 2011. Paul encouraged McConnell to consider the hemp issue because it was favored by conservatives and Tea Party types, according to two sources familiar with those discussions. McConnell listened.

The other Kentucky Republican who played a role in McConnell’s evolution was Jamie Comer, the state’s newly minted agriculture commissioner. In August 2012, Comer held a news conference before the 49th annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast—a big shindig on the Kentucky politics circuit—to announce that legalization of hemp in the state would be his No. 1  priority in the next legislative session. Paul and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, another Kentucky Republican, were there to support Comer; each later testified in support of Comer’s measure before the state Senate agriculture committee in February 2013, along with Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Louisville.

“I engaged with Jamie Comer,” Yarmuth told me. “He reached out to me. From the beginning it’s been a bipartisan thing.”

In Washington, D.C., McConnell was approached multiple times from hemp supporters back home. After the fourth such approach, the senior senator from Kentucky turned to his chief of staff, Josh Holmes, and said, “We’ve got to look into this.”

***

If, like the average U.S. senator, you are unfamiliar with the botany of the cannabis plant, here’s a quick primer:

For starters, hemp is sometimes referred to as marijuana’s “cousin,” which is an unhelpful metaphor because hemp and marijuana are actually the same species, Cannabis sativa. They are simply different strains, and they are cultivated and harvested in different ways.

The cannabis plant is dioecious, which means its male and female flowers grow on different plants. This is unusual: Dioecious species—including gingkoes, willows and a few others—make up only 6 percent of all flowering plants.

Hemp is produced after the male plant fertilizes the females—something that happens almost immediately once the plants flower. Marijuana, on the other hand, is produced from the unfertilized flower of the female plant. A person interested in growing marijuana wants only female plants; a plant that shows signs of male flowers is plucked immediately, before it can mature and pollinate the females around it.

Pollen contamination is one of the chief concerns of marijuana growers, legal and illegal, because as soon as a female flower becomes pollinated, she stops making her THC-rich resin and begins focusing entirely on seed production. (Hemp is defined by Kentucky law as containing less than 0.3 percent THC; unfertilized marijuana flowers could have THC levels of 20 percent or more.)

For decades, the law enforcement lobby has peddled anti-hemp talking points that just didn’t add up. During the 2013 farm bill debate, the DEA asserted that, “It can be extremely difficult to distinguish cannabis grown for industrial purposes from cannabis grown for smoking. This is especially true if law enforcement is attempting to make this determination without entering the premises on which the plants are being grown.”

James Higdon is a freelance writer based in Louisville and author of The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History. He can be reached at @jimhigdon. Full disclosure: His father, Jimmy Higdon, is a Republican state senator in the Kentucky state legislature.

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As Marijuana Legalization Continues, Industrial Hemp Legalization May Be Next


By Kathleen Caulderwood @kcaulderwood k.caulderwood@ibtimes.com on February 21 2015 10:00 AM

 

With National Cannabis Conversation, American Hemp May Be Next

 

 

Kentucky farmer Andy Graves recently brought his father to see the latest crop on the family farm. Moments before the 89-year-old saw the plants, he could smell them.

“When my dad walked back to see the first fields, his eyes just lit up,” Graves says. “He said the smell was so distinct. There’s no other smell like hemp.”

Hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant, once grew by the acre on the Graves’ family farm, but disappeared after authorities outlawed the crop along with its sister species of marijuana. Even though it contains nearly none of the chemical that gives marijuana its intoxicating agent, hemp has been illegal for decades in the U.S.

But Graves, who planted a small crop last year, was the first of a handful of American farmers allowed to do so under a government research program. Although his latest crop is nothing compared with the 500 acres that once stood during his grandfather’s time, it represents the beginning of a long-awaited economic revolution.

“The business that we’re talking about today is so far and above the business my father saw and knew,” Graves says.

Hemp was once a mainstay for American farmers such as those in the Graves family, but has been outlawed for generations under regulations fearing marijuana cultivation. After decades of advocacy, a boost from the growing national interest in cannabis, rapid legalization and recent bipartisan support from lawmakers, hemp could be coming back in a big, and lucrative, way.

Most people associate hemp with braided bracelets and itchy shirts worn by college students who sip organic green tea in dormitory common rooms across the country. But hemp’s biggest advocates nowadays are more interested in economics than in philosophy.

“The economics alone are enough to convince anyone,” says Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association. Despite the fact that hemp farming is illegal, the U.S. is the world’s biggest consumer of it, importing $580 million worth in 2013, with predicted double-digit percentage growth, according to Steenstra.

Hemp is legally grown in 30 countries around the world. Most of the world’s supply comes from Canada, Steenstra says. After farmers and universities started researching hemp in 1994, Canada authorized industrial production in 1998 — and it’s been paying off.

Canadian farmers are selling hemp for CAD80 cents (64 cents) per pound, while canola sells for roughly CAD18 cents (14 cents) per pound, even though the input costs are roughly the same, according to CBC News.

The marijuana used for smoking and the hemp used for other purposes are both varieties of the same cannabis plant, but different in terms of their chemical makeup and the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is responsible for inducing a high, they contain.

Canada and the European Union define hemp as containing less than 0.3 percent THC, while marijuana can contain anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent. Generally, about 1 percent THC is considered the threshold for marijuana to “have intoxicating potential.”

When harvested, hemp can be used in a variety of ways. The seeds can be processed to create a nutrient-rich oil or a protein-rich meal, while the stalks can be turned into fiber that can be used in products such as fabric or paper.

Opponents of hemp legalization say the plants look too similar to marijuana plants used for other activities, and would give criminals an opportunity to cultivate illegal drugs in plain sight. U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, recently told Politico that the “confusion and potential commingling lends itself to an easier path for illegal marijuana growth across the country.”

However, a recent report by the Congressional Research Service outlines a few key differences. Marijuana is cultivated to stay short and bushy to facilitate as many flowers, or buds, as possible, and the plants grow close together. Hemp farmers give their plants more space and encourage them to grow tall and produce one long stalk with just a few leaves.

Hemp_Crop_in_Peasenhall_Road,_Walpole_-_geograph

Above:  Hemp plants are cultivated to grow much taller and thin, unlike marijuana plants meant to produce buds, or flowers.  Wikimedia Commons

This approach was the most common one used for the tens of thousands of tons of hemp grown every year by American farmers once upon a time.

American farmers have been growing hemp since the late 1800s, according to the Congressional Research Service, citing the Hemp Industries Association. But state governments did have a problem with people growing the flower for psychotropic reasons and sought to restrict its recreational use.

In the 1920s, it was among a handful of regulated drugs in many states. The Uniform Narcotic Drug Act noted that “there is little or no connection between the use of hemp drugs and crime, and that consuming it in moderation “very rarely” led to violence.

The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act defined hemp, along with marijuana, as a narcotic. Although it did not criminalize its production, it did require that all farmers only grow it for medical or industrial use, and register before growing it. They also had to secure a special tax stamp.

Marijuana Stamp

Above:  Image of a Marihuana revenue stamp $1 1937 issue from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing  Wikimedia Commons

Regardless, production still flourished. In 1943, the U.S. grew 75,000 tons of hemp fiber on a little more than 146,000 acres, and Popular Science estimated the crop size would more than double the next year.

In fact, it was a big part of the World War II effort. In 1942, a U.S. government film urged farmers to grow “hemp for victory,” after outlining how the plant had once been used for everything from the ships at sea to covered wagons of the pioneers, while typically being imported from abroad. But since sources in the Philippines and other parts of Asia were “in the hands of the Japanese,” “American Hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as our industries.”

According to the above video, “patriotic farmers” planted 36,000 acres of seed hemp at the government’s request in 1942, with plans for more.

Production continued into the next decade, but soon petered out. By the 1950s, the federal government had imposed mandatory jail time for possession of illegal cannabis. And in 1970 came the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which included cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, a category defined as “drugs with a high potential for abuse,” which also included heroin and LSD.

But that didn’t stop Americans from buying hemp products. Advocates have been lobbying to bring hemp cultivation back to the U.S. for decades, and things finally seem to be picking up steam.

“It’s becoming ever more ridiculous,” says David Bronner, CEO and president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a longtime advocate of hemp legalization. “Nobody brings up opium when they eat a poppy-seed bagel; this is a very similar situation.”

Bronner Hemp Protest 2012

Above:  Bronner: David Bronner tends to his industrial hemp as he stages a protest inside a steel cage, in front of the White House in Washington June 11, 2012. Bronner was protesting federal policy that prevents U.S. farmers from growing industrial hemp. Bronner is CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps  Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Bronner gained notoriety in 2012 when he locked himself in a metal cage outside the White House and proceeded to process a handful of hemp plants into enough oil to spread on to a piece of bread. According to the Washington Post, police had to cut him out of the cage with a chainsaw, and he was then charged with possession of marijuana.

But things are slowly changing.

“We’ve had a lot of allies doing a lot of hard work,” Bronner says. “Plus, as marijuana itself is being rescheduled, the debate is moving forward.”

As of February, marijuana is legal for use in some form in 23 states, including two, Colorado and Washington, that allow for recreational use among adults, with Alaska and Oregon planning to join them this year. The past few years have seen marijuana brought to the forefront of policy narratives and public discussion, which has been helping raise hemp’s profile.

In 2013, a majority of Americans polled by Gallup said they were in favor of marijuana legalization for the first time ever, and their sentiments keep going strong.

“They should be separate conversations, but they are influencing each other,” Bronner says.

He’s one of many who have been advocating local production of hemp for decades now. And over the past few years they’ve gotten more and more people on board — including a few politicians.

The 2014 Farm Bill, aka the Agricultural Act of 2014, included a provision to allow some people to begin growing industrial hemp, provided it is for “purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research,” and complies with state law.

This means that a handful of universities and small groups of farmers, including Graves, have grown their first crops this year. With special permission from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, of course.

But that seems to be just the beginning. And the cause has been gaining traction.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who introduced his first bill on the subject in 2007, has been leading a bipartisan movement to remove hemp from the legal definition of “marihuana.”

This January, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore, introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, and Rep. Thomas Massiel, R-Ky., introduced a companion bill with 50 co-sponsors on both sides of the political aisle.

“Allowing farmers throughout our nation to cultivate industrial hemp and benefit from its many uses will boost our economy and bring much-needed jobs to the agricultural industry,” Paul said in a press release last month.

And farmers such as Andy Graves certainly hope that’s true. While he knows the economic benefits of hemp, he’s also quick to point out that he takes a spoonful of the nutritious oil every day.

The family farm used to grow tobacco, but its owners ultimately decided against it more than 15 years ago.

“We realized that we were promoting the use of a product that could kill you,” he says. “Hemp, on the other hand, is nothing but good.”

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Southern Oregon medical marijuana growers fear industrial hemp could ruin their crops


 

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Southern Oregon marijuana growers want to ban industrial hemp production from the region out of fear that hemp may pollinate their crops and render them worthless.

Some outdoor marijuana growers want industrial hemp cultivation to be limited to eastern Oregon – far from their lucrative marijuana crops. At the very least, they don’t want hemp in Josephine, Jackson and Douglas counties.

Compared to Oregon’s marijuana legalization movement, the effort to launch an industrial hemp industry in Oregon has been an understated one propelled by a small but passionate group of advocates. When one of them, Edgar Winters, of Eagle Point, got a permit this month to grow industrial hemp on 25 acres in the heart of the state’s outdoor marijuana growing region, his neighbors were alarmed.

Allowing industrial hemp in an area known for churning out high-grade marijuana could undermine the industry, growers argue.

"You don’t come into the middle of cannabis growing country and try to put up a hemp farm unless you don’t know about it, unless you really don’t know how far hemp pollen can travel," said Casey Branham, a Jackson County medical marijuana grower who supports industrial hemp but wants it grown elsewhere in the state.

"It basically makes the medicine worthless," he said.

Branham and his neighbors worry hemp pollen will find its way to their unpollinated female cannabis flowers, known as sensimilla, slowing their growth and leading to seeds. The result: weak, seedy marijuana.

"No one will buy seeded flowers, period," said Cedar Grey, a Williams medical marijuana grower. "The flower market is so competitive these days. You have to have world-class flowers. Anything that is seeded is reminiscent of the 1960s or pot from Mexico. No one is interested in that at all."

And it’s not just southern Oregon’s outdoor marijuana growers who are worried about hemp’s implications. Portland’s indoor marijuana growers worry about hemp pollen drifting into their warehouses through ventilation systems or being tracked into their operations on workers’ shoes.

Shane McKee, a medical marijuana grower who owns two Portland dispensaries, said the potential complications posed by industrial hemp have caught cannabis growers by surprise.

"Nobody really saw the repercussions," said McKee.

Hemp and marijuana are different types of the same species, Cannabis sativa. But hemp lacks marijuana’s most coveted component: THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. In hemp’s case, the gene that fires up marijuana’s high THC production is essentially turned off. So while hemp’s sturdy stalks provide fiber for textiles and its seeds can be added to yogurt and smoothies, the plant is a lousy choice for people seeking marijuana’s high.

Anndrea Hermann, a hemp advocate who lives in Canada and teaches a course on the crop at Oregon State University, said marijuana growers’ concerns are legitimate.

"Is there a risk? Yes, there is a risk to the marijuana growers," said Hermann, who also serves as president of the Hemp Industries Association and owns a hemp products company. "And I will tell you it’s a hard pill to swallow."

Winters is the first to obtain a license to grow industrial hemp from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Another three people have applied, said Ron Pence, operations manager for commodity inspection for the agency, which oversees the state’s new industrial hemp program.

Pence said the agency has authority to limit where some agricultural crops, such as rapeseed, are cultivated. But it does not have that authority when it comes to industrial hemp.

"It would need a legislative fix," he said.

Oregon lawmakers have taken note of marijuana growers’ objections. Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, said growers peppered his office with emails once Winters’ plans became public. He said lawmakers are exploring potential solutions to protect both crops.

"Nobody wants one crop to endanger another crop," he said.

Oregon’s robust outdoor marijuana growing culture sets it apart from places like Kentucky, which also has a state hemp program. Oregon’s outdoor growers are organized, have an attorney and even a lobbyist. While Kentucky’s agriculture officials are enthusiastic boosters of industrial hemp, marijuana remains illegal.

"Marijuana growers are not so vocal" in Kentucky, said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a national hemp advocacy group. "They are not in a position to be able to call up their legislators to ask for a bill protecting their crops."

Winters, for his part, doesn’t see a major problem cultivating hemp near marijuana crops. He said the growing cycle for hemp is shorter than the one for outdoor marijuana and that an earlier harvest means it would not pose a threat to cannabis.

"It’s been doable all over the world," said Winters, who’s also a medical marijuana grower. "People have misconceptions about industrial hemp."

He said marijuana growers need more "education and training and knowledge" about hemp and that he plans to meet with outdoor growers to address their concerns.

He said he’s received strong criticism from marijuana growers and even personal threats since word of his plan spread.

"It’s a viable crop," he said. "There is no way we are going to be forced out of the county. I can tell you that. We are here to stay."

— Noelle Crombie

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Hemp Freedom Act Kentucky


In 2013, SB50 became law, which authorized industrial hemp farming and production provided that Federal law authorized the same. As is being introduced in other states, a simple amendment to that legislation to remove such federal approval – will authorize hemp farming and production on a state level!

The Hemp Freedom Act would authorize farming, production and commerce of industrial hemp in the state, effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same. Your action is needed to move this legislation forward.

ACTION STEPS

1. Get the model legislation.

Download HERE

2. Contact your state representative. Strongly, but respectfully urge him or her to introduce and support this bill for your state.

Contact info here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

3. Contact your state senator. Strongly, but respectfully urge him or her to introduce and support this bill for your state.

Contact info here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/

NOTE – If you have a rep and/or a senator that is hostile to the idea, contact a friendly legislator in a neighboring district and urge their action.

“I live in District ___, and my (REP/SENATOR) will not take action to support Industrial Hemp Farming. Can you help?”

4. Spread the word. Share this information widely by social media, email and more.

 

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Colorado Hemp Farmers Cultivate American Jobs Without Federal Approval


Some people want you to believe that the federal government cannot be effectively defied, but farmers in Colorado are proving them wrong.

While Colorado may be in the headlines for their marijuana legalization experiment, that is not the only issue in which they are effectively nullifying federal law. They are taking action against the federal industrial hemp ban as well. A Denver Post report, Colorado’s first legal hemp crop comes in amid constraints by fed laws, elaborates on this booming industry:

Legal hurdles aside, advocates are passionate about hemp’s commercial potential. The most common uses are food products and cosmetics derived from seeds and seed oil. Fiber from the stalks of hemp plants are used in clothing and industrial applications, including as a strengthening agent in concrete.

2014 marked the first year of state-authorized hemp cultivation in Colorado. About 30 growers filed applications to plant a total of 1,811 acres. But because state law does not yet require detailed reporting, no statistics exist on how much actually was planted and subsequently harvested.

Industrial hemp growers in Colorado face the possibility of prosecution for operating in violation of federal law. Still, in heroic acts of civil disobedience, they work to unleash a cash crop on society that could conceivably provide jobs and prosperity for thousands of people. Their bravery makes the feds deal with open defiance of their laws, and facilitates the effort to reform antiquated public policy toward success.

On marijuana, the feds pretty much waved the white flag of surrender. They ‘allowed’ Colorado and other states to legalize, after the states had already chosen to do so without asking for federal permission. This capitulation allows the feds to spin marijuana legalization like it is their reform, and that they deserve partial credit. In reality, it was decisive action taken by the states that forced the feds to cede power and accept inevitable reform. It worked on marijuana legalization, and it is starting to work on industrial hemp too.

The feds have already started to give up on industrial hemp prohibition as well. Last year’s farm bill contained provisions allowing states to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes only. But, Colorado farmers are proceeding with commercial cultivation without a federal rubber-stamp of approval. Some farmers in SE Colorado even started cultivating industrial hemp before receiving the go-ahead from their state government! This the kind of bold, fearless approach that is needed to show the government who’s boss, and press the issue until eventual reforms are enacted.

So what are you waiting for? Non-compliance has got the feds on the run. Our Hemp Freedom Act is a government jobs bill that can work – by simply limiting the federal government’s negative impact on our economy! Get an initiative going now, and we can push back at the state level against the feds and their illogical prohibition on industrial hemp. Fight to bring a sustainable industry back to America, and subvert unconstitutional federal power today!

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The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp.


From KTVZ.COM news sources

POSTED: 2:11 PM PST January 8, 2015

WASHINGTON –

Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., introduced legislation Thursday that would allow American farmers to grow and profit from industrial hemp.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill would remove hemp from the Schedule I controlled substance list under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, and would define it as a non-drug so long as it contained less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Oregon and Kentucky are among 20 states that have already defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and removed barriers to production. However, under current federal law, farmers in states that allow industrial hemp research and pilot programs must still seek a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Administration or risk raids and seizures by federal agents.

The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of hemp, but it remains the only major industrialized country that bans farming the product.

“The U.S. ban on hemp farming is an outrageous restriction on free enterprise and does nothing but hurt economic growth and job creation,” Wyden said. “Our bipartisan, commonsense bill is pro-environment, pro-business, and pro-farmer. Congress must act to empower farmers and boost economic activity across the country. As I’ve always said, if you can buy it in Oregon, you should be able to grow it in Oregon.”

"My vision for the farmers and manufacturers of Kentucky is to see us start growing hemp, creating jobs and leading the nation in this industry again,” Paul said. “Allowing farmers throughout our nation to cultivate industrial hemp and benefit from its many uses will boost our economy and bring much-needed jobs to the agriculture industry.”

“Industrial hemp has the potential to fuel jobs and research here in Oregon, and the federal government shouldn’t be standing in the way,” Merkley said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also cosponsored the bill.

The bill text is available here.

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Lexology Report: Congress temporarily de-funds US-DOJ medical marijuana prosecution but does not legalize medical marijuana


  • Littler Mendelson
  • Dale L. Deitchler
  •  

    • USA
    • December 30 2014

     

    Dale L. Deitchler Author page »

    In a few short paragraphs within the 1,603-page congressional spending bill signed into law on December 16, 2014, Congress prohibited the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute users, growers and distributors of medical marijuana in states that have enacted medical marijuana statutes.  The full text of the de-funding rider barring the DOJ from the use of funds to “prevent. . . implementation” of state and local laws legalizing medical marijuana states:

    Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

    Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions have upheld prosecution of medical marijuana growers and users under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  Nevertheless, the Obama Administration, as a matter of policy, has directed the DOJ to take a relaxed approach to prosecution and the DOJ has done so, except for use that impacts the DOJ’s “enforcement priorities” (e.g., preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels).  This new de-funding measure now codifies that policy approach as law.  (Notably, the rider does not affect IRS or Treasury Department actions relating to payment of taxes by marijuana suppliers and online banking).

    The legislation, however, does not legalize medical marijuana.  Rather, the federal ban on marijuana continues – i.e., both medical and recreational marijuana continue to be illegal under CSA Schedule I.  And, though de-funding may affect enforcement of criminal laws in states with medical marijuana statutes, it has no effect in states that have not legalized marijuana, nor does it express any limitations on employer action on the basis of a positive marijuana test result administered under a workplace drug testing policy.  Finally, the rider expires on September 30, 2015, and may or may not be renewed heading into the heart of the presidential election campaign in the fall of 2015.  For all of these reasons, though significant in reflecting current legislators’ thinking at the national level regarding CSA enforcement, the mere enactment of the spending bill with this provision does not warrant adjustment to drug testing policies of employers choosing to continue to treat confirmed positive marijuana test results as positive even when the result was caused by medicinal use that is lawful under state or local law.

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    Dr. Bronner’s Year-End Report from the Front Lines of the Fight for Cannabis Reform and GMO Labeling


    Both cannabis policy reform and the movement to label genetically engineered foods in the United States made huge strides in 2014. Major battles were won, some narrowly lost, but ultimately victory is inevitable. Our company Dr. Bronner’s has devoted significant financial, staff and other organizational resources to both movements, and it is instructive to analyze them side by side.

    First on the cannabis front, 2014 saw victories in DC (Measure 71: 70 to 30), Oregon (Measure 91: 56 to 44) and Alaska (Measure 2: 53 to 47), continuing the incredible momentum from victories in Washington (Initiative 502: 55 to 45) and Colorado (Amendment 64: 55 to 45) in 2012, themselves set up by the narrow loss in California in 2010 (Prop 19: 47 to 53) that triggered the first serious national and international debate on ending cannabis prohibition. Only Florida "lost" with 58% of votes in favor of medical marijuana, 2% short of the needed 60% (Measure 2). As most Huffington Post readers understand, by any rational measure of analysis marijuana use is much less problematic than alcohol, while its prohibition has caused untold harm to otherwise productive nonviolent citizens and their families, wasting taxpayer dollars and law enforcement resources.

    Dr. Bronner’s Director of Social Action, Adam Eidinger, was campaign manager for the successful Yes on 71 campaign in DC. Adam and Dr. Malik Burnett of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) alongside other stellar staff, ran an incredible campaign educating local voters as well as the country’s political elites nationally that prohibition is an unjust racist policy that disproportionately impacts communities of color. Despite blacks and whites using cannabis at similar rates, DC arrests over 8 times more black people than white people for cannabis possession. Saddling a young man with jail time and a record obviously compromises one’s future as well as tears families apart. Dr. Bronner’s contributed $100,000 directly to the campaign and $100,000 to Drug Policy Alliance, earmarked to help power Dr. Burnett’s crucial work there.

    Dr. Bronner’s also contributed $100,000 each to Oregon’s effort led by the New Approach team, as well as the Marijuana Policy Project’s (MPP) effort in Alaska. The contribution to MPP for Alaska was arguably much more crucial given the relatively small overall budget and closeness of the race in a traditionally red state. However, we also gave $2 million to the Oregon Yes on 92 GMO labeling campaign, that coordinated closely with the marijuana campaign in registering and driving the youth vote, that benefitted both campaigns tremendously.

    The Nation published a great article the week prior to the election that nails competing dynamics in play in the cannabis legalization movement. DC was the first legalization campaign to run primarily on a racial justice platform, and absolutely crushed it. Alaska’s campaign was based on the MPP "safer than alcohol" playbook that won in Colorado, while Oregon was run on the similar "New Approach" strategy that won in Washington state. Clearly there’s more than one way to win the fight for legalization. Looking forward to California and the four to five other states in play in 2016 we can draw from the best of all these efforts. California in particular will be important to write the model regulations that we want reflected at the national level, which will happen soon after the wins in 2016.

    While the Oregon and Alaska victories are sweet indeed, victory in DC for us was the sweetest. In the recent Congressional "cromnibus" spending bill debate, the crushing DC victory helped open room for riders to pass into law that prohibit the DEA from interfering with state medical marijuana programs as well as state industrial hemp programs. These are huge long-sought victories for the movement, and Americans for Safe Access (ASA) deserves most of the credit for successfully passing the medical marijuana rider via majority vote in the Republican house over the summer. Dr. Bronner’s has been a longtime supporter of ASA, having given close to $700,000 over the past ten years. Dr. Bronner’s has also been closely involved in efforts to re-commercialize industrial hemp farming, being a longtime supporter of Vote Hemp as well as recently being a crucial partner to the amazing efforts in Kentucky that have inspired the entire Kentucky federal delegation, including Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul, to publicly support and help make hemp farming a reality in the United States again.

    Unfortunately though, DC legalization itself seemed to be the sacrificial lamb in the spending bill debate, with Congress attempting to block implementation of DC’s legalization initiative. However, DC has been so galvanized by the overwhelming mandate and outraged by Congressional meddling, that they are challenging Congress to a showdown that Congress is highly unlikely to win, and legalization will be the law of the land in DC come January. The Guardian provided a great overview of this latest struggle in their "Capital v Capitol" story. The high profile national and international political theatre of DC standing up to Congress for its right to determine its own cannabis policy is incredible.

    What also makes the victory in DC extra special for Dr. Bronner’s, is that Washington Post Magazine ran a frustrating cover story on our own Adam Eidinger in January, and editorialized against Yes on 71 with weak, out of touch drug war hysteria in September. Back in January, I wrote an unpublished letter to the editor standing up for Adam and our advocacy work, which the 2014 election has now vindicated.

    My January 2014 Washington Post Magazine letter to the editor:

    Your cover story on local DC activist Adam Eidinger chose to inaccurately portray him as an ineffective Don Quixote figure, belittling the causes he fights for as well as our company. As explained to the reporter, we cap executive compensation at five times that of the lowest paid warehouse worker, and no profits are distributed to owners for personal use. Profits not needed for business development are dedicated to the causes we support.

    Adam is closely involved in how we strategically deploy resources to reform draconian drug laws that disproportionately target people of color; notably Washington, D.C. has the highest arrest rate for low level marijuana violations. Adam has also effectively helped build the national movement to label genetically engineered food crops. We are fighting the chemical industry machine that has enthralled much of our country’s elites, to expose their agenda to engineer resistance to the toxic chemical herbicides they sell (Google "Agent Orange Corn" to see what’s coming next).

    There were moments when Adam’s true stature was portrayed, but ultimately was undermined by a shallow and frivolous anti-activist caricature.

    As a sign of the political and cultural turning of the tide, it’s also worth noting that the New York Times called for ending cannabis prohibition nationally in a series of well-written editorials over the summer.

    Pivoting to the fight for GMO labeling, the movement in its modern resurgent form is only a few years old, driven largely by widespread and growing alarm at ever-increasing amounts of toxic pesticides applied to genetically engineered crops. See for example Tom Philpott’s article "How GMOs Unleashed a Pesticide Gusher" in Mother Jones. Over 99% of GMO crops in US soil are engineered to produce insecticide and/or tolerate heavy herbicide use, which like overdosing antibiotics in factory farms has rapidly created resistance in target weed and insect populations. GMO crops are being saturated with ever more toxic pesticides, including neonicotinoid insecticides banned in the EU due to suspected link to massive bee die-offs and Colony Collapse Disorder. While this is great for the chemical industry that both sells the GMOs and the pesticides used on them, our environment and collective health are paying the price. 64 other countries have the right to know if their food is genetically engineered, but the chemical and junk food industry have spent tens of millions of dollars to make sure Americans are kept in the dark.

    In the face of record spending by pesticide and junk food companies, the GMO labeling movement gained huge momentum and strength from narrow losses to enact mandatory GMO labeling in California in 2012 (Prop 37: 49 to 51) and Washington in 2013 (Initiative 522: 49 to 51), and set up major victories in 2014. In May, Vermont became the first state to enact mandatory labeling, and Jackson county in Oregon banned planting of GMO crops due to GMO sugarbeet pollen contaminating and ruining neighboring fields (Measure 15-119: 66 to 34). Maui also banned genetically engineered crops because of massive pesticide spraying (See Maui County Genetically Modified Organism Moratorium Initiative: 51 to 49). And statewide in Oregon, the Yes on 92 campaign came within five hundredths of one percent of winning (Measure 92: 49.97 to 50.03), showing friend and foe alike how easily we can win in a bigger 2016 presidential electorate. An underfunded effort in Colorado did not fare well, unfortunately, but it serves as an important movement lesson for 2016.

    Dr. Bronner’s was a leading financial contributor to all these efforts, and also devoted significant staff time and other organizational resources, especially to the Oregon effort. Two great articles to review in particular are Katie Ayers’ "Oregon Poised to Mandate GMO Labeling" in Reader Supported News that really dives into the heart of the matter; and also this thorough piece in the Register Guard "Even If Defeated GMO Issue Is Not Going Away."

    Vermont, Jackson county and Maui are all currently being sued by the pesticide and junk food industries, and these industries are frantically lobbying Congress to pre-empt states’ rights to enact mandatory labeling of GMOs. They know that the nationwide movement to label GMOs continues to surge and grow in strength even as their major GMO traits continue to fail and pesticide use goes through the roof. The USDA audits chemical inputs every five years for major crops, and in spring of 2015 will publish updated data on herbicide and insecticide use on GMO corn that will force even the most biased journalists and scientists to confront the truth that GMOs amount to a massive pesticide industry boondoggle that is not boosting yields.

    I published a popular Huffington Post blog article about major mainstream media publications running interference and covering for the pesticide industry even as EPA and USDA rubber-stamped approval for their next generation 2,4 D herbicide tolerant crops. We expect, as with the movement arc of ending cannabis prohibition, that more and more major media will wake up and get a clue; but those that don’t are just another obstacle on the way to inevitable victory.

    The bottom line is, the GMO labeling movement is on fire and surging. We will likely prevail in one to two New England states legislatively in 2015, and as necessary in a major state in 2016 via the initiative process, as we keep bringing a bigger, better and more strategic fight. Like the narrow loss on the cannabis front with Prop 19 in 2010 in California, which educated and moved the debate forward setting up subsequent victories in 2012, the GMO labeling movement is poised to rack up major wins in 2016. But we are as likely to achieve victory through the market by 2016, as we are unleashing and fueling major cultural and market drivers and expect more and more food companies to flip and accept mandatory labeling just as they did in Europe. Chipotle is already disclosing and moving away from GMOs, as is Cheerios, Grape Nuts and other high profile brands. Whole Foods is mandating GMO labeling of all products by 2018 in its stores and many major mainstream retailers have refused to carry GMO salmon if or when approved.

    Our experience with the movement to end cannabis prohibition over the past 15 years shows how much faster and stronger the modern movement to label GMOs is growing in a much shorter time. People are waking up that we have to transform our agricultural policies and dietary choices and eat more sustainably if we want to feed future generations, which requires as a first step that citizens are properly informed and empowered to make wise choices.

    More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bronner/dr-bronners-yearend-repor_b_6357178.html

    Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Marijuana GMO GMO Labeling Marijuana Marijuana Pesticides Hemp Genetically Modified Food Justice

    Oregon liberals, Kentucky conservatives bond over hemp


    Congressmen, senators work to greenlight hemp growing

    By Taylor W. Anderson / The Bulletin / @taylorwanderson

    Published Dec 20, 2014 at 12:01AM / Updated Dec 20, 2014 at 07:52AM

    Related articles:

    SALEM — Amid a fight that is spreading to Congress from the 18 states that have legalized hemp production, unlikely partnerships between congressmen have formed in Washington, D.C.

    Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Portland liberal Democrat who has spent four decades working to change federal drug policy, paired with Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, among others, to create a major shift in the federal government’s view of hemp early this year.

    The two helped put a provision into the 2014 Farm Bill that separated marijuana and hemp for research purposes, effectively creating an outlet states could use to create hemp programs.

    Oregon Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, also put forward a similar provision.

    “It’s not every day you see Earl Blumenauer working with Thomas Massie,” said Eric Steenstra, president of the hemp advocacy group Vote Hemp. “It was a collaborative effort and they supported each other. It was good. We need more of that.”

    But the unlikely congressional pairing didn’t stop there.

    Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky put a provision in last week’s $1.1 trillion spending bill to strip from federal agencies the power to prosecute hemp.

    “I think you’ve got a situation here where, it might surprise some people, but there have been efforts to deal with cultivation of hemp,” Blumenauer said in a phone interview Friday. “Allowing it to happen has taken hold in both” Kentucky and Oregon.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration engaged in a battle that irked Kentucky officials when the agency seized 250 pounds of seeds that were being imported through Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture to launch its hemp program in May.

    Blumenauer, who was directly involved in fighting for the Oregon ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana, pointed out he looks for bipartisan support for all of his bills.

    “I guess McConnell picked it up and ran with it because it’s popular at home. I wish more people would pick it up and run with it because it is popular,” Blumenauer added.

    Oregon is close to finishing a drawn-out process of creating rules for hemp growers to follow as the state looks to regulate a plant that has been illegal federally for four decades.

    — Reporter: 406-589-4347,

    tanderson@bendbulletin.com

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    Ky Ag looking for farmers to grow hemp


    Last updated: December 04. 2014 11:07AM – 1102 Views

    By Chris Cooperccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

     

    The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications from the state’s farmers who would like to participate in an industrial hemp pilot project the beginning of next year.

    The application deadline is Jan. 1. Logan County farmers can find and fill out an application at http://www.kyagr.com/hemp.

    Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced earlier in the year that he is creating industrial hemp pilot projects in Kentucky. The pilot projects were made possible by the passage of the United States Farm Bill that was signed into law by the President on Feb. 7.

    Commissioner Comer and Attorney General Jack Conway have been in direct communication for a couple of months regarding hemp production in Kentucky, and senior staff in both of their offices are reviewing language for pilot programs that ensure compliance with the parameters outlined in the federal farm bill.

    The Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Program is the result of the passage of two separate laws: Kentucky’s Senate Bill 50, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2013, and the 2014 Federal Farm Bill signed into law Feb. 7, 2014. Senate Bill 50 exempted industrial hemp from the state controlled substances act but also mandated that Kentucky follow all federal rules and regulations with respect to industrial hemp. The Federal Farm Bill allows state departments of agriculture, in states where industrial hemp is legal, to administer industrial hemp pilot programs in conjunction with universities for the purposes of research and development.

    Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species as marijuana. However, hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. Industrial hemp refers to cannabis varieties that are primarily grown as an agricultural crop. Hemp plants are low in THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s primary psychoactive chemical). THC levels for hemp generally are less than 1 percent. Federal legislation that would exclude hemp from the legal definition of marijuana would set a ceiling of 0.3 percent THC for a cannabis variety to be identified as hemp. Marijuana refers to the flowering tops and leaves of psychoactive cannabis varieties, which are grown for their high content of THC. THC levels for marijuana average about 10 percent but can go much higher.

    Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products, including: fabrics and textiles, yarns and raw or processed spun fibers, paper, carpeting, home furnishings, construction and insulation materials, auto parts, composites, animal bedding, foods and beverages, body care products, nutritional supplements, industrial oils, cosmetics, personal care and pharmaceuticals.

    An estimated 55,700 metric tons of industrial hemp are produced around the world each year. China, Russia, and South Korea are the leading hemp-producing nations. They account for 70 percent of the world’s industrial hemp supply.

    Canada had 38,828 licensed acres of industrial hemp in 2011. Canadian exports of hemp seed and hemp products were estimated at more than $10 million, with most going to the U.S.

    Because there is no commercial industrial hemp production in the United States, the U.S. market is largely dependent on imports, both as finished hemp-containing products and as ingredients for use in further processing. More than 30 nations grow industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not allow industrial hemp production. Current industry estimates report that U.S. retail sales of all hemp-based products may exceed $300 million per year.

    To contact Chris Cooper, email ccooper@newsdemocratleader.comm or call 270-726-8394.

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    Kentucky’s great hemp hope


    In industrial hemp, the state of Rand Paul and Wendell Berry sees a solution to its post-agrarian ills

    November 12, 2014 5:00AM ET

    by Michael Ames @mirkel

    Mike Lewis hemp

    Mike Lewis, a farmer who employs veterans on his farm, was recruited by Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer to join the state’s hemp crusade.

    MOUNT VERNON, Ky. — Mike Lewis doesn’t want to talk about marijuana. He is an organic farmer, the son of a retired federal agent, and he follows the law. 

    "If you’re gonna talk about drugs, you’re going to have to leave my property," he said to the group of entrepreneurs and activists who had traveled to central Kentucky to see his farm, one of the few legal, private hemp operations in the country. The threat sounded serious, and with it, Lewis had everyone’s attention. "We’re here today to talk about building an industry."

    The most progressive cannabis program in the United States won’t get anyone stoned. But while officials in Colorado and Washington state await the results (and reap millions in taxes) of their drug-legalization experiments, conservative Kentucky has launched an ambitious and industrious project devoted to the ancient, controversial plants. Marijuana remains illegal here, but with industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive cannabis varietal with dozens of commercial uses, the state sees a different kind of salvation, an old-fashioned agrarian answer to a variety of 21st-century American ills.

    Seven university-affiliated grow sites in the state, spread from the Mississippi valley in the west to the Appalachian east, are researching hemp’s potentials. Eastern Kentucky University is studying bio-fuels. Manufacturers are talking up hemp-based car parts and hempcrete, a biodegradable construction material. Bio-chemical engineers in Louisville will test the plant’s capacity to remediate the city’s toxic dumps. In struggling Appalachia, where thousands of families were wiped out when the federal government ended its tobacco subsidies, small farmers are wondering whether hemp can fill an economic vacuum. Wherever Kentucky has a problem, it seems industrial hemp has an answer.

    The initiative was launched by the state’s agriculture commissioner, Republican James Comer, who ran for the office (an influential position in a predominately rural state), largely on his hemp visions.

    "We thought he was crazy," recalled Holly Harris, who served as general counsel for the state GOP during Comer’s 2011 campaign. "The party chatter was, ‘This guy is crazy.’" But after Comer won that race — the only Kentucky Republican elected to statewide office that year — Harris was hired as his chief of staff and witnessed what she described as the most wild and memorable political experience of her career.

    The conventional wisdom was that hemp was a political nonstarter, a fringe concern better fit for liberal states like Colorado or Washington, where marijuana prohibition was already being phased out. The conservative-led coalition that gathered around Comer’s agenda destroyed those assumptions. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul was instrumental, recruiting a delegation to testify in support of the state’s legalization measure; the group included Louisville Democrat John Yarmuth, libertarian conservative Thomas Massie and former Central Intelligence Agency director James Woolsey. When Paul spoke at the hearing on Senate Bill 50, he wore his favorite button-down hemp shirt. In Washington, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also of Kentucky, amended the 2014 farm bill to permit the plan under federal law. As the legal and political hurdles fell, Comer revived the long-moribund state Industrial Hemp Commission, a committee of stakeholders and experts responsible for getting the industry off the ground. Funding arrived from RandPAC (Paul’s political action committee) on the right, and from a standard hippie culture staple, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. The two organizations provide the entirety of the commission’s budget.

    Kentucky is not entirely alone in the legalization movement. Lawmakers in many rural states are frustrated by the fact that, while it’s perfectly legal to sell hemp products made in other countries, federal law denies independent farmers the right to grown their own. In recent years, more than a dozen states have passed legislation that, to varying degrees, allows colleges, universities, and state agriculture agencies to research, grow and market the plant. Comer, however, took the additional step of licensing farmers like Lewis as state contractors, something no other state has done. In Colorado, farmers are allowed to grow the crop, but “it’s more like don’t ask don’t tell,” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, the industries chief lobbying group. Kentucky, he said, “pushed the envelope and are letting farmers do commercial activity as research.”

    It’s been less than five months since Lewis planted his first seeds, and he said that he is currently in talks with more than a dozen manufacturing companies interested in processing hemp for a dizzying range of commercial and industrial applications, including health supplements, building insulation and bedding for Kentucky thoroughbreds. He said that a plastics company, which did not want to be named, is interested in processing hemp fibers into durable car paneling, a practice that European automakers have been using for years.

    "We saw there is real opportunity," Lewis said. "We want to work with these people to create products, to drive dollars into the local economy." At this point, with so much energy and promise, Lewis "suffers from the oppression of opportunity." His biggest problem, he said, "is managing expectations."

    PLEASE CONTINUE READING….

    Hemp grown in Kentucky to be tried as horse bedding


     

    15890419-cannabis-leaf-isolated-on-white-background

     

     

    Follow us: @HorsetalkNZ on Twitter | Horsetalk on Facebook

    Some of the harvest from industrial hemp crops grown in Kentucky as part of a pilot program will be tried out for stable bedding.

    Seeds were released to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in time for late-May and early-June planting.

    The trial involved the planting of 13 different varieties to assess their performance and the quality of the fiber produced.

    It is understood most of the fields have just been harvested in the trial, which has used the skills of tertiary institutions across Kentucky.

    Researchers intend to assess the crop for a variety of uses, including as stable bedding for horses. Some of the crop will be tested for use in textiles and biofuels

    Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/10/21/hemp-grown-kentucky-horse-bedding/#ixzz3GwcYF1HV

    UK Harvests First Hemp Crop, Expects to Learn Much from Data


    University of Kentucky researchers today harvested the university’s first hemp crop in decades – and one of the first legal crops used in research trials.

    “It was a good growing season for many crops, not just hemp,” said David Williams, UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment agronomist and co-project lead. “Precipitation was excellent this year and more than adequate for growth. The only downside to the growing season was that we planted a little bit late, but I don’t think that had much effect on the crop.”

    UK’s research plot, planted May 27, was one of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s pilot studies to reintroduce hemp production in Kentucky. UK’s study was conducted in conjunction with Eastern Kentucky University and Kentucky State University.

    “This crop will yield significant data about production techniques, which varieties do best in Kentucky and which of the many uses of hemp are most likely to succeed here,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who has championed the cause of returning hemp production to the commonwealth.

    Kentucky was a national leader in hemp production before the crop was outlawed in the United States due to its similarity to marijuana. Many agricultural advances have occurred since then, so research trials were necessary to determine the crop’s viability in an ever-changing agricultural economy.

    UK researchers used a sickle bar mower to harvest the crop in the same manner that hay is harvested.

    “Our plan was to simply lay the crop on the ground where the elements will begin to break down or ‘ret’ the hemp,” said Rich Mundell, co-project lead and an agronomist in the Kentucky Tobacco Research Development Center. “Because the hemp was very tall (about 10 feet) we felt the sickle bar mower would do a better job than a more commonly used disc mower.”

    UK’s research project included 13 different varieties managed for either fiber production or seed production.

    After the harvest, researchers will analyze and compare the different varieties to find one that’s best suited for the state and then present the results to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

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