U.S. Hemp Roundtable firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Hemp Roundtable email@example.com
Both historically, and more recently as prohibition has been lifted, Kentucky has played an outsized role in the development of the nation’s hemp industry. From 19th century hemp farmer/US House Speaker Henry Clay to today’s political leaders, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Reps. James Comer and Thomas Massie, Kentuckians have served as national leaders in legalizing, cultivating and commercializing the crop.
Today, a significant step was taken by Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles: Quarles announced this morning that Kentucky would NOT be submitting a hemp plan for USDA approval under the agency’s Interim Final Rule (IFR), but rather would continue to operate its program under the 2014 Farm Bill authorization. Just as with the concerns we shared here (and in our private meetings with USDA leadership), Quarles recognized that many outstanding issues remain regarding the IFR, and that these issues that are not likely to be resolved before planting season begins. Instead, the Department will share its recommendations with the USDA as it develops a final rule, hopefully in time for the 2021 growing season.
We imagine that other states will follow Kentucky’s lead and operate under the 2014 Farm Bill authorization as the USDA listens to stakeholders and the public as it designs its Final Rule. This would make a strong statement that the IFR needs a substantial overhaul, and given the laudable public outreach conducted by the USDA, we are confident that the agency will listen and respond.
Hemp Supporters, that’s your cue…
If you haven’t yet submitted comments to the USDA about its Interim Final Rule, the deadline is next week, January 29. You can submit your comments here. And please feel free to echo any of the comments the Roundtable made, which are available here
SOURCE: U.S. Hemp Roundtable <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
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!
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
Libertarian candidate for Governor of Kentucky at Hicks/Cormican for Kentucky Governor
Principal at Gulfbridge Communications
Former Libertarian candidate for House District 43 (the gerrymandered district along the river) at Kentucky House of Representatives
Former Consultant at Technology Solutions Company
Former Consultant at National Grange Mutual
Former IT Manager at Gunster Yoakley And Stewart
Former Contracting Consultant at Coca-Cola
Former Editor and Publisher at Fern Creek Neighbor
Former Programmer analyst at GE
Former Classroom Teacher at Jefferson County Ky. Public Schools
Former Communications Center Specialist at United States Army
Former Taxi Cab Driver at Yellow Cab of Louisville
Studied Economics at Stetson University
Went to Seneca High School
Lives in Louisville, Kentucky
From Louisville, Kentucky
Joined May 2008
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!
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
The long-awaited first meeting of the US House/Senate Conference Committee on the 2018 Farm Bill will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, September 5, at 9:30 AM.
9 Senators and 47 Congressmen will sit down for the first time to try to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill, with the hopes of final passage by September 30, when the 2014 Farm Bill expires.
As summarized here, prospects are bright that the House will agree to the Senate’s hemp provisions, which would permanently establish hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act.
Hemp’s most powerful advocate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has even taken the rare step of appointing himself to the conference committee to better ensure that the provisions he inserted remain in the final compromise.
Enter your zip code into our simple online portal here, and if any of your Members of Congress serve on the conference committee, an editable email will be populated for you to urge them to support hemp. For those of your representatives who are not on the committee, the portal will prepare an email urging them to contact conference committee members in support of the Senate provisions.
Finally, our General Counsel, Jonathan Miller, will be on hand reporting LIVE from the hearing room via Facebook Live and Periscope. If you would like to receive his live reports, or a video soon after, please follow us on Facebook here and/or Twitter here.
Tom Angell , Contributor
The non-psychoactive cannabis cousin of marijuana would finally become legal to grow in the United States under a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.
The wide-ranging agriculture and food policy legislation known as the Farm Bill, passed by a vote of 86 – 11 on Thursday, contains provisions to legalize the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp.
The move, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), would also make hemp plants eligible for crop insurance.
“Consumers across America buy hundreds of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp,” McConnell said in a floor speech on Thursday. “But due to outdated federal regulations that do not sufficiently distinguish this industrial crop from its illicit cousin, American farmers have been mostly unable to meet that demand themselves. It’s left consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp products from foreign-produced hemp.”
McConnell also took to the Senate floor on Tuesday and Wednesday to tout the bill’s hemp legalization provisions in separate speeches.
In April, the GOP leader introduced standalone legislation to legalize hemp, the Hemp Farming Act, the provisions of which were included in the larger Farm Bill when it was unveiled earlier this month.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry approved the bill by a vote of 20-1 two weeks ago.
During that committee markup, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), one of Congress’s most ardent opponents of marijuana law reform, threatened to pursue serious changes to the bill’s hemp provisions on the floor. Namely, he wanted to remove the legalization of derivatives of the cannabis plant, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which is used by many people for medical purposes. But Grassley never ended up filing a floor amendment, allowing hemp supporters to avoid a contentious debate and potentially devastating changes to the bill.
Hemp legalization enjoys broad bipartisan support.
“Legalizing hemp nationwide ends decades of bad policymaking and opens up untold economic opportunity for farmers in Oregon and across the country,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said upon passage of the Farm Bill on Thursday. “Our bipartisan legislation will spur economic growth in rural communities by creating much-needed red, white and blue jobs that pay well. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues to get the bipartisan Hemp Farming Act through the Senate. Today marks a long-overdue, huge step forward for American-grown hemp.”
BIG news for industrial hemp farming! Today, the Senate passed my bipartisan #HempFarmingAct, legislation that would lift a decades-old ban on growing industrial hemp on American soil. #RonReport pic.twitter.com/r0fBzseRIh
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) June 28, 2018
Earlier this month, the Senate approved a nonbinding resolution recognizing hemp’s “growing economic potential.”
“For the first time in 80 years, this bill legalizes hemp. We forget, but hemp was widely grown in the United States throughout the mid-1800s,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) said in a floor speech on Wednesday. “Americans used hemp in fabrics, wine, and paper. Our government treated industrial hemp like any other farm commodity until the early 20th century, when a 1937 law defined it as a narcotic drug, dramatically limiting its growth. This became even worse in 1970 when hemp became a schedule I controlled substance. In Colorado, as is true across the country–I have talked to a lot of colleagues about this–we see hemp as a great opportunity to diversify our farms and manufacture high-margin products for the American people.”
McConnell’s standalone hemp bill currently has 29 cosponsors signed on—17 Democrats, nine Republicans and two independents.
A Congressional Research Service report released last week says that the “global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products.”
House Republican leaders blocked a vote to make hemp legalization part of that chamber’s version of the Farm Bill. But now that the language is included in the version approved by the Senate, it will be part of discussions by the bicameral conference committee that will merge both chambers’ bills into a single piece of legislation to be send to President Trump’s desk. All indications are that McConnell, as the most powerful senator, will fight hard for the survival of his hemp proposal.
A White House statement of administration policy released this week outlining concerns with the Farm Bill does not mention its hemp legalization provisions.
In 2014, McConnell included provisions to allow limited state-authorized hemp research programs in that year’s version of the Farm Bill.
Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner cheered the passage of the new hemp provisions on Thursday..
For farmers across KY, there is no piece of legislation more important than the #FarmBill. I am excited that @SenateMajLdr’s #HempFarmingAct made it into this measure, which will allow states to unleash the full economic potential of our industrial hemp pilot programs. #KyAg365 pic.twitter.com/HjU6OGKNjZ
— Commissioner Quarles (@KYAgCommish) June 28, 2018
Published 2 days ago on May 16, 2018 By Tom Angell
In the latest development in a series of anti-cannabis moves, congressional Republican leadership has blocked consideration of several industrial hemp amendments.
Supporters were seeking to attach the measures to the large-scale Farm Bill, which sets food and agriculture policy for the country, but the House Rules Committee on Wednesday decided that the proposals cannot be considered on the floor.
The anti-cannabis chairman of the panel did, however, reveal that a broader deal for industrial hemp might be in the works.
One of the measures the committee killed, submitted by Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with a bipartisan list of cosponsors, would have legalized hemp and made it eligible for crop insurance.
“Hemp is a crop with a long and rich history in our country,” Comer said in introducing his amendment before the committee. “It was grown by many of our founding fathers.”
Comer, who is a former Kentucky agriculture commissioner, said his state’s existing industrial hemp research program, which is authorized under a previous Farm Bill enacted in 2014, “has been a great success.”
He also spoke about the economic potential of the plant. “Times are tough in rural america,” he said. “For rural Kentuckians, industrial hemp has provided a new crop and business opportunity.”
But in a party-line move, the committee voted 8 to 3 to reject a motion to add Comer’s amendment to the list of proposals approved for floor consideration.
Another hemp amendment, filed by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Jared Polis (D-CO), would have removed hemp from the list of federally banned substances.
A third proposal, submitted by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), sought to create “a safe harbor for financial institutions that provide services to hemp legitimate businesses” that operate under state-authorized research programs.
“There is a proud history in American and in Kentucky [for hemp] as an agriculture product,” Barr said when testifying for his amendment, noting that it can be used in over 25,000 products.
Under current law, banks that work with legitimate hemp companies “fear reprisal from federal regulators,” Barr said, arguing that his proposed measure would protect financial institutions “from unnecessary interference from bank examiners and regulators” and give producers rights that “every other American crop enjoys.”
The committee did not hold specific votes on those two measures.
Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) has made a consistent practice of blocking cannabis measures from advancing over the past several years.
Sessions, seemingly mistakenly, told Comer during the Wednesday hearing that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has “a clause…that industrial hemp should be declassified under their Schedule I drugs, which they concur, which is the position you hold, too.”
A hemp lobbyist told Marijuana Moment in an email that he had not heard of the DEA taking a pro-hemp position.
Polis, who as a Rules Committee member made the unsuccessful motion to let the full House vote on Comer’s amendment, argued that hemp is a “common sense area” that enjoys bipartisan support. The measure, he said, would simply “treat industrial hemp as the agricultural commodity that it is.”
While Sessions and other GOP panel members were not swayed, the chairman did hint just before the vote that there may still be hope for hemp reform, saying that the issue would be “determined by an agreement that would be reached” with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
McConnell last month filed a hemp legalization bill, which Comer’s amendment closely modeled. Fully a fifth of the Senate is now signed on as cosponsoring that legislation, and the majority leader has already announced plans to attach his hemp language to the version of the Farm Bill being considered by the Senate this month.
While it is unclear what exactly Sessions was suggesting when he referred to an “agreement” with McConnell, it may have been a reference to the conference committee process that will merge the House and Senate’s respective versions of the Farm Bill into a single proposal after each chamber passes its legislation. If McConnell succeeds in attaching hemp legalization to the Senate bill, it would then be up for consideration as part of the final legislation sent to President Trump for signing into law.
In 2014, McConnell successfully inserted a provision to prevent federal interference in hemp research programs in that year’s version of the Farm Bill.
The Indiana House voted unanimously Wednesday for a bill that would allow Hoosier farmers to grow industrial hemp — marijuana’s low-THC cousin.
Under Rep. Jim Lucas’ House Bill 1137, acres of the green leafy plants could be intermingled with rows of corn across family farms in Indiana. Currently only researchers at institutions are allowed to grow the plant, and are unable to do so for commercial purposes. Only Purdue University researchers are growing the product in the state.
The provision could see some push back in the Senate, or from individuals like Attorney General Curtis Hill, who has been outspoken against marijuana legalization.
The Indiana House and Senate appear to be on the same page when it comes to legalizing cannabidiol, a product derived from hemp. However, permitting the growth and manufacturing of hemp would take its legalization a step further.
Many senators were already reluctant to vote for a bill last year that legalized CBD oil for epileptic patients. That measure passed by a 36-13, compared to the unanimous vote in the House.
Proponents say House BIll 1137 is a “jobs bill” and could lead to economic growth, while opponents worry about the legality of growing a plant with some similar properties to marijuana.
“Everything I’ve seen says industrial hemp is probably a harmless crop,” Senate leader David Long said. “I have no problem with that, I’m just not sure the federal government issue isn’t still holding us back.”
The federal 2014 farm bill allows states to permit the growth of industrial hemp for research purposes. Kentucky already has a broad industrial hemp pilot program, similar to the pilot program Indiana would begin with this piece of legislation.
Under Kentucky law, farmers can apply for a permit to grow and manufacturer industrial hemp and sell it for various products, such as CBD oil, hemp seed oil and fiber for car manufacturing.
The farm bill permits “marketing research” but also says hemp shouldn’t be grown “for the purpose of general commercial activity.”
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture says its program follows federal law, but others in the industry aren’t so sure.
“There’s been no research that I’ve seen directly,” said Janna Beckerman, a Purdue professor who studies hemp. “It’s sort of a big wink: ‘Oh yea we’re doing research.'”
Indiana would face the same legal question if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law.
The passage of the law could also be another step towards marijuana legalization, in the eyes of some social conservatives. Already the Indiana House unanimously passed a resolution to study medical marijuana, a unprecedented move for the GOP-led chamber.
The average Hoosier would be unable to differentiate between industrial hemp or marijuana, Beckerman said. Both are leafy and green and both can have a potent smell.
Industrial hemp, however, can’t get users high.
She also said someone could easily hide a marijuana plant in a field of hemp.
Despite legal concerns, Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture has pegged its program as a success. In 2017, Kentucky handlers grew 3,200 acres of hemp in 74 counties.
“Because of the research conducted by our growers, processors, and universities, I am more optimistic than ever that we can put industrial hemp on a path to widespread commercialization once Congress removes it from the federal list of controlled substances,” Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said in a press release.
Hemp experts say the product could have the same potential in Indiana, once farmers figure out how to properly grow the product.
Indiana is already seen as an agriculture leader and is one of the top 10 agriculture producing states.
“In the long term I think it’s something that will allow our agriculture base to diversify and that’s always a good thing,” Beckerman said. “I think there’s a possibility of different industries developing from this.”
For example FlexForm Technologies, an Elkhart company, manufacturers mats and panel products. Currently the company has to import hemp. That could change if Indiana farmers start growing the product.
Another company, Healthy Hoosier Oil, could use the cold press seed processing they already use to make sunflower seed oil, on hemp seeds to create a food-grade oil.
CBD oil manufacturers could also start using in-state hemp to make their products.
Another issue lawmakers and lobbyist acknowledge they’ll have to solve is educating the public enough to understand the difference between the two plants.
“Industrial hemp has been misaligned with marijuana for the past 70 years or so,” said Justin Swanson, representing Indiana Hemp Industries Association. “It’s time for Indiana’s actions and policies to reflect the fact that industrial hemp is not marijuana and allow the reemerging market to thrive in Indiana once again.” CONTINUE READING…
Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at (317) 432-9270. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.
Chad Wilson of Cave City stands next a row of industrial hemp he is growing on his farm called the Sacred Seed Farm. He is growing hemp for the cannabidiol or CDB, which is extracted from the plant and can be used to treat certain illnesses. Gina Kinslow / Glasgow Daily Times
BY GINA KINSLOW email@example.com
CAVE CITY – Seven years ago, Chad Wilson was anti-industrial hemp, but that’s mostly because he didn’t really know what it was. He thought industrial hemp and marijuana were the same thing.
But they’re not. Industrial hemp is different from marijuana, even though they are part of the same plant family.
“All my life I was told to stay away from the Devil’s lettuce, and that’s what I did as a good southern boy,” he said. “I didn’t understand that hemp wasn’t marijuana.”
The major difference between the two is that industrial hemp contains a much lower concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, than marijuana.
THC is the hallucinogenic that is found in marijuana.
“There is no getting high off industrial hemp,” he said.
After seven years, Wilson has come a long way. He has gone from being anti-industrial hemp to being an industrial hemp farmer. He is also now a cannabis activist.
He grows hemp on land in Cave City he calls the Sacred Seed Farm, and says he got into industrial hemp farming by accident.
“I was doing organic farming on a little two acre plot in Bowling Green. I realized my son did not know how to grow his own food and seeds. At that point I was just doing traditional gardening, so I got into finding ways to teach him and stumbled across some stuff on hemp and the nutritional value,” he said.
Then he discovered that studies are showing an extract of industrial hemp can be used to aid in the treatment of certain illnesses, even epilepsy. He also learned that industrial hemp can be used to make biodiesel fuel and clothing, among other things.
Wilson planted a little more than nine acres of industrial hemp this year. He is one of two hemp farmers in Barren County, and one of many across the state.
“In order to be a hemp producer, it is a permitting process and that process is handled by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in cooperation with law enforcement so that everybody is on the same page. They know where every hemp production is,” said Chris Schalk, Barren County’s Agriculture Extension Agent. “I guess this is probably the second or third year for the permitting process.”
The federal farm bill of 2014 allowed state departments of agriculture to create industrial hemp research pilot programs.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles hosted a roundtable discussion for Barren County producers in October at the Barren County Cooperative Extension Service’s office off West Main Street, and during his talk he mentioned industrial hemp.
“Industrial hemp obviously gets a lot of publicity. We have a very strong industrial research hemp program here. We want to remind people that this may not be a silver bullet for tobacco, but it might be something that works for some farmers. It may not work for others,” he said. “My family used to grow it in World War II because the government asked them to for the U.S. Navy. For some people we believe this could be a profitable market.”
On Wilson’s Sacred Seed Farm, he grows industrial hemp for the cannabidiol or CDB, a natural plant compound with significant medical benefits.
Wilson is co-owner of a Louisville-based business called Green Remedy.
“We buy the hemp from the farmers and then we take it into our facility and we have a CO2 extraction where we extract the CDB and then we make the tinctures and the capsules and the isolets and all the different kinds of products, and it is a Kentucky Proud Product,” he said.
Wilson is also owner of another business called Modern Concepts, which is located on the Sacred Seed Farm in Cave City.
“This is about a 4-year-old business that I moved from Bowling Green because I wanted to get back to small town America. I wanted to get back to country living and back home to the country,” Wilson said. “We’re losing farm families every day across the state and my family was one of the ones who lost their farm in the early ’80s due to the economics of farming. For me, it’s personal and it’s about getting my boys back to the farm and living simpler.”
Modern Concepts is a garden supply center that will offer organic, hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponicly grown plants.
“We’re also a distributor for a “Shark Tank’ product – the Tree-T-Pee. What we’re doing is basically going out and finding the specialty product for this industry and bringing it to Cave City,” he said.
Industrial hemp farming has become an economically viable business for many producers.
“There’s not a lot crops out there right now that can bring the economic hope to the small Kentucky farm like this plant can right now,” Wilson said.
Despite all the things industrial hemp has going for it, it is considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, along with other varieties of cannabis. But that is something U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville, is hoping to change.
“I have a bill that I’m working on … that will address all of the updates that are needed with the hemp industry. And that’s the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017,” Comer said.
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 will do a lot of things, but the main thing it will do is reclassify industrial hemp from a controlled substance to an agriculture crop.
“That will solve a lot of the problems right there,” he said.
Comer, a former Kentucky commissioner of agriculture, referred to industrial hemp as being “a huge success story.”
“That’s something I was glad to be a part of in a big way and that’s kind of the issue that I’m identified with. When we passed it in 2013 in Kentucky, nobody would have predicted that here we are four years later and we are the leading hemp producing state in the nation,” he said. “It’s just been a real good success story. There’s a lot of hemp being grown in Kentucky. A lot of companies that are coming into the state are making a big private investment, so I think the future looks very bright for the hemp industry in Kentucky.”
Extracting CDB from industrial hemp is not the only thing that can be done with the plant.
“It is being used as fiber in textiles. It is being used as a heavy duty fiber in a lot of the tarps that is used in the military. We’ve got companies trying to use the fiber to make components for the automotive industry for mainly the dashboards and door panels for cars in Europe,” Comer said
Industrial hemp is also being grown for livestock feed.
“Murray State University is doing a lot of research on hemp from that aspect because it yields so much more per acre than fescue hay,” he said. “And they are testing the digestibility and the nutrient content. Cattle eat it. That’s for sure.”
Comer continued that he thinks more and more uses will surface for industrial hemp because it is a plant than can be used in so many ways.
“It can be used in bioenergy. It can be used in textiles. It can be used in pharmaceuticals. It can be used in construction. There seems like for every potential use of hemp there is interest in companies to come into the state and make an investment and start processing the hemp here in Kentucky, which would be good,” he said. “It would be good for farmers. It would be good for job creation.
“I think that once we can get legislation on the federal level that deregulates hemp, I think you’ll see more private dollars flow in and more processing facilities come online and therefore more farmers will grow it.”
DENVER – A Kentucky-based hemp seed grower is the first company to have its seeds approved and officially certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
Lexington, Kentucky-based Schiavi Seeds LLC had three separate seed varieties certified as CDA Approved Certified Seeds under the new program, which aims to promote hemp agriculture in the state.
CDA has worked with CSGA and Colorado State University over the past several months to breed plants that produce seeds under the 0.3 percent THC content threshold to qualify as hemp and not psychoactive marijuana.
Varying seed types were grown and tested in trials in different parts of the state in order to find ideal conditions for hemp cultivation.
Colorado law requires industrial hemp seeds to contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Three trial seeds from Schiavi Seeds – Eletta Campana, Fibranova and Helena – passed trial tests and were accepted by the state Seed Growers Association’s review board.
CDA says seeds submitted by Fort Collins-based New West Genetics have also passed the THC trial, but still have to be accepted by the review board before they can also be labeled as a CDA Approved Certified Seed.
Congress approved hemp production in 2014, but a state certification like Colorado’s is necessary to raise the crop.
Colorado farmers will be able to start buying and growing the seeds next year.
Illustration by Catherine Nichols
Select Kentucky farmers will be growing more hemp in 2016 than at any time since the federal government effectively banned the crop in the 1930s, along with its hallucinogenic cousin, marijuana.
This year, 144 farmers and 10 universities across the state will engage in the third year of pilot research projects in the state that many hope will lead to full restitution of hemp as a commercial fiber, feed and pharmaceutical agent.
“We anticipate over 4,000 acres will be grown in Kentucky this year, which is more than four times the number of acres grown last year,” said Ryan Quarles, the recently elected state agriculture commissioner.
In fact, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture says about 4,500 acres of hemp will be grown for the projects this year, up from 900 acres last year and just 33 acres during the inaugural planting season in 2014.
Permission to grow the crop on an experimental basis is authorized under special language inserted into the federal farm bill by U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. Quarles said industrial hemp, once a major Kentucky farm staple, is highly marketable and hopes Congress will one day see it that way and legalize it.
“As long as it is grown and cultivated as part of a pilot program, it can be transported, processed and sold across state lines,” said Jonathan Miller, a spokesman for the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Council. “Each year, the Kentucky projects are getting bigger, more elaborate and more successful.”
Miller said that whether it’s this year, next year or three years from now, he’s confident Congress will “take hemp off the Schedule 1 drug list so it can be turned into an agriculture commodity and we won’t have to deal any more with pilot programs.”
Farmers, producers unite
Josh Hendricks, a Montgomery County farmer, will be growing hemp again this year. He has formed a company, Hendricks Hemp, to be ready for the day he can freely sell his crops anytime, anywhere.
“We are still trying to figure out what varieties grow well here in order to produce whatever you want to produce from a hemp plant, whether it is fiber, grain or CBD,” short for the medically useful compound cannibidiol, said Hendricks.
Since Kentucky growers must align themselves with a processor or manufacturer before they enter the hemp pilot program, Hendricks has become affiliated with C.V. Sciences, a California producer of dietary and health products. The company currently imports hemp from Europe but wants a dependable domestic source and hopes Kentucky and Hendricks will be its prime supplier.
Although Hendricks acknowledges that a farmer would need to grow a considerable number of acres of hemp for it to be highly profitable, he hopes the pilot program will explode into something big.
“We want to see hemp become like any other agriculture commodity in Kentucky,” he said. “I hope it will become something that will put money in the pockets of our farmers. You want to be able to say you have domestically grown, U.S.-grown, Kentucky Proud hemp for sale.”
Research remains focus
University of Kentucky hemp researcher David Williams says the state’s pilot programs focus on production science or production and management protocol to optimize crop yields. UK is a participant in the program and will be growing hemp.
A history lesson, courtesy of Williams: The main uses for hemp a century or more ago are quite different than how it could be used today.
“In the old days it was a major component of rope and heavy linen,” said Williams. “Prior to the invention of steam engines, ships were wind-powered, and the sails were made of hemp cloth. The major recipient of Kentucky hemp then was the U.S. Navy for its ships’ riggings and the sails. Neither of those components is viable today.”
However, Williams says the loss of these old industrial markets is being met by modern needs and technology that provide exciting new possibilities. Among the new applications about which Williams is most excited is the potential for hemp fibers to be a component of injected, molded composite products such as the interior door panels of automobiles or the overhead compartments of airplanes.
“The list is almost unlimited, including bathtubs, furniture and much more,” he said. “If those industries move toward replacement of synthetic fibers with natural fibers, hemp could contribute to that significantly.”
Caution amid wild optimism
Would the legalization of industrial hemp bring a windfall to Kentucky farmers and others? The enthusiasm for reigniting the industry has brought with it outsized hopes that Williams suggests are unlikely to be realized. Instead of a massive cash crop, Williams says, hemp is more likely to be more useful in rotation with other crops.
“I don’t want the public to expect a financial boom. I think that’s an unrealistic expectation,” Williams cautioned. “Realistically, we might think of hemp becoming part of the normal rotation. It won’t replace any of our current crops. Even if the market is highly significant, we still have to grow crops [and raise animals] for food.”
In other words, hemp would have to compete with other farm commodities in the state. The top 10 Kentucky farm commodities are: poultry, livestock, corn, soybeans, cattle and calves, tobacco, dairy products, hay, wheat and pigs. Devoting acreage to hemp instead of another proven commodity might be a gamble, at least for now.
“It would be very difficult for me to imagine that that would be economical,” said Williams.
Quarles, the new state agricultural commissioner, said his great-grandfather grew hemp in Kentucky while his son, Quarles’ grandfather, fought in World War II.
“That was a common story in Kentucky then,” said Quarles. “The federal government actually asked farmers to grow it for the war effort.”