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Medical Marijuana, Inc. Applauds New Market Opportunities for CBD, U.S. Farmers as Sen. Mitch McConnell Pushes Bill to Legalize Hemp

News provided by   Medical Marijuana, Inc.    09:00 ET

SAN DIEGO, April 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/Medical Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: MJNA), the first publicly traded cannabis company in the United States, announced today that the Company applauds U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s first public announcement of his intention to remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act with the introduction of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018.

Previously, McConnell helped develop new federal and state legal permissions for hemp and even steered hemp into the 2014 Farm Bill. Now, according to McConnell’s public senate announcement on Thursday, April 12, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would remove hemp with less than 0.3 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from the controlled substances list. This would include the de-scheduling of all derivatives, extracts and seeds of hemp as long as those portions of the plant remain below the THC requirement.

“During the recent state work period, I talked to a number of farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners who expressed enthusiasm for hemp’s potential, and I was proud to stand with Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles to announce the impending introduction of this bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his senate speech.

The bill would also add hemp as an eligible commodity for the purposes of crop insurance. This allows farmers to access capital for cultivation and production of hemp and hemp products. For hemp research and production, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would make hemp research eligible for competitive grant funding under the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977.

“This bill has such widespread bipartisan support that it is not only being considered to be an amendment to the Farm Bill of 2018, but also a unique bill on its own,” said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. “It will take a lot of hard work to make hemp federally legal in the U.S., but we’re happy to have someone of such power and influence working to help make this possible.”

Medical Marijuana, Inc. currently produces its full spectrum hemp oil from industrial hemp grown in Europe. If made into law, this new bill could not only generate a major market opportunity for U.S. farmers to potentially source CBD oil for such products from U.S.-based hemp crops, but it could make hemp cultivation legal federally as well, making CBD oil more affordable and accessible for those in need.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. subsidiary HempMeds®, the company that sells the company’s Real Scientific Hemp Oil™ CBD hemp oil, was the first company to ever bring hemp-based CBD oil products to market in the U.S. in 2012 and was also the first-ever company to receive historic federal government import approvals for its CBD products in the nations of Brazil, Mexico and Paraguay.

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The gentlemen from Kentucky rise to speak for hemp

By Paul Danish April 5, 2018

When U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) announced last week that he was going to introduce a bill to legalize industrial hemp, there was a sudden collective intake of breath among the nation’s journos, the likes of which hadn’t been heard since the last 4/20 celebration at CU Boulder.

Rand Paul, Kentucky’s other GOP Senator, will be joining McConnell as an original co-sponsor of the bill.

McConnell said his bill would “finally legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances.”

He added that he was “optimistic that industrial hemp can become sometime in the future what tobacco was in Kentucky’s past.”

The journos’ surprise stemmed from the fact that the only two demographics in the country that still oppose the legalization of marijuana are Republicans and geezers.

But hemp and U.S. Senators from Kentucky go back a long way. All the way back to Henry Clay.

Clay grew hemp on his estate, Ashland, and was a leader in introducing the crop to the state, importing seeds from Asia.

In 1810, he favored legislation requiring the U.S. Navy to use domestically grown hemp for its rigging. And in 1828, he favored a tariff bill, known as the Tariff of Abominations in the Southern states, that imposed a $60-a-ton duty on imported hemp ($1,100 or $2,400 in today’s dollars, depending on how inflation is calculated).

During the 19th and first part of the 20th century, Kentucky was the country’s major hemp-producing state.

In the 19th century, hemp was mostly grown for fiber. It was used for ship’s sails — the word canvas derives from cannabis –— and lines (or ropes, as land lubbers would say). It was also used for clothing; a lot of the home-made clothing called homespun was made from hemp (as opposed to flax or cotton).

But as a fabric, hemp took a major hit from the invention of the cotton gin, which made the production of cotton fiber more economical.

The extraction of fiber from hemp stalks required them to be dried in the sun and then beaten to break the cellulose inner cores, or hurds, and loosen the fibers from them. Henry Clay had more than 50 slaves to do the job.

(Hemp did benefit from “King Cotton” in one surprising way; hemp cordage was used to bind cotton bales.)

The hemp equivalent of the cotton gin, dubbed the decorticator, wasn’t developed until the 20th century.

Just about the time hemp seemed poised to take off as a major 20th century crop — a 1937 issue of Popular Mechanics described a number of major uses and called it a “New Billion Dollar Crop” — the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed, and hemp became collateral damage from reefer madness. The war on drugs ensued and Cretans finally succeeded in declaring it a controlled substance and outlawing its production outright in 1970.

But it’s hard to keep a good plant down. In 2014, McConnell, with an eye toward resurrecting Kentucky’s hemp industry evidently, attached a rider to the Farm Bill that shielded state industrial hemp research programs from federal meddling.

It was the same year Colorado’s re-legalization of marijuana – and hemp – kicked in. Today 80 percent of U.S. hemp production, while tiny, occurs in Kentucky and Colorado.

Hemp producers usually make a point of saying that you absolutely, positively can’t get high from the hemp they grow. If so, it’s because they’re using strains that have been deliberately bred to have absolutely, positively no THC in them. Other than that, there is absolutely, positively no biological difference between marijuana and hemp.

The difference lies in how they are grown. Hemp plants are grown close together like grass. That way they’ll grow up tall and stringy. Marijuana is planted with the plants further apart, so they can bush out and produce more flowers (or buds as we call ’em). But the individual hemp plants will still produce flowers at the top.

Henry Clay’s hemp would probably get you high, but not very high, just like any pre-1970 hemp crop before the THC was bred out.

Speaking of Henry Clay, hemp is again being grown at Ashland, his estate.

Last October, the Kentucky Hempsters, an advocacy group, held their second annual “hemp-infused” fundraising dinner there, which featured a five-course meal with each dish incorporating hemp foods (sans THC, alas) and show-casing the hemp plant’s edible side.

Chef Jeremy Ashby’s Dinner Menu

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Research: The Industrial Revolution Left Psychological Scars That Can Still Be Seen Today

March 26, 2018

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The Industrial Revolution, which brought together large-scale coal-based industries like mining, steel, pottery, and textiles, helped create the foundation of modern society and wealth. At the same time, the early industrial economies that formed in this era were also associated with brutal working and living conditions. Our research, recently accepted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, shows that areas where coal was king may still be feeling the effects.

In countries like the UK and the U.S. that industrialized early, coal now plays only a minor role in the economy. For example, in the U.S. today, the entire coal industry employs about 53,000 people, with only about 11,000 of those working in extraction. Coal production and consumption have also declined markedly. Yet prior research has found that in the areas of the U.S. and UK where coal still is a major industry, it affects local populations in a profound way. For example, people who live in areas with active coal mining today often experience greater risk of mental and physical health issues, such as depression, anxiety, COPD, and asthma, than people in other regions. Research also shows that besides the occupational health risks that miners face, these regions pose increased population-wide health risks due to pollution and economic hardship.

Today, millions of people live in such regions that once brought together large-scale coal-based industries, for example in the old industrial north of the UK and the so-called Rust Belt in the U.S. Given that these historical industries had dominated the economic and social life of these regions for such a long time, we wanted to explore whether they continue to influence the people currently living there. Our research suggests that the massive industrialization of the 19th and 20th centuries had long-term psychosocial effects that continue to shape the well-being, health, and behaviors of millions of people in these regions today.

Our study, an interdisciplinary collaboration between psychologists, historians, and economic geographers, examined whether people in former industrial regions in the U.K. and the U.S. demonstrated more markers of “psychological adversity” (i.e., higher neuroticism, lower conscientiousness, lower aspects of extraversion, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy) than people in other regions. To reach back to the Industrial Revolution, we had to examine different sources of unique historical data on regional industry structure — one source, for example, was baptism records from 1813-1820 that stated the occupation of the father. We were able to determine the share of employment in large-scale coal-based industries, such as coal mining, and in steam-powered manufacturing industries that used coal as fuel, such as pottery, textile production, and metal manufacturing. This was our measure for the historical concentration of large-scale, coal-powered industries in a region.

We also used existing online surveys to collect personality trait data from 381,916 current residents of England and Wales and 3,457,270 residents living in the U.S., looking at which regions had more people reporting so-called unhappy personality traits: higher neuroticism (characterized by greater emotional instability, worrying, anger), lower conscientiousness (less self-control and self-management), and lower extraversion (less sociable, outgoing, and fun-oriented). These have been tied to lesser psychological well-being and poorer health behaviors. We also studied life satisfaction and life expectancy across regions.

Our research shows that a region’s historical industries leave a lasting imprint on the local psychology, which remains even when those industries are no longer dominant or have almost completely disappeared. We found that in regions like Blaenau Gwent in the UK and the Rust Belt in the U.S., people reported more unhappy personality traits, lower life satisfaction, and lower life expectancy than otherwise similar regions where these industries did not dominate (think Sussex and Dorset in the non-industrial South of England and regions in the American West). For example, in the UK, neuroticism was 33% higher, conscientiousness 26% lower, and life satisfaction 29% lower in these areas compared with the rest of the country. This effect was robust even when controlling for other historical factors that might have affected the well-being of regions, such as historical energy supply, education, wealth, geology, population density, and climate.

To come to more causal conclusions, we needed to determine that a region’s industrial history is what caused residents to have these personality traits today, rather than regions with a certain personality structure attracting large-scale industries during the Industrial Revolution. We employed an instrumental variable analysis, using the natural location of coalfields in the year 1700. The early industrial centers often emerged near coalfields because coal was expensive to transport and plants were mostly powered by steam engines that required large amounts of cheap coal. Even among these industrial centers — which are likely to have emerged owing to their proximity to coal, and not to any pre-existing personality trends — we observed lower well-being and more adverse personality traits, consistent with idea that a region’s industrial history affects its personality structure.

Since the historical industries appear to exert long-term psychological effects, our next task was understanding the mechanisms driving this. We’ve long known that work and living conditions were bad in old industrial centers — the daily work in the plants and mines was often highly repetitive, stressful, and exhausting, not to mention dangerous, and child labor was very common. We also know from psychological and sociological studies that specific work characteristics, such as a lack of autonomy and complexity at work, can shape the personality of workers in a negative way, for instance by lowering intellectual flexibility and personal initiative. Adam Smith had even argued in 1776 that the division of labor, resulting in highly-specialized and repetitive work tasks, comes with detrimental psychosocial effects for the workers.

Other studies have shown how work characteristics of parents, such as self-direction and conformity at work, get “transmitted” to their children via parenting practices and a socialization of values and norms that leads them to mirror these characteristics. For example, highly repetitive, exhausting, and low-autonomy work can affect the values of workers, in that they put less value on intellectual virtues and critical thinking, and these values then often get transmitted to the children of these workers as well. In addition to these socialization mechanisms, we also know that personality has a genetic basis, which may help certain traits persist across generations.

Finally, we also know that personality is shaped by local institutions such as schools, local attitudes, and social standards. For example we know that school students’ attitudes about unhealthy behaviors and alcohol are influenced by their friends’ and neighbors’ attitudes about these issues. So it’s possible that even people who moved to old industrial regions, versus those whose families had always been there, would be affected by prevailing personality traits and values.

We speculated that migration patterns would contribute to industrialization affecting future personality traits. There are a couple reasons to think this: First, during the Industrial Revolution there might have been a certain “genetic founder effect” at play — that is, the massive influx of a specific personality type into the emerging and quickly growing industrial centers. For the U.K., there are historical analyses arguing that the emerging industrial centers were mainly populated by people from neighboring rural areas who had suffered economic and psychological hardship, such as major famines in Ireland. Such a massive influx might have established an initial level of psychological adversity in these industrial regions during the Industrial Revolution, which would affect and shape the personality structure of subsequent generations in these regions.

Second, people with happier personalities might move away from these regions, which could boost the concentration of unhappy personality traits there today. We found support for this in our data. When we compared people who grew up and stayed in old coal regions with people who grew up there but later left, we found that those who left scored lower in neuroticism and higher in conscientiousness and in aspects of extraversion.

In sum, the effect of the Industrial Revolution seems to be more toxic and far-reaching than previously thought. While massive industrialization brought unprecedented technological and economic progress, it also left a psychological legacy that continues to shape the personality traits and well-being of people currently in these regions. Regional personality, which can provide a sense of local identity and pride, can still reflect the historical hardships and difficult work and living conditions of past generations. Without a strong orchestrated effort to improve economic circumstances and people’s well-being and health in these regions, this legacy is likely to persist.

This research should remind us that the dominance of a certain industry or type of work can have unexpected, long-term effects on the personality structure of regions — and these can be felt long after they change.

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The Elkhorn Manifesto

“THE HEMP FARMING ACT OF 2018”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2018
Contact: Jonathan Miller
(859) 619-6328, jmiller@fbtlaw.com
Brian Furnish: (859) 298-0465

HEMP INDUSTRY LAUDS SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL FOR PENDING INTRODUCTION OF “THE HEMP FARMING ACT OF 2018”


FRANKFORT – The U.S. Hemp Roundtable, the industry association that joins the nation’s leading hemp companies and all of its major grassroots organizations, today lauded U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell upon his announcement of the pending introduction of “The Hemp Farming Act of 2018.”  Leader McConnell’s bill, which is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY), would permanently remove hemp from regulation as a controlled substance and treat it as an agricultural commodity.  Similar legislation, H.R. 3530, the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017,” was introduced last year by Rep. James Comer (R-KY), and has been co-sponsored by 43 of his colleagues, from both sides of the aisle.
“The hemp industry is very grateful to Leader McConnell for his strong leadership over the years on behalf of providing Kentucky farmers – and the whole U.S. agricultural commodity – this exciting new economic opportunity,” stated Roundtable President Brian Furnish, an 8th generation tobacco farmer from Cynthiana, who credits the Leader with empowering his transition from tobacco to hemp.  “Leader McConnell’s persistence and commitment has gotten us to this point – through his work on the 2014 Farm Bill and subsequent legislation that created today’s hemp pilot programs.  There’s no better person to help get us across the finish line.”
“While this has been, and will continue to be, a broadly bipartisan effort in Congress, when the history of hemp legalization is written, the two most important figures will be Mitch McConnell and James Comer,” stated Roundtable General Counsel Jonathan Miller, who previously served as Kentucky’s State Treasurer and Chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “Everyone who is working so hard to build this nascent industry understands that we owe deep appreciation to Senator McConnell for his strong commitment and steady leadership on this issue.”

Mitch McConnell wants hemp removed from controlled substance list

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP)The U.S. Senate’s top leader wants to bring hemp production back into the mainstream by removing it from the list of controlled substances.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he’ll introduce legislation to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity.

The Republican made the announcement in his home state of Kentucky, which has been at the forefront of hemp’s comeback.

Growing hemp without a federal permit has long been banned due to its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana. Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

Hemp got a limited reprieve with the 2014 federal Farm Bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp projects for research and development. So far, more than 30 states have authorized hemp research.

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Indiana House votes to allow Hoosier farmers to grow cannabis plants with low THC

2015 451429480-Hemp_Kentucky_NY117_WEB568305.jpg_20150406.jpg

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.

► More: Holcomb: Indiana stores can continue to sell CBD oil while lawmakers work on fix to law

► More: Indiana takes small step toward legalizing medical marijuana as House votes to study issue

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.

Kentucky Congressman Champions Deregulation of Industrial Hemp

1/7/2018 |

Chris Clayton

A freshman Kentucky congressmen, and member of the House Agriculture Committee, attended the American Farm Bureau Federation convention on Sunday to promote his new legislation to deregulate industrial hemp nationally.

Rep. James Comer, a Republican representing Kentucky’s 1st Congressional District, was the state’s agricultural commissioner from 2012 to 2016 before being elected to Congress. During his time as ag commissioner, the state passed a bill to set up a regulatory framework to make industrial hemp a reality.

“That was six years ago. Today, Kentucky is the leading industrial-hemp producing state in the nation and 20 other states have passed similar legislation.”

Comer’s bill would reclassify industrial hemp from a controlled substance to an agricultural crop. The bill would make it clear it is not a drug and Comer said he does not support legalization of marijuana.

“I’m trying to differentiate between marijuana and hemp,” he said.

Hemp generally has less than .3% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical compound that creates the high in marijuana, which generally has 15% or more THC. That difference is “It is a crop that has a lot of potential, not just for farmers, but for manufacturing,” Comer said.

Hemp can still produce Cannabidiol (CBD) oil that Comer said can be a solution in managing pain, and possibly help address the country’s opioid crisis. CBD oil can treat pain in a non-addictive manner, he said.

“I think hemp has a very bright future, but we have to get the federal government off the backs of producers and give the private sector confidence that this is an agricultural crop and something worth investing in, not something they have to worry about some overzealous DEA agent or Department of Justice coming in and seizing their assets because they do not know the difference between hemp and marijuana.”

Beyond CBD oil, Comer said there is a Louisville company making fiber, as well as a fiber foam that is going into at least some automobile production. Comer said other auto manufacturers want to research further uses for auto interiors as well. There are also companies using hemp to produce animal feed and bedding, he said.

“We’re trying to utilize every part of the plant and I feel Kentucky has proven there is huge demand for hemp products,” Comer said.

Comer said his bill has House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., as a co-sponsor. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., also is going to introduce a companion bill in the Senate. McConnell had language in the last farm bill to help commercialize the crop in the state.

Comer said he will likely look to move his legislation through the Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as Judiciary, but he said it is possible the bill might be included in the upcoming farm bill. Comer added, however, that at least some members of the House Agriculture Committee are leery of dealing with a hemp-legalization bill.

“The Ag Committee really is not as crazy about this as some of the other committees,” Comer said. “They hear hemp and they get scared.”

Comer’s bill comes, however, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks to potentially reinstate more prosecutorial authority over marijuana even as more states are legalizing the drug. That could blur the lines in the debate about hemp as well.

The American Farm Bureau Federation also has endorsed the bill and the growth of industrial hemp as an agricultural industry.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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Kentucky Producers: Federal Rollback of Marijuana Enforcement Won’t Affect Hemp

By Nicole Erwin 44 minutes ago

Kentucky’s industrial hemp research program is on a trajectory for growth with highest number of approved applicants this year.  Hemp’s association with Marijuana however, remains a  hurdle for producers.

In a recent breakout session at the American Farm Bureau National Convention in Nashville hemp supporters discussed legislation to remove the crop from the DEA’s schedule one substance list.  Hemp is only legal in states with certified industrial hemp pilot programs like Kentucky. The federal government currently classifies hemp as an illegal substance due to its similarities to marijuana.

West Kentucky hemp processor Katie Moyer says Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move to rescind the ‘Cole memo,’ which reflects a passive federal policy on the enforcement of cannabis laws, won’t affect hemp or the proposed Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017.

“Jeff Sessions seems to be acting pretty much of his own accord. It doesn’t seem like there’s a big appetite in D.C. for doing the things that Sessions is doing.” Moyer said.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has said the 2014 Farm Bill gives clear authority to conduct an Industrial Hemp pilot program, regardless of Marijuana enforcement. Moyer said what could happen in the 2018 Farm Bill remains uncertain.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has approved more than 12,000 acres for growers to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes in 2018.  The 225 approved participants must pass background checks and consent to inspections. Last year, participants planted the highest number of acres in recent history at more than 3,200 acres.

Kentucky Congressmen have filed federal legislation to ease restrictions on hemp; including the most filling by Congressman Andy Barr. H.R. 4711 which asks for protections for institutions that provide financial services to hemp businesses.

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Ryan Quarles

@RyanQuarlesKY

Section 7606 of 2014 Farm Bill gives clear authority to conduct an Industrial Hemp pilot program! Just approved 12,000+ acres for 2018. https://twitter.com/jimhigdon/status/950191461701701632 …

8:46 PM – Jan 7, 2018

FROM THE DESK OF THE KY AG COMMISSIONER RYAN QUARLES

Grass-Oval-Sticker

Ryan F. Quarles

Commissioner

KY Department of Agriculture

Friends,

As we start 2018, I wanted to give you an update on the status of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA) Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program.

2017 was a good year, and we did much to put this crop on a path towards commercialization in Kentucky once Congress acts to remove industrial hemp from the federal list of controlled substances.

Last year, our growers planted more acres of hemp than ever before, with more than 3,200 acres and another 46,000 square feet in indoor facilities. I am happy to report to you that we have approved more than 12,000 acres for industrial hemp research in 2018.

We also have more processors than ever before, filling a huge research need, and allowing us to explore the many applications of industrial hemp. It is imperative that Kentucky attract processors to drive innovation and spur economic development.

By now, applicants have been notified whether or not their 2018 grower applications were approved. Once conditionally approved applicants have attended mandatory training, the KDA will begin issuing licenses in March for the 2018 growing and processing season.

As you may know, I have still not received a formal response from the DEA, USDA and FDA regarding its 2016 Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp (SOPIH). This is disappointing. I sent another letter to the DEA last month requesting a response to our concerns about the SOPIH and also for a meeting to discuss my concerns. You can read my comments here and watch my video message to the DEA here. Specifically, recent statements by a DEA spokesperson claims that consumable hemp-derived product is illegal to consume, a view which we are currently pushing back against.

I am hopeful that 2018 will be a great year for agriculture all around, and specifically for our industrial hemp research pilot program. I want you to know that if you ever need anything from the KDA’s team, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of KDA’s Hemp Staff.

Happy New Year!

Ryan F. Quarles

Commissioner

KY Department of Agriculture

105 Corporate Drive

Frankfort, KY  40601

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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