All posts by ShereeKrider

U.S. Marijuana Party - Organizer U.S. Marijuana Party Kentucky Sheree Krider, LLC Cave City, Kentucky 42127 270-834-7332

Agencies clarify requirements for providing financial services to hemp-related businesses

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From Board of Governors Federal Reserve System

Agencies clarify requirements for providing financial services to hemp-related businesses

December 3, 2019 

WASHINGTON-Four federal agencies in conjunction with the state bank regulators today issued a statement clarifying the legal status of hemp growth and production and the relevant requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) for banks providing services to hemp-related businesses.

The statement emphasizes that banks are no longer required to file suspicious activity reports (SAR) for customers solely because they are engaged in the growth or cultivation of hemp in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. For hemp-related customers, banks are expected to follow standard SAR procedures, and file a SAR if indicia of suspicious activity warrants.

This statement provides banks with background information on the legal status of hemp, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) interim final rule on the production of hemp, and the BSA considerations when providing banking services to hemp-related businesses.

This statement also indicates that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will issue additional guidance after further reviewing and evaluating the USDA interim final rule.

The statement was issued by the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, FinCEN, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. Banks can contact the USDA, state departments of agriculture, and tribal governments with further questions regarding the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) and its implementing regulations.

Joint Guidance on Providing Financial Services to Customers Engaged in Hemp-Related Businesses (PDF)

For Federal Reserve Board media inquiries please contact Darren Gersh at 202-452-2955.

Source Link

On Tuesday, November 5th, WE Must Be The Change In Kentucky! Vote HICKS/CORMICAN! This Is Why…

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On Tuesday, November 5th, the most important election in Kentucky in many years is about to happen!

I am not here to argue with anyone.  I am here to present the facts and my opinion as I see it.

Therefore,

First of all, you must vote to see change!  If you are eligible to Vote and are registered to do so – You must VOTE!  It is your Civic Duty.  And if you are eligible to vote but did not register, shame on you!

IF you want a change in your Government, you have to vote for the people who will CHANGE the way things are being done in           Kentucky!

You CANNOT vote for a Democrat or Republican and expect anything to change – only to get worse!  So if that is what you want, then go for it!

Otherwise, BE THE CHANGE that Kentucky must have in order to succeed!  John Hicks and Ann Cormican – Libertarian are running for the most important office in the State.  That is where we must start!  At the top!

On November 1st, Rep. Jason Nemes prefiled this years “medical marijuana bill” for Kentucky.  It will become House Bill 136 when the Session opens in January, and if it passes we will once again become Slaves to the system!  A few points on the Bill as written are:

*  Department for Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control to implement and regulate the medicinal marijuana program in Kentucky;

*  establish the Division of Medicinal Marijuana within the Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control;

establish restrictions on the possession of medicinal marijuana by qualifying patients, visiting patients, and designated caregivers;

*  establish certain protections for cardholders;

*  establish professional protections for practitioners; to provide for the authorizing of practitioners by state licensing boards to issue written certifications for the use medicinal marijuana;

*  establish professional protections for attorneys;

* prohibit the possession and use of medicinal marijuana while operating a motor vehicle;

to prohibit smoking of medicinal marijuana;

* to permit an employer to restrict the possession and use of medicinal marijuana by an employee;

*  to require the department to implement and operate a registry identification card program; to establish requirements for registry identification cards; to establish registry identification card fees; to require the department to operate a provisional licensure receipt system; to establish the application requirements for a registry identification card; to establish when the department may deny an application for a registry identification card;

*  establish certain responsibilities for cardholders; to establish when a registry identification card may be revoked;

*  establish various cannabis business licensure categories; to establish tiering of cannabis business licenses; to require certain information be included in an application for a cannabis business license; to establish when the department may deny an application for a cannabis business license;

*  to establish rules for local sales, including establishing the process by which a local legislative body may prohibit the operation of cannabis businesses within its territory and the process for local ordinances and ballot initiatives;

*  establish technical requirements for cannabis businesses;

to establish limits on the THC content of medicinal marijuana that can be produced or sold in the state;

*  to establish requirements for cannabis cultivators, including cultivation square footage limits; to establish requirements for cannabis dispensaries; to establish requirements for safety compliance facilities; to establish requirements for cannabis processors; to establish procedures for the department to inspect cannabis businesses;

to exempt certain records and information from the disclosure under the Kentucky Open Records Act;

*  to establish that nothing in the bill requires government programs or private insurers to reimburse for the cost of use; to establish the medicinal marijuana trust fund; to establish the local medicinal marijuana trust fund; and to establish procedures for the distribution of local cannabis trust fund moneys;

*  create a new section of KRS Chapter 138 to establish an excise tax of 12% for cultivators and processors for selling to dispensaries; to require that 80% of the revenue from the excise taxes be deposited into the medicinal marijuana trust fund; to require that 20% of the revenue from the excise taxes be deposited into the local medicinal marijuana trust fund; amend KRS 342.815 to establish that the Employer’s Mutual Insurance Authority shall not be required to provide coverage to an employer if doing so would subject the authority to a violation of state or federal law;

Is this what you want?

The above is not all inclusive of the regulations, and they will no doubt change again when it is introduced in January.  Read the Bill!

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Please note that there are NO provisions for “smokable cannabis”, and NO mention of Children’s rights either.  There are NO provisions for growing your own plants, and this BILL in my opinion is being promoted for the Corporate/Pharmaceutical industry. 

Out of all the Bills previously submitted for “medical” or “adult use” Cannabis in Kentucky this is the worst one yet!  Do not fall for the legal lies which they are feeding you because they are preying on your fears for your Children’s needs, mostly.  The fact is, what M.D., is going to give you permission or a written statement that will give you the right to medicate your child with Cannabis?  The answer to that is virtually none, and if there was even one that WOULD do it there is no guarantee that you will be able to access that Physician!

The bill would prohibit the smoking of marijuana for medical purposes, but would allow other forms of consumption, such as edibles, oils and pills.  A 12% excise tax is proposed for cultivators and processors for selling to dispensaries.  LINK

I have consulted with several other Senior Activists in Kentucky over this issue and we all surmised basically the same opinions on the matter!  This is in NO way a repeal of prohibition of Cannabis and in no way will it ascertain our rights to this plant – medically or otherwise.  It is however, worth some $$$ to Corporate Ventures and Kentucky Government as it now stands!

In my opinion, for those parents who have seriously ill children in need of this medicine they need to consider moving to a honest medical cannabis State such as Colorado or elsewhere.  For those who are unable to do this due to financial situations we must set up a fund to enable them to do so.  I can honestly say that if it were my child that is exactly what I would do!  Not because I want to leave my home in Kentucky, but because my Childs life is more important and I would be compelled to do so, IF John Hicks and Ann Cormican are not elected. 

The “Undergreen Railroad” is one such organization.  I will look into this organization further, especially if Hicks/Cormican are not elected, because you all are going to need it!

Finally, we come to the third candidate in the governor’s race. Libertarian John Hicks. John is a Vietnam Era Army veteran, a former school teacher, and currently an IT consultant. He has a BA Degree in Political Science and History. He has never held political office, but ran previously for State Representative (District 43) in 2018. John is pro-life and believes government should stay out of personal issues.
John supports the legalization of marijuana, expanded gaming, and the development of hemp as sources of additional state revenue (better than raising taxes!). He also believes that the best way to compensate for budget shortfalls is to reduce the size of government and streamlining operations. Additionally, John Hicks supports election reform; specifically by introducing run-offs, using ranked choice voting, proportional representation, multi member districts which would end partisan gerrymandering.
   LINK

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Manages Kentucky Open Source Society

John Hicks IS qualified for the position of Governor, as he IS ONE OF US!  He will bring us liberty and fight for OUR rights as Kentucky Citizens!

We need to show the entire Country what Kentucky can do when faced with such a dire situation – It’s not just about Cannabis – It is about Liberty and  Justice for All!

Please make the right choice for our State, our Families, our Children, and our Country!

Do not condemn Our State once again!

God Bless You All

smkrider

11/3/2019

https://www.facebook.com/HicksForKentucky/

https://www.facebook.com/hicksforkygov/

https://www.facebook.com/jason.nemes.1/posts/3321913687848659

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3321910424515652&set=a.170767459629980&type=3&theater

https://legislature.ky.gov/Legislators/Pages/Legislator-Profile.aspx?DistrictNumber=33

https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/20rs/prefiled/BR366.html?fbclid=IwAR1A_cH3LEwMDixbcMN1o5u5XrRB-gFQZM4qmAaZXrIZa9aYUjEjmeA4vgE

https://www.facebook.com/johnrhicks?__tn__=%2Cd-]-h-R&eid=ARANzRCvypZKWWjzlKWQixSeBkF7a97sNZINNMIU-dY8JZZgHxFfuPbr1urQ6ro5Ui9nfNGocWfFP88Z

http://www.anotheropinionblog.com/2019/11/the-2019-kentucky-election-main-event.html?fbclid=IwAR2vzCm-4QDieeyVDP2XKDUtgvSHkcivekuOVKzOCd2JiYaFJEGca1AFr7o

https://www.wlky.com/article/kentucky-lawmaker-prefiles-bill-to-legalize-medical-marijuana/29669383?fbclid=IwAR2a8kMPicpnBgioaeKcHaEoYxiuBNGC3bzvwhGsb10DS7DoVeHIMu3wBD0#

http://www.ladybud.com/2014/01/14/the-undergreen-railroad-helping-patients-relocate-for-cannabis-access/

The great race to become the World’s weed supplier

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Submitted by Marijuana News on Fri, 10/11/2019

Companies vying to be the biggest cannabis producer in America or Canada are wasting their time and suffering from a crippling lack of vision. The real play is to make a bid to become the worldwide leader in global cannabis exports — like firms in Jamaica and Lesotho as well as Canada are attempting to do — and the window of time to get in is closing fast, according to one entrepreneur with clear-cut plans to curb that market.

Though recreational cannabis is now available in two countries, medical marijuana is legal in about 50 and not every country produces adequate supply to fulfill domestic demand. Over the long-term, the thinking goes, cannabis will become like any other agricultural commodity and production will shift to the locale where costs are lowest. But so far, the limited export game has been dominated by a few players, most of whom are either occupying a very limited lane or banking on the future.

An example of the former, Bedrocan in the Netherlands, produces cannabis solely for the government authority, which then exports most of it to Germany. Bophelo Bioscience and Wellness, a startup recently acquired by a Canadian-firm and based in tiny Lesotho, the first country in Africa to legalize cannabis, is an example of the latter. Somewhere else is a company like Fotmer Life Sciences in Uruguay, which is hoping to supplant both.

The world’s most popular illicit drug, cannabis boasts at least 263 million users worldwide, according to a New Frontier Data estimate, who in turn consume $340 billion worth annually, most of which is still on the underground market. At the moment, with so few legal companies producing cannabis and even fewer exporting, it’s a seller’s market. That state of play — flux, uncertainty, opportunity — will last only about another five years, said Jordan Lewis, an American entrepreneur who is Fotmer’s CEO.

Fotmer was in the news much last week as the company prepared its first shipment of export cannabis: 22 pounds, headed for medical cannabis patients in Australia. After that, Fotmer hopes to start competing with Bedrocan and begin shipping cannabis flower and oil to Germany, with up to 220 pounds or so per month headed out of the country to global customers, as he told Reuters.

Most of that will go to Europe, which “right now represents the single largest market in the next five years,” Lewis told Supplychainbrain.com.

The window for producers to charge high prices, before a reliable global supply floods the market, is now through 2024, he added, with high THC oils and plants to preserve their value longer than CBD products.

The modest first shipment is a tiny fraction of the company’s capacity. Fotmer currently has government approval to produce up to 10 tons of flower and 5 tons of oil, said Lewis — who added that he’s asking the Uruguayan government to allow him to grow 15 times that, in order to curb that global market. (He’s also shopping for a “large strategic partner” to provide the estimated $60 million of start-up capital needed to grow all that cannabis.)

If Lewis is right and producers in other companies join in, Fotmer may be well positioned to remain competitive, an outlook shared by other analysts. As New Frontier Data noted in a global market analysis released earlier this year, South America is considered a future hub for cannabis production thanks to an agreeable climate and low labor costs.

If countries decide that domestic suppliers are preferable and throw up tariffs, Lewis’s play could disappear. Or perhaps the best praxis is to play off of the incredible hype around the cannabis industry and get acquired. The point is that in a world obsessed with the next big thing, cannabis is very quickly approaching critical mass, and entrepreneurs are slowly catching on.

CONTINE READING…

Authored By: Cannabis Now

Article category: Marijuana Business News

Amid regulatory uncertainty and global demand, China’s hemp industry is booming

Submitted by Marijuana News on Tue, 10/08/2019 – 10:38

China has a zero tolerance approach to marijuana (along with numerous other drugs), yet surprisingly it is the world’s largest producer of hemp, and also the world’s largest exporter of this increasingly lucrative plant.

While chances of medical marijuana being legalized in China are seemingly next to none, calls for a clear policy when it comes to industrial hemp and CBD products are increasing — as is the plant’s production in the country.

While cannabidiol (CBD) has become as widely proliferated as over-the-counter painkillers in the West, products using this hemp-derived compound have yet to be seen stocking store shelves in China. The plant it originates from, however, has had a far lengthier history. Ma (麻), the Chinese word for hemp, has actually been in use for thousands of years, widely enough that the classic text Book of Odes, or Shi Jing (诗经), contains many references to hemp use in the daily lives of Chinese people from the 11th to 7th century BCE.

The cultivation of hemp was made illegal in 1985, despite China having a long history with the crop. It was only in 2010, after a push by locals, that authorities again allowed it to be grown on an industrial scale in Yunnan province in southwest China.

Marijuana plants containing the psychoactive agent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are to date resoundingly illegal within China — despite what Randy from South Park might think — but plants containing quantities of CBD fall into a grayer area.

As it stands, companies are allowed to farm industrial hemp in Heilongjiang and Yunnan provinces (in China’s northeast and southwest respectively). China Daily reported early this year that talk of farmers being allowed to grow industrial hemp in Jilin province (next door to Heilongjiang), which had begun in 2017, had proven fruitful. Additional sources attest that hemp is also legally being grown in regions such as Anhui, Gansu, and Xinjiang.

Figures provided on Hanma Industrial Group Co. Ltd.’s website — one of China’s leading hemp producers — show that half a million hectares of land were used to grow hemp in Anhui province, close to Shanghai in eastern China, in 2014. Other provinces, excluding Heilongjiang and Yunnan, accounted for 0.4 million hectares. Curiously, many media outlets fail to report these facts.

This confusion as to the location of hemp farms in the country is perhaps related to the distinctions of industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is a marijuana plant (cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa var. sativa) specifically bred to contain the least amount of THC possible, and has a wide range of applications. Industrial hemp is the most commonly farmed hemp strain, although China is home to hemp plants from 33 families and more than 90 genera, including ramie, flax, jute, kenaf, sisal hemp, and abaca.

With that being said, police have historically targeted marijuana plants grown outside of the industry complex. This year, for instance, authorities eradicated 10,000 wild plants growing alongside the Yongding river in Beijing’s Fengtai district.

The mood at the Industrial Cannabis Forum of Listed Companies in mid-August was pragmatic in the face of such continued confusion over regulations in the industry. Participants called for more clearly defined policies on the issues, while Yuan Hua, general manager of Kunming Pharmaceutical Group, said that China’s cannabis industry will need an additional two to three years’ time to establish itself. Her suggestion for companies in the meantime was “research and development,” in order to create new pharmaceuticals and products and lay the groundwork for the future of the industry.

With the recent rise in products containing CBD around the globe, Chinese hemp farmers and companies have begun to turn their attention to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, beverages, and other products that use CBD in some form.

Tan Xin, chairman and founder of Hanma Investment Group Co. Ltd., tells us: “We did a lot of research in the early days and saw that investors like Peter Thiel and George Soros had put money into this industry. We believe this business has huge potential.”

As an example of the potential lucrative nature of this industry, consider that July to late September/early October is usually harvesting season for hemp plants in China. As more companies seek to gain a foothold in this fledgling market — and news of developments like the legalization of industrial hemp farming in Jilin province has spread — stock prices for firms such as Dezhan Health and Meiyingsen have soared this year not only during harvest time, but since the beginning of 2019, prompting international media outlets like The New York Times to sit up and take notice.

Yet in a move that perhaps put a damper on the industry, the Chinese National Anti-Drug Committee published a release in mid-March earlier this year re-clarifying the country’s stance on industrial hemp farming. The release plainly stated that CBD is not included on the list of narcotic drugs in the country, and that it is not a controlled drug. It also stated that marijuana with a THC content of 0.3% or less can be grown in certain parts of China. While this release certainly clarified parts of China’s stance on CBD, it was also vague in many areas and had a negative effect on multiple stocks on Chinese exchanges, prompting investors to sell off.

Nonetheless, people like Tan are optimistic about the future of CBD in the country, particularly in the beauty industry. “Nowadays, CBD is considered an ‘all-purpose ingredient’ [for beauty] in the Western world,” says Tan. “It not only has a therapeutic effect on skin diseases, but is also effective in terms of oil control, acne, and skin whitening.

While research and development for all types of products using CBD is technically legal, only beauty products with CBD are legal to sell in China.

“Since 2015, ‘hemp leaf extraction’ can be legally used in cosmetics,” says Tan. “And because the cosmetics industry is so huge in China, we have a good shot in this business.”

He adds however that pharmaceuticals and health products remain the company’s biggest priority at the moment.

All of this points to the crux of China’s argument for the widespread legalization of industrial hemp farming and CBD use in medicine: health.

Many tout the benefits of CBD in treating conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, as well as providing pain relief, though research on some of these claims is as of yet inconclusive. According to a report by Global Times, China holds 309 of the world’s 606 hemp-related patents, but due to legal restrictions, Chinese-made food and medicine containing CBD can only find a market outside of the country, in places like the US and the EU.

As Tan puts it, “the hemp industry is a health industry. Nothing will keep us from the pursuit of health.”

CONTINUE READING…

Authored By: Radii China


(KY) (HEMP) New Herbicide Approved by EPA

Kentucky Heligen 24(c) Request Approved; Can Help Control Corn Earworm, Cotton Bollworm, and Tobacco Budworm

Heligen, manufactured by AgBiTech Pty Ltd, can now be used on industrial hemp in Kentucky to aid in control of corn earworm, cotton bollworm and tobacco budworm.

This has been accomplished through a Special Local Needs (SLN) 24(c) request submitted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) to the EPA.

Use of Heligen (EPA Registration No.: 87978-2) is approved through December 31, 2024 unless the SLN is otherwise amended, withdrawn, canceled or suspended.

Hemp producers are responsible for determining which pesticides can be used and in what manner.

KDA encourages growers to work with processors or purchasers on what will be acceptable before applying this or any product. Heligen also will be added to KDA’s online list of Pesticide Products Registered for Industrial Hemp in Kentucky.

Doris Hamilton

Industrial Hemp Program Manager

Department of Agriculture

Office of Marketing

111 Corporate Drive

Frankfort, KY 40601

2020 Kentucky Hemp Program Application Period To Open Nov. 15

View as Webpage 

Sean Southard

sean.southard@ky.gov

(502) 782-9253

For Immediate Release

FRANKFORT (Sept. 27, 2019) – Kentucky hemp growers and processors may apply for a hemp license from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) hemp program for 2020 beginning November 15, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced.

“We are constantly looking for ways to improve our hemp program,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We are making significant changes to the application process for the 2020 growing season to make it work better for Kentucky’s growers and processors. 2019 will be a record-breaking year for Kentucky’s hemp program, and we expect continued growth in 2020.”

Among the major application changes in 2020:

  • KDA will accept grower applications from November 15, 2019, to March 15, 2020.
  • KDA will accept processor/handler applications beginning on November 15, 2019.
  • The KDA will host an online application on its hemp webpage, kyagr.com/hemp.
  • The new online application will include a mapping function.

“Kentucky continues to be the tip of the spear on restoring this crop, but I always remind folks that we are still in the infancy of the restoration. Challenges persist, ranging from federal uncertainty regarding cannabinol to banking and lending issues,” Commissioner Quarles said. “Any business venture – especially in a new industry – carries risk, and the hemp industry is no exception. It is important that our growers and processors remain clear-eyed about the opportunities and challenges ahead of us in the years to come.”

For those interested in learning more about Kentucky’s hemp program, KDA will host a Kentucky Hemp Summit for growers, processors, and other interested parties on December 4, 2019, at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

The 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the federal Controlled Substances Act, gave hemp growers increased access to USDA programs, and outlined the minimum requirements a state regulatory framework must contain to earn approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The federal Risk Management Agency announced in August that certain hemp growers may obtain insurance coverage under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Program in 2020.

For more information about KDA’s hemp research pilot program, go to kyagr.com/hemp .

SOURCE

China Is Making a Major Play for American Farms and Farmland

Companies backed by the Chinese government are making Big Ag acquisitions in the U.S.

The American farmer is revered in our culture

. He—the mythical American farmer is invariably a man—is in many ways a professional embodiment of values, such as individualism and hard work, that are considered part of the national identity. With their backbreaking work, farmers settled the growing West through the 1862 Homestead Act. It’s not a stretch to say that farmers, riding the wave of manifest destiny, built the United States. Today, they continue to feed it.

But the days when anyone could pick up a pitchfork and become a farmer are long gone. Farmland can cost an average of $4,000 per acre in the United States, and most farms have roughly 1,100 acres. Some of the biggest crops, such as corn and alfalfa, aren’t even grown to feed people. Thanks to globalization, food grown in the Midwest might end up feeding someone half a world away.

In an effort to cut out the middleman, foreign buyers are trying to circumvent the American farmer. Instead of buying food from farmers who work their own land, some foreign buyers want to own and operate these American farms themselves—as well as the livestock barns and slaughterhouses. Between the 2013 purchase of pork processor Smithfield by a Chinese holding company and ChemChina’s pending $43 billion offer for the agrichemical company Syngenta, the world’s most populous country is making a major play to buy the proverbial American farm—and U.S. politicians are lending a helping hand.

On Feb. 11, Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts signed L.B. 176 into law, reversing a 1999 law that prevented meatpackers from owning livestock for more than five days prior to slaughter. Pork processors like Smithfield, which owns a plant employing more than 2,000 in Crete, Nebraska, will soon be able to vertically integrate their operations. Instead of buying hogs from numerous independent farmers, farmers will contract with processors like Smithfield for the privilege of selling their pork.

It’s a big concern for farmers who worry the pork industry will be swallowed up by contract farming, like the chicken industry. This is one area where pork producers don’t want to be “the other white meat.” Chicken “growers” are paid to raise the birds on their land as well as pay for expensive poultry houses, labor, and maintenance. But it’s the major poultry companies who own the chickens—as well as the hatcheries, slaughterhouses, and feed.

That the Nebraska pork industry is poised for takeover by contract farming isn’t that big of a deal in itself. Most other Midwestern states long ago repealed their own packer bans and have seen pork production climb as Nebraska’s slipped. Nebraska was the last holdout. Though China can benefit from making the state an extension of its food supply, Nebraska legislators are courting China as an important trading partner too. As the executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association noted, the state has the competitive advantage of being the Midwest hog producer closest geographically not just to West Coast markets but to the Pacific Rim as well. But while playing with China could be an economic boon to some in the state, the benefits may not translate to individual farmers. It could also damage U.S. agriculture, food security, and the environment as well.

RELATED: Big Poultry Isn’t Just Terrible for Chickens—It Treats Farmers Poorly Too

China is in dire need of both food and farms. While the country looks huge on a map, only 11 percent of Chinese land can be farmed. Add that to the huge population, and you have a recipe for food-security disaster. “Food security, the ability to ensure ample and affordable supplies of food for all, is a political headache for leaders in Beijing, who are all too aware that staying in power means keeping rice bowls filled,” Keith Johnson wrote recently in Foreign Policy.

More than 40 percent of China’s existing arable land has been degraded by pollution, acidification, and reduced fertility, China’s official news agency, Xinhua, reported in 2014. Chinese researchers have estimated a need for a 30-percent increase in rice-harvest productivity to feed the population. China’s Number One Central Document, an annual policy blueprint of sorts, has focused on agriculture, rural development, and farmers 13 times since 2000, according to Xinhua.

As a result, China is investing in the best agricultural technology and best farmland—regardless of where it lies—to keep its people fed. The United States, with six times more arable land per capita, is the perfect contract farmer.

•••

“An acquisition like Syngenta by ChemChina really allows them [China] to have this major foothold in feed production as well,” said Ted Genoways, author of The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food. “Suddenly you’re looking at the Chinese government being one of the largest players in American agriculture.”

The passage of L.B. 176 was not just a happenstance blessing for Smithfield. The company spent $46,222 lobbying Nebraska legislators in the first three quarters of 2015, according to Fortune. Reporter Leah Douglas wrote that in 2015, Smithfield gave more than $12,000 to 19 state senators who were voting on L.B. 176. All but one voted in favor of the bill.

Shaunghui, a private Chinese meat-processing company, purchased Smithfield for 30 percent over its market value. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who was on the committee that reviewed the deal, noted during the hearings, “I firmly believe that economic security is part of our national security and that it should be considered when our government reviews foreign investment into the United States.” Stabenow called the Smithfield purchase “precedent-setting,” as it was the largest purchase of a U.S. company by a Chinese firm. Furthermore, it was the first acquisition of a major American food company by a Chinese business.

During the hearing, both lawmakers and the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission presented concerns that the Chinese government was backing the deal. But Smithfield CEO Larry Pope offered assurances that there was no connection between Shaunghui and the Chinese government. The U.S. Treasury Department allowed the purchase to go forward. Yet, just a year later, the Center for Investigative Reporting discovered that the Chinese government did have a connection to Shaunghui. The Communist Party supported the Smithfield purchase with “preferential policy, as well as investment,” Zhang Taixi, the government-appointed president of WH Group (the corporate name Shaunghui adopted in 2014), told CIR.

•••

But the Syngenta deal is not Smithfield 2.0—not exactly. Syngenta is a Swiss company, and in many ways, the merger may not seem all that different from DuPont and Dow’s recently announced coupling. “The big question around Syngenta and ChemChina is that ChemChina isn’t just a Chinese company—it’s a Chinese-government-owned company,” said Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union. This is not the merger of two companies but the second-most-powerful nation in the world seeking to put its might behind one corporation. Johnson added that it was unclear whether China could be expected to behave in an “economically predictable fashion.” In other words, any effect a corporate monopoly might have on an industry could be multiplied to unforeseen levels should the Chinese government decide to interfere with the market—which it has a track record of doing.

Multinational companies that have collaborated with Chinese state-owned enterprises have found themselves in enviable business positions in the past, international strategy consultant Thomas Hout wrote in 2014 in the Harvard Business Review. For example, a U.S. corporation that partners with the government may be able “to develop products in China faster than it otherwise could have,” and those businesses on the other side may find themselves similarly held back.

Based on past behavior, allowing the deal with Syngenta to go through raises the possibility that China could use its new acquisition to gain an unfair advantage over the global seed market, Johnson said. If more seed companies consolidate (or are pushed out of business), the consequences could be dire for the genetic diversity of seeds sold on the commercial market.

Past mergers between seed companies have allowed them to simplify their total catalog of offerings. Focusing on corn, soybeans, and cotton, the USDA’s Economic Research Service found that new research and development stopped or slowed as the seed industry began to consolidate in the 1990s. “Those companies that survived seed industry consolidation appear to be sponsoring less research relative to the size of their individual markets than when more companies were involved,” agricultural economists Jorge Fernandez-Cornejo and David Schimmelpfennig wrote in a 2004 USDA publication. They added, “Fewer companies developing crops and marketing seeds may translate into fewer varieties offered.”

Consolidation of seed varieties is not a new trend. Throughout the history of agriculture, farmers have selected and saved seed varieties that were best adapted to their specific soil and climate conditions, resulting in thousands of variations of the same plant. But the largest seed companies prefer to sell a lot of just a few varieties of seeds to maximize profits. Over time, this one-size-fits-all approach to food has cut down on the types of commercially grown apples, oranges, and many other foods.

Some less popular varieties are lost for good, and seed varieties that were once perfectly adapted for a location may no longer exist. Those who are worried about seed diversity, especially in the face of climate change, worry that the shrinking choice of genetics could have disastrous consequences.

Johnson noted that mergers also reduce competition, causing the prices of seeds to rise. Consolidation was the highest during the 1990s and—after a brief slowdown—continued again into the late aughts, Philip Howard wrote in Sustainability in 2009. Between 2001 and 2010, according to the USDA, the price of genetically engineered corn and soybean seeds rose by 50 percent.

Another possibility is that the Chinese government could fast-track the approval of new genetic traits developed by Syngenta for use in China while allowing those from other countries and companies to languish, Johnson said. The Chinese market is, in some years, an important importer of corn—enough so that U.S. farmers take note of the type of corn China is buying. (In other years, its corn production is high enough that it has been the source of the second-largest corn exports.) Those farmers who grow corn for the export market could find themselves shut out of the Chinese market unless they grow approved varieties of corn. If Syngenta owned the only approved corn for import to China, it would give the company an effective monopoly over any farmer who hoped to export to that market.

Though WB Group is technically an independent company, many members of its board of directors were appointed by the Chinese government. The company also received preferential treatment and financial backing when proceeding with the Smithfield deal. As a result, there are unanswered questions about just how much distance there is between a corporation like WB Group and the Chinese government. If China decided to grant preferential treatment to Smithfield imports, it would be a huge economic coup, as China is the world’s largest consumer of pork. Thanks to L.B. 176, the WB Group–owned Smithfield could now take steps to own the entire production chain for pork production with the least geographic distance between U.S. pork production and the Chinese market.

•••

There are those who dislike the intrusion of agribusiness into the U.S. food system and figure that any problems facing conventional farmers or agrichemical companies as a result are a win. But there are environmental and public health factors to consider as well.

One of the benefits to owning every aspect of production from feed through packaging is that “you can increase production essentially at will,” said Genoways. That production will lead to more barns being built and, in turn, waste coming out of those barns. “You need more feed for those pigs, so you’re raising more row crops and putting more of that waste onto the fields,” he explained. “It becomes a feedback loop.”

He pointed out that “this isn’t theoretical,” offering Iowa’s pork industry as an example. In early 2006, Hormel sued the government, asserting that Iowa’s packer ban—which, like Nebraska’s law, prevented pork processors from owning pork themselves—violated the U.S. Constitution. The company successfully received an injunction preventing the state from enforcing the existing law, allowing Hormel to begin contract farming in Iowa.

Between 2007 and 2012, Iowa had the largest increase in hog and pig sales of any state in the country—a jump of $1.9 billion. The runner-up, Minnesota, saw increases of only $600 million during the same period.

Based on the events in Iowa, Genoways predicts Nebraska will soon experience increases in surface water pollution. The number of polluted Iowan waterways increased 15 percent between 2012 and 2014, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. That’s not all. Not only do the waste pits used to capture manure from large hog operations produce antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but new research is beginning to show that the pathogens can travel miles away.

Despite economic, environmental, and public health concerns, it looks like there is little political inclination to stop mergers like Syngenta’s or Smithfield’s from happening.

As Genoways said, “We haven’t just allowed vertical integration to come in—we’ve handed over a vertically integrated system to a foreign government.” All we can do now is wait and see what the consequences will be.

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DEA Announces Steps Necessary to Improve Access to Marijuana Research

temporary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, August 26, 2019

DEA Announces Steps Necessary to Improve Access to Marijuana Research

The Drug Enforcement Administration today announced that it is moving forward to facilitate and expand scientific and medical research for marijuana in the United States. The DEA is providing notice of pending applications from entities applying to be registered to manufacture marijuana for researchers. DEA anticipates that registering additional qualified marijuana growers will increase the variety of marijuana available for these purposes.

Over the last two years, the total number of individuals registered by DEA to conduct research with marijuana, marijuana extracts, derivatives and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has increased by more than 40 percent from 384 in January 2017 to 542 in January 2019. Similarly, in the last two years, DEA has more than doubled the production quota for marijuana each year based on increased usage projections for federally approved research projects.

“I am pleased that DEA is moving forward with its review of applications for those who seek to grow marijuana legally to support research,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.  “The Department of Justice will continue to work with our colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services and across the Administration to improve research opportunities wherever we can.”

“DEA is making progress in the program to register additional marijuana growers for federally authorized research, and will work with other relevant federal agencies to expedite the necessary next steps,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.  “We support additional research into marijuana and its components, and we believe registering more growers will result in researchers having access to a wider variety for study.”

This notice also announces that, as the result of a recent amendment to federal law, certain forms of cannabis no longer require DEA registration to grow or manufacture. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2018, changed the definition of marijuana to exclude “hemp”—plant material that contains 0.3 percent or less delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis. Accordingly, hemp, including hemp plants and cannabidiol (CBD) preparations at or below the 0.3 percent delta-9 THC threshold, is not a controlled substance, and a DEA registration is not required to grow or research it.

Before making decisions on these pending applications, DEA intends to propose new regulations that will govern the marijuana growers program for scientific and medical research. The new rules will help ensure DEA can evaluate the applications under the applicable legal standard and conform the program to relevant laws. To ensure transparency and public participation, this process will provide applicants and the general public with an opportunity to comment on the regulations that should govern the program of growing marijuana for scientific and medical research.

The Notice of Application is available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection/current.

Component(s):

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Office of the Attorney General

Press Release Number:

19-895

Updated August 26, 2019

SOURCE LINK

DEA affirms hemp’s new status, sends notice that plant is legal

Published August 26, 2019

More than six months after hemp was made legal in the United States, federal drug authorities have updated their guidance to remind law enforcement that hemp is no longer a controlled substance.

A notice posted Monday by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) cited the 2018 Farm Bill in noting that “certain forms of cannabis no longer require DEA registration to grow or manufacture.”

The agency went on to say that “hemp, including hemp plants and cannabidiol (CBD) preparations at or below the 0.3 percent delta-9 THC threshold is not a controlled substance.”

The DEA notice didn’t change the law or make hemp legal; that occurred last year.

But because the agency had yet to remind national law enforcement through its regular bulletins that hemp is legal, some hemp businesses found themselves fighting legal confusion about the plant’s status.

Attorneys who represent hemp clients told Hemp Industry Daily that the DEA statement is an overdue affirmation of cannabis legality.

The DEA also announced Monday that it will expand research on higher-THC varieties of cannabis classified as marijuana.

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Wayward Bill is at Seattle Hempfest 2019

American flag and pot plant

This weedend (pun intended), “Where’s Wayward Bill” was attending the Washington State, Seattle Hempfest, now in it’s 28th year, originally began in 1991!

Wayward has attended a number of these events in the past and has always made a great showing for the USMjParty.

The USMjParty in coming up on it’s 17th Anniversary on November 25, 2019,  and this was a great event to attend to mark the occasion.  I only wish I could have had the same experience, in that I’ve never been able to make the trip, however, it will remain on my “bucket-list” to be fulfilled at some point, (I hope)!

Getting back to the task at hand, the following are some links to posts originally made on Facebook that marked the occasion.

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First of all, it’s technically not a cannabis festival. “It’s a protest festival,” McPeak explained. “The Constitution of the United States says we have the right to peacefully assemble and air disagreements with the government.” That’s how the fest started, back in the summer of 1991 — as an offshoot of the 1990-91 Gulf War protests and peace actions McPeak helped organize. The purpose wasn’t to light up a joint, but to express public outrage over the fact that lighting up a joint could lead to prison.

Seattle Hempfest 2019 Wayward Bill

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Above:  My FAVORITE VIDEO!

Last but not least…

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Please visit the above links and enjoy the Hempfest experience!!