Category Archives: Hemp

Hemp

Fresh crop: Wilson among Kentucky’s new hemp farmers

Chad WilsonChad 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 gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes.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.”

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Lab Testing Reveals Enviro Textile’s Hemp Fabric Stops the Spread of Staph Bacteria

PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

June 19th, 2013


Glenwood Springs, CO

Lab Testing Reveals EnviroTextile’s Hemp Fabric Stops the Spread of Staph Bacteria

Hemp Marches Towards Military and Health Care Applications

Rampant staph infections continue to cost lives unnecessarily.  One powerful weapon to fight this scourge is being successfully deployed by China’s military: industrial hemp.  Staph is spread by direct contact and by touching items that are contaminated such as towels, sheets, privacy curtains, and clothing.  As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “It is estimated that each year 2 million Americans become infected during hospital stays, and at least 90,000 of them die.  MRSA (an antibiotic resistant strain of staph) is a leading cause of hospital-borne infections.”  One of the most important recent discoveries is hemp’s ability to kill surface bacteria, while cotton, polyester, and polyethylene allow it to remain on their surfaces for up to months at a time.

Unknown to many, hemp fabrics exist in today’s market that can replace each of these transmission prone hospital items.  Technological improvements for hemp textile development began in the early 90s when EnviroTextile’s lead textile engineer, Barbara Filippone, began working with hemp in China.  To date, the company has over 100 hemp and hemp blended fabrics available to suit any traditional fabric application.  In addition to staph resistance, other tests show hemp fabrics superior resistance to UV and infrared wavelengths, providing multiple applications for military use.

Hemp fabric was tested against two bacteria strains, Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) and Klebsiella Pneumoniae (pneumonia).  The fabric tested was a hemp blend, 60% hemp and 40% rayon.  The staph test sample was already 98.5% bacteria free during the first measurement of the testing, while the pneumonia fabric sample was 65.1% bacteria free.  These results, even prior to the tests completion, clearly display the fabrics unique capability at killing bacteria and reducing their spread.  This is especially imperative for healthcare facilities. 

For infrared testing, the same hemp blend was analyzed resulting in a test result of 0.893, or nearly 90% resistant.  Different blended fabrics have the potential to increase the percentage of this initial test, especially fabrics with a higher percentage of hemp.  Many of hemp’s applications will benefit our military, and EnviroTextile’s hemp fabrics have recently been approved by the USDA as Federally Preferred for Procurement under their BioPreferred Program. 

Thirty one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 19 have passed pro-hemp legislation.  The potential for military and national adoption of hemp appears to be moving forward expeditiously considering a decade’s long ban.  As science continues to “rediscover” the benefits of hemp for society, the solution is emerging from the fog of prohibition.  Hemp is no longer an ancient fiber and it is well on its way to be the future of fabric. 

EnviroTextiles is woman-owned industrial hemp and natural fiber manufacturing company with their headquarters in Glenwood Springs, CO, and is the largest manufacturer/importer of hemp and natural fiber textiles and products in the United States. EnviroTextiles proudly sells their products in the U.S. and to over 70 countries worldwide.  The company presently has their presence in the US, China, and Mexico, and focuses on natural fiber resources and economic development in regions with commodity levels of various natural fibers.

References:

  1. Survival of Enterococci and Staphylococci on Hospital Fabrics and Plastic – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC86187/
  2. San Francisco Chronicle, “HEALTH / High staph infection rates in hospitals stun public health officials / New study reports lethal drug-resistant bacteria widespread” – http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/HEALTH-High-staph-infection-rates-in-hospitals-2554708.php

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UofL’s ‘energy crops’ harvested for research

ky hemp

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov, 1, 2017) – Someday, a 3-D printed medical implant made from hemp oil may save your life, or a hemp-based biofuel may power your vehicle.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg of possible outcomes of work being done at the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, where on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 students and staff harvested “energy crops” planted near the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

2017 marked the second year that hemp and kenaf, an African fiber plant, were planted near Phoenix House, the Conn Center’s solar-powered administrative office building. The plants were an unusual site along the Eastern Parkway overpass, where they were sown in May and were the background of many a selfie.

The plants, both highly suitable to Kentucky’s growing conditions, are part of the Conn Center’s research into biofuels and biomass conversions. The UofL crop was one of eight at Kentucky colleges and universities grown as part of the state’s pilot program into field-scale industrial hemp, but the only one that will be used for energy research.

Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species of marijuana. However it doesn’t contain high levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana that causes the marijuana high. Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, and are illegal to produce in the United States.

In Kentucky, only those who are part of a Department of Agriculture research program into field-scale industrial hemp production may grow hemp. More than 3,200 acres of industrial hemp was grown in Kentucky in 2017, the department said.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

The UofL crop expanded this year to a total area of just over one tenth of an acre, said Andrew Marsh, assistant director of the Conn Center.

The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

Marsh planted the seeds in three plantings beginning in May. He had help from groundskeepers from Physical Plant and researchers from the University of Kentucky’s industrial hemp program.

After cutting down the plants, Marsh and students bundled and transported them to the Conn Center’s Science & Innovation Garage for Manufacturing Advancement, where they will dry.

“Once dried, the Conn Center’s Biofuels & Biomass Conversion group, led by Jagannadh Satyavolu, and faculty from chemical engineering, such as Noppadon Sathitsuksanoh, will work with the biomass,” Marsh said.

Marsh said the center plans to expand the crop in 2018 and hopes to improve soil quality to ensure the plants do well in their urban environment.

Nick Marsh

Nick Marsh

“In 2016 and 2017, the tendencies of different seed types to prosper in our climate and soil conditions over those that do not have become apparent,” Marsh said. “So far, we have been growing in unconditioned ‘urban clay,’ not farm soils. This year gave a better look at the nutrient deficiencies, so 2018 will include soil-conditioning strategies. There are hemp varieties that we grew that just didn’t do very well with our mix of soil, available nutrient and water, but others did great. We’ll be diversifying our seed types next year too, looking for greater yield with minimal soil modifications. This was our first full season of growing, and the results are pretty good for both kenaf and hemp.”

The state’s hemp research program is looking into whether hemp can once again become an economic driver in the state, where it was once grown primarily for making rope.

Satyavolu, the center’s leader for biofuels and biomass conversion, along with assistant chemical engineering professor Sathitsuksanoh and students, are studying whether hurd, the innor core of the hemp plant stem, has potential for use in fuels, chemicals and polymers. Hurd is a byproduct after the outer fibers of the hemp are removed.

The Conn Center research is specifically focused on:

  • Converting hemp into high value, functionalized carbons that can be used as catalyst supports and energy storage media
  • Transforming hemp seed oil into biocompatible resins for 3-D printed medical implants
  • Extracting sugars from hemp to convert into diesel additives and other chemicals

In collaboration with the state, UofL established the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering in 2009. The center leads research that increases homegrown energy sources to meet the national need while reducing energy consumption and dependence on foreign oil. The center promotes partnerships among Kentucky’s colleges and universities, private industries and non-profit organizations to actively pursue federally and privately funded R&D resources dedicated to renewable energy solutions.

Researchers at the Conn Center are studying advanced energy materials manufacturing; solar energy conversion; renewable energy storage; biofuels/biomass conversions; and energy efficiency and conservation.

Mahendra Sunkara is director of the center, named in honor of Henry “Hank” and Rebecca Conn, who pledged $20 million for its formation. Hank Conn is a UofL alumnus who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Speed School and also an MBA from the College of Business.

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Hemp Program Now Taking Applications for 2018

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced today that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has opened the application period for Kentuckians wishing to participate in the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program for the 2018 growing season.

“I am proud to report that our program participants grew more than 3,200 acres of hemp this year, the most ever under the industrial hemp research program,” said Commissioner Quarles. “My vision is to expand and strengthen our research pilot program to put industrial hemp on a responsible path toward commercialization. Our increased production and processing is welcome news for the industry.”

Industrial hemp is one of several alternative crops, including hops and kenaf, that have made headway in Kentucky’s agricultural economy in recent years. In 2017, Kentucky’s farmers planted 3,200 acres of hemp, up from 2,350 acres in 2016, 922 acres in 2015, and 33 acres in 2014, the first year of the program. In addition to 194 grower participants, 48 hemp processors are conducting research as part of the KDA program.

Applications may be downloaded from the KDA website at kyagr.com/hemp. Grower applications must be postmarked or received by November 15, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. EST.  Processor/Handler applications are preferred by November 15, 2017, with a final deadline of June 1, 2018.

Public Input on Draft Administrative Regulations

The KDA is also opening a public comment period for preliminary draft regulations governing the industrial hemp research pilot program. Earlier this year, the Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 218, tasking the KDA with promulgating administrative regulations for the program. Once the process is complete, program rules will be found in administrative regulations, as the law prescribes.

Department officials ask that interested members of the public submit their comments in writing by October 31 so that the agency can consider those comments prior to filing the regulations with the Legislative Research Commission later this year. The draft administrative regulations will be used as the policy to guide the program in 2018.

The draft regulations are available at kyagr.com/hemp. Written comments may be submitted by mail to KDA Hemp Program, 111 Corporate Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601 or by email to hemp@ky.gov with “Hemp Reg Comments” in the subject line.

KDA operates its industrial hemp research pilot program under the authority of state law (KRS 260.850-260.869) and a provision of the 2014 federal Farm Bill (7 U.S.C. § 5940) that authorizes state-managed hemp pilot programs.

Brent Burchett, Director

Division of Value-Added Plant Production

Office of Agricultural Marketing and Product Promotion

Kentucky Department of Agriculture

111 Corporate Drive Frankfort, KY 40601

brent.burchett@ky.gov | Office: 502-782-4120

Hemp Inc. planted hundreds of acres of industrial hemp and high CBD hemp in North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon…

Hemp, Inc. (OTC: HEMP) recently announced that it built the largest commercial industrial hemp processing facility in North America, and the company that intends to “make America hemp again” is now in full operation at its 70,000 square foot facility in Spring Hope, North Carolina.

In addition, August 17 marked the official launch of Hemp Inc.’s NuAxon Tech CO2 Supercritical Extractor. David Schmitt, COO of Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC, said “Hemp, Inc. is now in position to be a fully integrated high quality [cannabidiol] CBD manufacturer,” in a release.

Opening the facility took over three years, plus millions of dollars spent on purchasing, disassembling, transporting, reassembling, rebuilding, refurbishing, beta testing and debugging.

Putting their new extractor to work is a significant step forward in the company’s ability to clone, grow, cultivate and process high CBD plants, with market prices on their side, Schmitt said.

“It basically all boils down to supply and demand. Today, market prices are somewhere in the ballpark of $20,000 per kilo and we have large amounts growing,” said Schmitt.

Hemp Inc. planted hundreds of acres of industrial hemp and high CBD hemp in North Carolina, Kentucky, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon. The CBD oil industry is expected to reach 1 billion by 2020.

Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. CMW Media/Christian Rodas

Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. said he intends to create infrastructure for a robust hemp industry by creating a business model of industrial and processing, education, farming, and extraction of CBD oil, so that people can start their own small family hemp farms.

“CBD is the fastest growing sector of the entire medical marijuana and hemp industry,” he said. He said he wants to support anyone who wants a start in the industry on the different technologies available for CO2 extraction, which allows the production of cannabinoid hemp oil.

Hemp, Inc. CEO Bruce Perlowin examines a hemp plant at a North Carolina farm. CMW Media/Christian Rodas

North Carolina Farmer Tony Finch grows hemp at his family farm. CMW Media/Christian Rodas

Perlowin invited President Donald Trump’s task force for Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America to see the new hemp facility, saying “President Trump’s Task Force or any member thereof should really visit Hemp, Inc.’s facility in Spring Hope, North Carolina.”

The small family farm, once a staple of the American landscape, is fast disappearing – and Perlowin hopes to change that. He imagines a model family farm is situated on 5 acres and consists of a cloning room, a greenhouse, and 5,000 hemp plants.

“By showing farmers how to grow high CBD hemp plants, operate a greenhouse and turn a barn into a cloning room to earn $500,000 a year, the small family farm can reappear in the American landscape. After all, the original small family farms in America were able to survive economically by growing hemp as their main cash crop and the first five presidents of the United States were all hemp farmers. Our infrastructure is 100 percent aligned with what the President today, is trying to accomplish with this Task Force.”

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The Origin of the Word ‘Marijuana’

Anna Wilcox

The word “marijuana” plays a controversial role in cannabis culture. Many well-known organizations such as Oakland’s Harborside Heath Center have publicly denounced “the M word” in favor of our favorite plant’s Latinate name, cannabis. Even Salon Magazine, a major press outlet outside of the cannabis industry, published an article titled “Is the word ‘Marijuana’ racist?” last year.

As mainstream culture becomes a little more herb-friendly, the terminology used by the industry is coming to center stage. But, why exactly does the term “marijuana” cause so much debate? Even worse, why has the word gained publicity as a racist term?

To save you from reading those lengthy history books or some boring academic articles, we’ve created this brief timeline to give you the low-down on “marijuana”’s rise to popularity in the United States. Here’s what you need to know:

The Mexican Revolution

1840-1900:

Prior to 1910, “marijuana” didn’t exist as a word in American culture. Rather, “cannabis” was used, most often in reference to medicines and remedies for common household ailments. In the early 1900s, what have now become pharmaceutical giants—Bristol-Meyer’s Squib and Eli Lilly—used to include cannabis and cannabis extracts in their medicines.

During this time, Americans (particularly elite Americans) were going through a hashish trend. Glamorized by literary celebrities such as Alexander Dumas, experimenting with cannabis products became a fad among those wealthy enough to afford imported goods.

1910:

Between the years of 1910 and 1920, over 890,000 Mexicans legally immigrated into the United States seeking refuge from the wreckage of civil war. Though cannabis had been a part of U.S. history since the country’s beginnings, the idea of smoking the plant recreationally was not as common as other forms of consumption. The idea of smoking cannabis entered mainstream American consciousness after the arrival of immigrants who brought the smoking habit with them.

1913:

The first bill criminalizing the cultivation of “locoweed” was passed in California. The bill was a major push from the Board of Pharmacy as a way to regulate opiates and psychoactive pharmaceuticals, and seemingly did not stem from the “reefer madness” or racialized understanding of “marijuana” that paved the way to full-on prohibition in the 1930s.

The Aftermath

1930s:

The Great Depression had just hit the United States, and Americans were searching for someone to blame. Due to the influx of immigrants (particularly in the South) and the rise of suggestive jazz music, many white Americans began to treat cannabis (and, arguably, the Blacks and Mexican immigrants who consumed it) as a foreign substance used to corrupt the minds and bodies of low-class individuals.

In the time just before the federal criminalization of the plant, 29 states independently banned the herb that came to be known as “marijuana.”

Harry Anslinger:

It would not be an overstatement to say that Harry Anslinger was one of the primary individuals responsible for creating the stigma surrounding cannabis. Hired as the first director of the recently created Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, Anslinger launched a vigilant campaign against cannabis that would hold steady for the three decades he remained in office.

A very outspoken man, Anslinger used the recent development of the movie theater to spread messages that racialized the plant for white audiences. In one documented incident, Anslinger testified before Congress, explaining:

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.”

In another statement, Anslinger articulated: “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

In retrospect, Anslinger’s efforts with the Bureau of Narcotics were the reason “marijuana” became a word known by Americans all over the country. When making public appearances and crafting propaganda films such as Reefer Madness, Anslinger specifically used the term “marijuana” when campaigning against the plant, adding to the development of the herb’s new “foreign” identity.

Cannabis was no longer the plant substance found in medicines and consumed unanimously by American’s all over the country.

1937:

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the culmination of Anslinger’s work and the first step to all-out prohibition. The bill federally criminalized the cannabis plant in every U.S. state. In order to discourage the production of cannabis use, the Tax Act of 1937 placed a one dollar tax on anyone who sold or cultivated the cannabis plant.

On top of the tax itself, the bill mandated that all individuals comply with certain enforcement provisions. Violation of the provisions would result in imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Though the word “marijuana” is the most common name for cannabis in the United States today, its history is deeply steeped in race, politics, and a complicated cultural revolution. Some argue that using the word ignores a history of oppression against Mexican immigrants and African Americans, while others insist that the term has now lost its prejudiced bite. Regardless of whether or not you decide to use the word yourself, it’s impossible to deny the magnitude and racial implications of its introduction to the American lexicon.

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Lawmakers eye THC content of state’s industrial hemp

For Immediate Release

May 3, 2017

Lawmakers eye THC content of state’s industrial hemp

FRANKFORT—Industrial hemp legally grown in Kentucky is not considered marijuana. It has only a fraction of THC—or tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive compound—found in marijuana. And state regulators aim to keep it that way.

Around 100 pounds of industrial hemp grown under Kentucky’s three-year old Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program were destroyed just three weeks ago after the state found the crop had a higher THC level than the law allows. An April 13 Associated Press article on the destroyed crop reported that it registered THC levels of between 1.2 and 0.4 percent, or slightly above the federal and state legal limit of 0.3 percent.

Kentucky mandated 0.3 percent as the legal THC limit for industrial hemp grown in the state four years ago when it passed legislation allowing industrial hemp production as part of a state pilot program cleared by the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill. Hemp grown under the state program is routinely tested—as the destroyed crop was—to ensure that its THC level falls at or below the legal limit.

Questions about the destruction of the non THC-compliant crop were raised today before the state legislative Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee by Rep. Kim King, R-Harrodsburg. King asked for more information about what happened with the crop from representatives of Atalo Holding of Winchester and Sunstrand of Louisville, two companies that process industrial hemp at their facilities.

Atalo Holdings Chairman Andrew Graves said the crop is question was a variety most commonly grown in the western U.S. “In this climate, when it’s grown, the THC level tends to be a higher level than it should be.” He said there wasn’t any question that the crop needed to be destroyed.

“It’s not a problem with us. We are used to regulated industries—tobacco is heavily regulated—and so this is as well,” said Graves.

King said she is pleased the system worked.

“I’m very, very inspired and I’m very, very hopeful that the system caught a portion of the crop that tested above the legal limit,” said King. “I just wanted some additional discussion on that.”

Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, mentioned the use of industrial hemp in the production of CBD or cannabidiol oil, which is extracted from hemp. CBD oil reportedly helps with balance, mood, sleep, appetite and can help relieve pain. It has also been known to help with epilepsy. And, since the oil is made from low-THC hemp, it doesn’t create the sensation of being high, like marijuana can.

Hornback asked Graves and others testifying before the committee if medicinal products made from industrial hemp, including CBD oil, are more effective if the THC level is above 0.3 percent. Atalo Holdings Research Officer Tom Hutchens said that, as of yet, is unknown.

“We don’t know the answer to that, truly, because there hasn’t been enough research. I think it will probably get (to a) higher (level) somewhere along the line, but all of this has to do with the national scope,” said Hutchens.

Graves said he’d like to see Kentucky increase its legal limit of THC in industrial hemp from 0.3 percent to 1 percent to improve plant breeding options. That would give Hutchens “some leeway, where he wouldn’t be under the scrutiny of law while he’s trying to breed some new variety that could be indigenous to Kentucky and beneficial to farmers here,” he said.

Cultivation of up to 12,800 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes has been approved by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) for 2017. That is nearly three times the acreage approved for industrial hemp cultivation in 2016, according to a press release from the KDA. Kentucky has “the largest state industrial hemp research project program in the nation,” the KDA reports.

Some funding for hemp processing in Kentucky has come from the state’s share of the national Master Settlement Agreement, a 1998 multi-billion dollar agreement between major tobacco companies and 46 states including Kentucky. Spending of those funds are overseen by the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee.

-END-

2016 Annual Retail Sales for Hemp Products Estimated at $688 Million

Press Releases 

 

2016 US Hemp Market Sales by Category

Please click here to downlad this release as a PDF.

For Immediate Release
Monday, April 14, 2017

CONTACT: Lauren Stansbury, 402-540-1208
lauren@votehemp.com

2016 Annual Retail Sales for Hemp Products Estimated at $688 Million

Hemp Food, Body Care, CBD and Supplements Retail Market in U.S.
Achieves 25% Growth in 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Vote Hemp, the nation’s leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization working to change state and federal laws to allow commercial hemp farming, has released final estimates of the size of the 2016 U.S. retail market for hemp products.  Data from market research supports an estimate of total retail sales of hemp food, supplements and body care products in the United States at $292 million.  Sales of popular hemp items like non-dairy milk, shelled seed, soaps and lotions have continued to increase, complemented by successful hemp cultivation pilot programs in several states, and increasing grassroots pressure to allow hemp to be grown domestically on a commercial scale once again for U.S. processors and manufacturers.  Vote Hemp and Hemp Business Journal have 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 2016 to be at least $688 million.

Of this $688 million hemp market, Vote Hemp and Hemp Business Journal estimate that hemp foods constituted 19% ($129.3 million); personal care products constituted 24% ($163 million); textiles constituted 14% ($99.5 million); supplements constituted 4% ($26 million); hemp derived cannabidiol or CBD products constituted 19% ($130 million); and hemp dietary supplements constituted 4% ($26 million); industrial applications such as car parts constituted 18% ($125.5 million); and other consumer products such as paper and construction materials accounted for the remaining 2% of the market.

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, Alfalfa’s Market, and certain other key establishments, who do not provide sales data — and thus it significantly underestimates actual sales.  According to the SPINS data, combined 2016 sales of U.S. hemp food, body care, CBD products and dietary supplements grew in the sampled stores by 24.64% or approximately $23 million, over the previous year 2015, to a total of nearly $117 million.  According to SPINS figures, sales in conventional retailers grew by 36.54% in 2016, while sales in natural retailers grew by 11.64%. Indeed, the combined growth of hemp retail sales in the U.S. continues steadily: annual natural and conventional market percent growth has progressed from 7.3% (2011), to 16.5% (2012), to 24% (2013), 21.2% (2014), 10.4% (2015),
to nearly 25% in 2016.
“Vote Hemp estimates the total retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. to be at least $688 million for 2016,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp.  “To date, 32 states have passed legislation that allows hemp farming per provisions set forth in the 2014 Farm Bill, and the U.S. remains the largest consumer market for hemp products worldwide. However misguided drug policy still prevents our farmers from cultivating hemp at the scale needed to meet consumer demand, so instead nearly all the hemp to supply the U.S. market is imported. We need Congress to pass federal legislation to allow commercial hemp farming nationally, to let our farmers and American business take advantage of the robust economic opportunity hemp provides,” continued Steenstra.

Data was gathered and analyzed in partnership with Hemp Business Journal, the leading provider of market intelligence to the hemp industry.  Sean Murphy, founder and publisher of Hemp Business Journal said, “The hemp industry is being lead by the Natural Products channel. Food and personal care categories have traditionally lead the industry and continued to do so in 2016. The emergence of Hemp CBD—a category growing at 53%—drove the hemp industry to a total market size of $688 million. Hemp Business Journal estimates $130 million in hemp industry sales is from the Hemp CBD category, nearly 20% of the total market.  This category is being driven by channel sales in the Natural Products Industry, smoke shops and online verticals, with pharmaceutical players quickly moving into position to capture market share.”

Vote Hemp has calculated that approximately 9,650 acres of hemp crops were planted in 15 states during 2016 in the U.S., 30 universities conducted research on hemp cultivation, and 817 State hemp licenses were issued across the country. This hemp cultivation is legal in 32 states, which have lifted restrictions on hemp farming and may license farmers to grow hemp in accordance with Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment. To view the Vote Hemp 2016 Crop Report, which gives a state-by-state breakdown of hemp acreage grown in 2016, please visit:

To date, thirty-two states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. These states are able to take immediate advantage of the industrial hemp research and pilot program provision, Section 7606 of the Farm Bill: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow the agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop’s many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Lauren Stansbury at 402-540-1208 or lauren@votehemp.com.

Company to process hemp, other fiber receives state dollars

For Immediate Release

April 13, 2017

Company to process hemp, other fiber receives state dollars

FRANKFORT—A Kentucky-based company looking to process the fiber of around 750 acres of hemp and the jute-like plant kenaf has been approved for $381,500 in state funds to expand its processing facility.

The Louisville-based Sunstrand received the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board’s (KADB) approval for the funding, drawn from the state’s tobacco settlement agreement dollars, in February. Approved state funds will be used to match county-level KADB funds up to $381,500, with any shortfall covered as a loan up to the full amount, Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP) Deputy Executive Director Bill McCloskey told the Tobacco Settlement Agreement Fund Oversight Committee yesterday.

McCloskey said the natural fiber processed by Sunstrand is being used instead of plastic and glass fiber in car parts manufacturing and other industries, with economic benefits.

“It can be a lower input for the plastic and injection mold industry, specifically car parts,” he told the committee.

Sen. Dennis Parrett, D-Elizabethtown, told the committee that funding Sunstrand may lead to commercial fiber processing-facility requests from other parts of the state. “We opened up an avenue for several of these others. Are you going to be able to treat them the same way?”

GOAP Executive Director Warren Beeler said “probably not.”

“This idea was to do a seed plant and do a fiber plant, and then step aside,” he told Parrett.

Another hemp-related project that came before the KADB in February was a request from the Kentucky Hemp Research Foundation, which McCloskey said requested $189,592 in state and county-level agricultural development funds for research. Total funds approved by the board were $2,000 in Floyd County funds, said McCloskey.

The county funds were approved because they were prioritized by the county, Beeler told the committee.

“We trust the county more than anybody, and they put a high priority on it, then we assume that’s how they want to spend their money,” said Beeler.

At the same time, Beeler said the KADB “felt like research probably needs to be left at this point and time to the (state) universities,” which McCloskey said were conducting 17 hemp research projects in 2016.

The KADB in February also approved:

· A request for $12,000 in county funds for Hopkinsville Elevator to investigate business opportunities in canola;

· $179,373 for Eastern Kentucky University for robotic milkers for dairy farming;

· $50,000 to Kentucky Agricultural Opportunities Inc. to create a producer-owned entity to look at business opportunities in Central Kentucky, specifically the Bluegrass Stockyards project.

Committee Co-Chair Rep. Myron Dossett, R-Pembroke, thanked the GOAP for the update on how tobacco settlement dollars are being used for the state’s benefit.

“I think it’s important for us to share …the importance of what this tobacco settlement money is doing, not only for our ag producers, but how it’s impacting our communities,” said Dossett.

–END–

Hemp Lobby Day Report

Vote Hemp

 

Vote Hemp held a fly-in in Washington, DC on March 1st in coordination with Hemp On the Hill. Attendees included 55 farmers, business owners and advocates who engaged in more than 80 meetings with Senate and House members and staff. A number of attendees were able to meet with their representatives including Senators Grassley, Ernst, Graham, Scott, Manchin and Wyden. Meetings are critical to building support for passage of The Industrial Hemp Farming Act which should be introduced soon. If you couldn’t make it to Washington, you can still help by attending a district meeting. See below for more info. 

Hemp Lobby Day 2017

You can still schedule meetings with your Senators and Representative in your district. Click here to view our advocacy toolkit documents. Make sure and let us know if you are interested in doing a district meeting. We can assist with scheduling, preparation and follow up with you post meeting. Contact Ben Droz at congress@votehemp.com. We are coordinating with the Hemp Road Trip on a number of state lobby day’s as well.  Contact us for more info.  

DEA Arresting Hemp Farmer

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