Tag Archives: cannabidiol

Kentucky Farmers Ready for Growth of Hemp Industry

By Janet Patton | November 4, 2015

Tucked away off a narrow country road in Clark County, Kentucky, in the middle of a farm, 27 acres of hemp grew all summer. Now, the plants will be harvested and processed.

Kentucky, hailed as a leader by industrial hemp advocates, has grown the hemp. Now the state is working on growing the industry.

“In two years, we’ve come a long way,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who is now running for Congress. “We’ve proven first of all that it’s not a drug, which was very important for the opposition to realize. And we’ve proven it’s economically viable, or there wouldn’t be 22 companies that have made an investment in the state. … What we’re doing now is working with the companies that want to go to the next step to commercialize the product. “

The plants in Winchester are part of the 100 acres of hemp – high in cannabidiol and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (the high-inducing chemical in marijuana) – grown this year for GenCanna, which moved from Canada to Kentucky to be in the heart of the hemp revolution. It deliberately chose to come to Kentucky over other states, including Colorado, because of the agricultural resources and the climate, both meteorological and political.

“We have been in this industry for many years, and we are setting a new bar in Kentucky,” GenCanna CEO Matty Mangone- Miranda said. “Kentucky’s kept the focus on industrial hemp” rather than cloud the issue with other forms of cannabis cultivation, as Colorado has permitted.

Mangone-Miranda, who estimates that hemp could become a billion-dollar industry, said his group is in hemp for the long run.

“The industry is likely to have a bubble, then stabilize with a market of diversified products,” he said, citing potential uses in sports drinks, nutritional products, supplements and more.

GenCanna has invested more than $5 million in Kentucky, according to company officials, although it has yet to see any revenue. That will come once the company is able to deliver a stable source of low-THC/high-CBD hemp.

“The only way to have hemp become an agricultural commodity is to grow lots of it and see what happens,” said Steve Bean, GenCanna’s chief operating officer.

Coming to Kentucky had other benefits, too. Many farmers were eager to get into the crop, which decades ago proliferated in the Bluegrass; hundreds applied to be part of pilot projects to grow hemp. The crop still can legally be grown only in affiliation with the state Department of Agriculture and entities that sign detailed memos of understanding.

Kentucky also has resources that in the past were used for tobacco that have converted well to hemp cultivation.

In fact, GenCanna’s headquarters is now in part of a former Philip Morris office building stuffed with former labs. The place was practically abandoned as the cigarette maker began retreating from Central Kentucky.

And next door is a processing center in a former tobacco seed plant, where GenCanna built a system to turn the chopped-up hemp plants into a sort of dried powder to sell as a nutritional supplement.

The Shell Farm and Greenhouses in Lancaster is turning its fields away from tobacco, growing 157,000 hemp plants on 40 acres outdoors and 3,500 plants in a greenhouse.

“And we’ll be growing it indoors all winter,” Giles Shell said. Shell’s greenhouses once raised flowers; now he’s working on hemp genetics.

“There’s no seed crop, so we have to take cuttings to get the plants in the field. So I’m selecting genetics, for a hardier plant – bigger, fuller,” Shell said. “We’ve got a problem with variegation or chimera, so I trying to select away from it.”

Next year, Shell intends to grow even more hemp.

“We’re going to quit raising our tobacco crop, and if we do any flowers, it will be downsized,” Shell said. “Last year, we raised 120 acres of tobacco. This year, we dropped to 80. Next year, we will drop to none. There’s not a market any more for tobacco and not enough money once you factor in labor and chemical costs.”

Both the offices and the processing center are shared with Atalo Holdings, another hemp entrepreneur company, this one formed by Andy Graves and other Kentuckians working on crushing hemp seed for oil and other fiber production. Graves also grew the 27 acres of hemp for GenCanna.

Other groups, including the Stanley Brothers of Charlotte’s Web CBD oil fame, also are pursuing the hemp’s potential.

Kentucky could be on the cusp of a green revolution – a hemp boom that could go in myriad directions or spiral into a bubble of speculation.

“It could,” Comer acknowledged. But, assuming that sometime in the next two years, Congress makes it legal for anyone to grow hemp, he said Kentucky should be well-positioned, with a jump-start on the infrastructure.

“We get requests every day for companies that want to start processing hemp. I worry that some may not have the credibility of some of the others, and that’s why it’s taking longer to certify, to get more background info,” Comer said. “We’re not picking winners and losers, but those that have credibility. Our reputations are on the line here, too.”

GenCanna has more contracts with farmers than any other company at this point, Comer said. It’s the only one in the cannabidiol business with signed contracts with national chains to buy their hemp product, he said.

“GenCanna is the real deal,” he said. “And they’ve given me assurances everyone will be paid, and all the farmers are happy.”

The Shell family, which has a three-year contract with GenCanna, certainly is now.

“We were very leery – I was the most reserved in my family of starting to do this,” Giles Shell said. “But … I felt like we were the best route to help commercialize this crop. Demand is really high, and supply isn’t there. Basic economics will tell you that’s profit.

“We’ve got a year ahead of everybody else that’s going to get into the game.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GenCanna Global: Setting the Industry Standard

Hemp Project

“Young hemp plant; Source GenCanna Global”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Diego Flammini, Farms.com

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

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

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

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

Here are some things that set hemp apart from marijuana:

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

Hemp rope

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

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

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

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

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A Beginner’s Guide to Hemp Oil, the Cannabis Product That’s Legal Right Now

 

 

By Hannah Sentenac Thu., May 29 2014 at 7:00 AM

With medical marijuana on everyone’s lips (in more ways than one), people are buzzing about weed, hemp, cannabis, THC, CBD, and all kinds of other related terms that you might or might not understand. It’s OK — this is confusing stuff.

Leave it to Cultist to offer a little clarity about one such topic you’re probably hearing a lot about: hemp oil. From "cannamoms" to Whole Foods salespeople, lots of folks are touting the benefits of this product. But what is it, exactly, and what does it do?

See also: How to Become a Medical Marijuana Millionaire in Ten Easy Steps

So what is this stuff?
Let’s start with what hemp oil is not. It is not marijuana. It does not get people high. Both originate from the same plant, but marijuana is cultivated for the buds (which have to be carefully raised for that specific purpose). They’re also grown differently.

The oil has only trace amounts of THC, the psychotropic component in weed. Instead, it has higher concentrations of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is the medicinal boon people are all atwitter over.

"You’ll see two kinds — hemp oil drawn from the plant and hemp oil drawn from the seeds. Ours is drawn from the mature stalks of the hemp plant," says Andrew Hard, director of public relations for HempMeds, a California company whose hemp oil products are sold all over the world. The stalk and seeds don’t fall under the definition of what the U.S. government dubs marijuana, he says; that’s why the products are legal in all 50 states.

Aw, man. So it won’t get me stoned?
Sorry, man. Let’s put it this way: The medical marijuana bill that recently passed the Florida House would allow patients with cancer and conditions that result in chronic seizures or severe muscle spasms to use marijuana pills, oils, or vapors that contain 0.8 percent THC or lower and 10 percent CBD or higher. Right now, those things are illegal.

HempMeds’ Real Scientific Hemp Oil (RSHO), as a comparison, has 15.5 to 25 percent CBD by volume but only trace amounts of THC.

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