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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONTINUE READING…

Authored By: Radii China


Legalizing Weed: 4 Agricultural Benefits of Industrial Hemp Cultivation

By Andrea Miller   |   Tuesday, 01 Dec 2015 06:56 PM

As legalizing weed becomes more and more prevalent among U.S. states, industrial hemp cultivation is one such change that has the potential to benefit the farming industry.
For agriculture to continue to be a viable industry in the U.S., profound change is needed in order to bolster economic opportunity for farmers. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there were 6.8 million farms in the nation in 1935. Today, there are just 2.2 million farms even as the population has increased, and many principal farm owners and/or operators are older than age 60.
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Here are four agricultural benefits of industrial hemp cultivation:
1. Hemp can serve as an alternative to tobacco. As more Americans quit smoking and fewer young people start, tobacco is no longer a viable product for many farmers. One study conducted by the University of Kentucky, reported by the North American Industrial Hemp Council, found that industrial hemp has the potential to become the most profitable crops for the state second only to tobacco, and may be able to serve as an alternative crop for tobacco farmers whose product is no longer in demand.
2. There are production advantages for farmers who grow hemp. This hardy plant is less susceptible to fluctuations in weather and other environmental conditions than other plants, such as cotton. This means that farmers are more likely to profit from their investment in an industrial hemp crop, and are able to grow a substantial amount of hemp in a relatively small acreage. Experts also note that an industrial hemp crop requires minimal maintenance compared to output.
3. Industrial hemp crops help to enrich the soil. A boon for any farmer, the growth pattern of this plant naturally creates more nutrient-rich soil. Because the dense leaves block sunlight, few weeds grow among industrial hemp crops. The deep roots of the plants provide nitrogen and other minerals to the earth, while reducing the salinity of the groundwater and minimizing topsoil erosion. In addition, this crop is ideal for composting to grow other plants, such as wheat or soy.
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4. Industrial hemp is a profitable rotation crop. While the rotation crop system is often necessary for sustainable agriculture, few of these crops are truly profitable. However, industrial hemp not only makes an excellent rotation crop because of the features listed in the previous item, but because of the huge U.S. market for the plant, farmers may be able to keep businesses running that would have not otherwise survived.

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Historic Partnership Offers 566 Native American Tribes and Sovereign Nations Sustainable Cannabis-Based Economic Solutions

Source: CannaNative
October 12, 2015 09:00 ET

CannaNative: Historic Partnership Offers 566 Native American Tribes and Sovereign Nations Sustainable Cannabis-Based Economic Solutions

Native American-Focused Company Brings Experience to Pave the Way for Indigenous Tribes to Restore Cannabis Cultivation, Use, Research, Commerce and Banking on Tribal Lands

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 12, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Native American tribes are positioned to benefit from the official launch of CannaNative, LLC.  CannaNative™ is the premiere majority Native American-owned and operated company to assist tribal nations – more than 560 tribes in the U.S. – with utilizing the rapidly emerging cannabis industry to gain true sovereignty: restored self-sufficiency with complete economic and environmental sustainability.

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/da498128-198e-4bd0-ae15-b0d33cd5cd99

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In addition to a booming marijuana industry, current U.S. imports of hemp products are valued at $620 million annually. CannaNative™ will usher a new age for sovereign nations, as Native American tribes have unique rights that allow for cannabis (marijuana and industrial hemp) cultivation, manufacturing, marketing, sales, use, distribution, medical research and even banking institutions for the rapidly growing cash-and-carry industry.

CannaNative™ was recently featured in a Bloomberg issued report titled Where to Stash Cannabis Cash?  Tribal Nations Make Bid to Bank It introducing the Native American economic development and advisory group. The report answers the question that Bloomberg recently posed, “Does Anybody Want $3 Billion in Cash From Pot Sales? Big Banks Say No, Thanks”.

The vision for CannaNative™ began with former tribal Chairman, Anthony Rivera, Jr., who evaluated the emerging cannabis industry and viable business partnerships in late 2014.  By early 2015, Rivera established a majority partnership with General Hemp, LLC, and launched the unprecedented venture CannaNative, LLC.  CannaNative™ plans to bring back improved health, wellness and prosperity to all tribal nations – with cannabis.

“We are honored to take part in this historic venture between Native Americans and our group that has developed the largest hemp CBD pipeline,” states Stuart W. Titus, PhD and President of General Hemp, LLC.  “Native Americans generally have a good amount of agricultural land that can be used to grow a robust hemp crop.  I’m also very excited about the potential for medical marijuana to be grown and researched on native lands; that opens up a great amount of possibilities for tribes and the industry.“

Rivera states, “To move forward, one must first take a look back at our ancient heritage.”

According to hemp history, carbon tests have suggested that the use of wild hemp dates as far back as 8000 B.C.  The Columbia History of the World (1996) states that weaving of hemp fiber began over 10,000 years ago.  Native American natural remedies and farming heritage and culture dates back centuries.

Hemp was grown at Mount Vernon, and George Washington became interested in the crop by 1765 to serve as one of the staple crops to replace the cultivation of tobacco. Washington is quoted as saying, “The Hemp may be sown anywhere.”

In 17th Century America, farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut were ordered by law to grow “Indian hemp”. By the early 18th century, a person could be sentenced to jail if they weren’t growing hemp on their land; hemp was considered to be legal tender. For over 200 years in colonial America, hemp was currency that one could use to pay their taxes with.

The reason, Rivera states, “Cannabis benefits Mother Earth and mankind.”

There are more than 25,000 known uses for industrial hemp including: pulp, paper, insulation, biocomposites, construction materials, food, feed and pharmaceuticals. Hemp is used today for soil remediation in polluted areas; planting cannabis naturally eliminates toxins and restores balance.  With no need for herbicides or pesticides, cannabis is a proven eco-friendly resource.

The crop flourished until negative propaganda created stigma of its use in the late 1930s.  By the early 1940s, the botanical was removed from the U.S. economy and pharmacopeia.  Its demonization and elimination was extended to tribal nations through Federal law.

Today with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Wilkinson and Cole memorandums, that has all changed.  Functioning as an educational and advisory group on the cannabis industry, CannaNative™ has traveled to numerous leaders on reservations.  Meetings focus on building their nations with sustainable cannabis-based solutions, as well as protecting tribal sovereignty through strict regulations and collaboration with legal authorities.

Rivera continues, “The response has been 100% positive.  Helping tribes create and implement proprietary solutions in the cannabis industry will take them to true sovereignty. Cannabis restoration by sovereign nations represents a unique advantage that is larger than the multi-billion dollar Native American gaming industry.”

Titus adds, “Native Americans have done a lot to get the gaming industry ‘banked’ so to speak; the Native American gaming industry represents a proven banking model in a cash-based industry. Another thing we are interested in is developing banking solutions for the cannabis industry. Through the development of CannaNative, we are very excited about the numerous opportunities before us.”

Rivera concludes, “In the gaming industry, location is key and not all tribes are benefitting. However, the cannabis industry is limited to only land and imagination.  The gaming industry is a great stepping stone proving that native tribes already have a blueprint for success in a cash-driven industry.  Becoming involved in the cannabis industry levels the playing field for all tribes.  We are here to help tribes grow with CannaNative.”

About CannaNative’s Leadership Team:

Anthony Rivera, Jr. leads CannaNative, LLC, an innovative company working with Native American Sovereign Nations to establish a self-sustaining Cannabis and Industrial Hemp economy on sovereign lands.  He is Harvard University trained and governed his Indian Tribe as Tribal Chairman.   He has also earned earned his wings with over twenty years of experience in management and business development, academic and government assignments and financial services.  He has served various businesses and tribal organizations as an Executive Leader, Elected Official, Project Manager, Lead Negotiator, Business Diplomat, Financial Specialist, Academic Instructor, Security Operator, and Cultural Specialist. In his role as Tribal Chairman of the Acjachemen Nation in southern California, Anthony was instrumental in leading the tribe’s economic and political efforts in both California and in Washington D.C.  He is the Owner and Founder of 7 Green Feathers and has demonstrated his trustworthiness throughout Indian Country.

Dr. Cedric Black Eagle, Co-Founder of CannaNative, served as Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Crow Tribe of Montana and has a background in business administration and Indian Law.  Dr. Black Eagle was instrumental in negotiating the Crow Nation Indian Water Rights Settlement and continues to serve as a consultant to Indian tribes on Indian economic development projects, Indian water rights, and Indian energy projects.  Dr. Black Eagle formed Black Eagle Enterprise International, serving as the company’s president.

Andy Nakai, Co-Founder of CannaNative, is a member of the Navajo Nation whose passion is to create and develop economies on reservations all across the country.  A graduate of the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, Nakai studied finance at the graduate school at the University of Utah.  He began working with tribal economics and finance issues in 1995, and has represented more than thirty tribes and tribal enterprises to date.  A former Vice President in the banking industry, Nakai served as a Board Member for the Navajo Partnership for Housing and American Indian.  Currently, he is Vice Chairman for the Board of Directors for Navajo CDFI, which is poised to be the largest Native CDFI for Indian Country.

For more information on CannaNative, visit the Company’s website at www.CannaNative.com

About CannaNative LLC.

CannaNative’s goal is to help tribes to develop hemp and cannabis-based economies on Native American lands throughout the United States.  We believe that every tribe should have the opportunity to establish and grow a responsible, cannabis-based economy to sustain all future generations. For more information on CannaNative, visit the Company’s website at www.CannaNative.com

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA) DISCLOSURE
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

FORWARD-LOOKING DISCLAIMER
This press release may contain certain forward-looking statements and information, as defined within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and is subject to the Safe Harbor created by those sections.This material contains statements about expected future events and/or financial results that are forward-looking in nature and subject to risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements by definition involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Medical Marijuana Inc. to be materially different from the statements made herein.

LEGAL DISCLOSURE
Medical Marijuana Inc. does not sell or distribute any products that are in violation of the United States Controlled Substances Act (US.CSA). The Company does grow, sell, and distribute hemp-based products and is involved with the federally legal distribution of medical marijuana-based products within certain international markets. Cannabidiol is a natural constituent of hemp oil.

The final photo is also available at Newscom, www.newscom.com, and via AP PhotoExpress.

For further information, please contact:

Media Contact:

Andrew Hard
Chief Executive Officer
CMW Media
P. 858-380-5478
andrew.hard@cmwmedia.com
www.cmwmedia.com

Corporate Contact:
CannaNative, LLC.
550 West "C" Street, Ste. 2040
San Diego, CA 92101
877.989.6420
www.CannaNative.com

Attachments:

  • Anthony Rivera, Jr., Co-Founder of CannaNative, LLC, signs historic majority partnership agreement with General Hemp, LLC.

  • Dr. Cedric Black Eagle, Co-Founder of CannaNative, LLC, signs historic majority partnership agreement with General Hemp, LLC.

  • Industrial hemp provides more than 25,000 known uses. Source: Congressional Research Service

  • Andy Nakai, Anthony Rivera, Jr., Stuart W. Titus, PhD, and Dr. Cedric Black Eagle represent the founders of CannaNative, LLC.

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Mitch McConnell’s Love Affair with Hemp How the Kentucky senator picked a fight with the DEA and became one of Washington’s top drug policy reformers.

Last May, a shipment of 250 pounds of hemp seeds left Italy destined for Kentucky as part of a pilot project made legal by the 2013 federal farm bill. Kentucky farmers had long hoped for a crop that could fill the void left by the decline of tobacco, and many thought that industrial hemp, which is used in a vast array of products, could be that crop.

The hemp seeds cleared customs in Chicago, but when the cargo landed at the UPS wing of Louisville International Airport, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized it, arguing that importing hemp seeds required an import permit, which could take six months to process. If farmers couldn’t get those seeds into the ground by June 1, the entire first year of the hemp pilot program would be dashed.

The DEA would have succeeded in blocking the seeds from reaching Kentucky farmers and university researchers but for the efforts of the state’s agricultural commissioner, who sued the agency and, most improbably, Mitch McConnell.

McConnell—then the Senate’s minority leader—worked furiously to free the seeds from the DEA’s clutches and continued the pro-hemp drumbeat throughout 2014, as he campaigned for reelection. This year, as Senate majority leader, he’s taken a further step by co-sponsoring the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015. While the farm bill carved out an exception to allow hemp cultivation in Kentucky, the 2015 bill would remove hemp entirely from the list of drugs strictly regulated by the Controlled Substances Act. It would, in essence, legalize hemp production in the United States.

“We are laying the groundwork for a new commodity market for Kentucky farmers,” McConnell told me. “And by exploring innovative ways to use industrial hemp to benefit a variety of Kentucky industries, the pilot programs could help boost our state’s economy and lead to future jobs. … I look forward to seeing industrial hemp prosper in the Commonwealth.”

Yes, Mitch McConnell said that. About hemp.

To grasp how McConnell—the quintessential establishment Republican—came to champion industrial hemp, you must first understand the economics and internal politics of Kentucky, as well as McConnell’s relationship to Kentucky’s junior senator, Rand Paul. It’s also helpful to know that close to $500 million worth of hemp products produced by Canada and other countries is already sold in the United States through such stores as Whole Foods. McConnell’s move also has potential ramifications beyond the marketplace, providing a credible threat to the Controlled Substances Act since it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970.

“The fact that Majority Leader McConnell is a co-sponsor of a hemp bill shows how fast the politics are changing on this issue,” said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit group that favors reform. (Bill Piper should not be confused with Billy Piper, former McConnell chief of staff and current K Street lobbyist).

***

The story of how Mitch McConnell evolved on the hemp issue began in 2010. Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, was running to replace the retiring Jim Bunning in the U.S. Senate and spent much of the primary season blasting McConnell, who not only represented the establishment but also supported a different Republican candidate. The McConnell-Paul relationship changed dramatically after Paul prevailed in the primary and McConnell vigorously stepped in to support him in the general election against the Democratic nominee, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway.

The bond only grew when Paul came to the Senate in 2011. Paul encouraged McConnell to consider the hemp issue because it was favored by conservatives and Tea Party types, according to two sources familiar with those discussions. McConnell listened.

The other Kentucky Republican who played a role in McConnell’s evolution was Jamie Comer, the state’s newly minted agriculture commissioner. In August 2012, Comer held a news conference before the 49th annual Kentucky Farm Bureau Country Ham Breakfast—a big shindig on the Kentucky politics circuit—to announce that legalization of hemp in the state would be his No. 1  priority in the next legislative session. Paul and U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, another Kentucky Republican, were there to support Comer; each later testified in support of Comer’s measure before the state Senate agriculture committee in February 2013, along with Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat from Louisville.

“I engaged with Jamie Comer,” Yarmuth told me. “He reached out to me. From the beginning it’s been a bipartisan thing.”

In Washington, D.C., McConnell was approached multiple times from hemp supporters back home. After the fourth such approach, the senior senator from Kentucky turned to his chief of staff, Josh Holmes, and said, “We’ve got to look into this.”

***

If, like the average U.S. senator, you are unfamiliar with the botany of the cannabis plant, here’s a quick primer:

For starters, hemp is sometimes referred to as marijuana’s “cousin,” which is an unhelpful metaphor because hemp and marijuana are actually the same species, Cannabis sativa. They are simply different strains, and they are cultivated and harvested in different ways.

The cannabis plant is dioecious, which means its male and female flowers grow on different plants. This is unusual: Dioecious species—including gingkoes, willows and a few others—make up only 6 percent of all flowering plants.

Hemp is produced after the male plant fertilizes the females—something that happens almost immediately once the plants flower. Marijuana, on the other hand, is produced from the unfertilized flower of the female plant. A person interested in growing marijuana wants only female plants; a plant that shows signs of male flowers is plucked immediately, before it can mature and pollinate the females around it.

Pollen contamination is one of the chief concerns of marijuana growers, legal and illegal, because as soon as a female flower becomes pollinated, she stops making her THC-rich resin and begins focusing entirely on seed production. (Hemp is defined by Kentucky law as containing less than 0.3 percent THC; unfertilized marijuana flowers could have THC levels of 20 percent or more.)

For decades, the law enforcement lobby has peddled anti-hemp talking points that just didn’t add up. During the 2013 farm bill debate, the DEA asserted that, “It can be extremely difficult to distinguish cannabis grown for industrial purposes from cannabis grown for smoking. This is especially true if law enforcement is attempting to make this determination without entering the premises on which the plants are being grown.”

James Higdon is a freelance writer based in Louisville and author of The Cornbread Mafia: A Homegrown Syndicate’s Code of Silence and the Biggest Marijuana Bust in American History. He can be reached at @jimhigdon. Full disclosure: His father, Jimmy Higdon, is a Republican state senator in the Kentucky state legislature.

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Southern Oregon medical marijuana growers fear industrial hemp could ruin their crops

 

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Southern Oregon marijuana growers want to ban industrial hemp production from the region out of fear that hemp may pollinate their crops and render them worthless.

Some outdoor marijuana growers want industrial hemp cultivation to be limited to eastern Oregon – far from their lucrative marijuana crops. At the very least, they don’t want hemp in Josephine, Jackson and Douglas counties.

Compared to Oregon’s marijuana legalization movement, the effort to launch an industrial hemp industry in Oregon has been an understated one propelled by a small but passionate group of advocates. When one of them, Edgar Winters, of Eagle Point, got a permit this month to grow industrial hemp on 25 acres in the heart of the state’s outdoor marijuana growing region, his neighbors were alarmed.

Allowing industrial hemp in an area known for churning out high-grade marijuana could undermine the industry, growers argue.

"You don’t come into the middle of cannabis growing country and try to put up a hemp farm unless you don’t know about it, unless you really don’t know how far hemp pollen can travel," said Casey Branham, a Jackson County medical marijuana grower who supports industrial hemp but wants it grown elsewhere in the state.

"It basically makes the medicine worthless," he said.

Branham and his neighbors worry hemp pollen will find its way to their unpollinated female cannabis flowers, known as sensimilla, slowing their growth and leading to seeds. The result: weak, seedy marijuana.

"No one will buy seeded flowers, period," said Cedar Grey, a Williams medical marijuana grower. "The flower market is so competitive these days. You have to have world-class flowers. Anything that is seeded is reminiscent of the 1960s or pot from Mexico. No one is interested in that at all."

And it’s not just southern Oregon’s outdoor marijuana growers who are worried about hemp’s implications. Portland’s indoor marijuana growers worry about hemp pollen drifting into their warehouses through ventilation systems or being tracked into their operations on workers’ shoes.

Shane McKee, a medical marijuana grower who owns two Portland dispensaries, said the potential complications posed by industrial hemp have caught cannabis growers by surprise.

"Nobody really saw the repercussions," said McKee.

Hemp and marijuana are different types of the same species, Cannabis sativa. But hemp lacks marijuana’s most coveted component: THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. In hemp’s case, the gene that fires up marijuana’s high THC production is essentially turned off. So while hemp’s sturdy stalks provide fiber for textiles and its seeds can be added to yogurt and smoothies, the plant is a lousy choice for people seeking marijuana’s high.

Anndrea Hermann, a hemp advocate who lives in Canada and teaches a course on the crop at Oregon State University, said marijuana growers’ concerns are legitimate.

"Is there a risk? Yes, there is a risk to the marijuana growers," said Hermann, who also serves as president of the Hemp Industries Association and owns a hemp products company. "And I will tell you it’s a hard pill to swallow."

Winters is the first to obtain a license to grow industrial hemp from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Another three people have applied, said Ron Pence, operations manager for commodity inspection for the agency, which oversees the state’s new industrial hemp program.

Pence said the agency has authority to limit where some agricultural crops, such as rapeseed, are cultivated. But it does not have that authority when it comes to industrial hemp.

"It would need a legislative fix," he said.

Oregon lawmakers have taken note of marijuana growers’ objections. Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, said growers peppered his office with emails once Winters’ plans became public. He said lawmakers are exploring potential solutions to protect both crops.

"Nobody wants one crop to endanger another crop," he said.

Oregon’s robust outdoor marijuana growing culture sets it apart from places like Kentucky, which also has a state hemp program. Oregon’s outdoor growers are organized, have an attorney and even a lobbyist. While Kentucky’s agriculture officials are enthusiastic boosters of industrial hemp, marijuana remains illegal.

"Marijuana growers are not so vocal" in Kentucky, said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a national hemp advocacy group. "They are not in a position to be able to call up their legislators to ask for a bill protecting their crops."

Winters, for his part, doesn’t see a major problem cultivating hemp near marijuana crops. He said the growing cycle for hemp is shorter than the one for outdoor marijuana and that an earlier harvest means it would not pose a threat to cannabis.

"It’s been doable all over the world," said Winters, who’s also a medical marijuana grower. "People have misconceptions about industrial hemp."

He said marijuana growers need more "education and training and knowledge" about hemp and that he plans to meet with outdoor growers to address their concerns.

He said he’s received strong criticism from marijuana growers and even personal threats since word of his plan spread.

"It’s a viable crop," he said. "There is no way we are going to be forced out of the county. I can tell you that. We are here to stay."

— Noelle Crombie

CONTINUE READING…

Oregon liberals, Kentucky conservatives bond over hemp

Congressmen, senators work to greenlight hemp growing

By Taylor W. Anderson / The Bulletin / @taylorwanderson

Published Dec 20, 2014 at 12:01AM / Updated Dec 20, 2014 at 07:52AM

Related articles:

SALEM — Amid a fight that is spreading to Congress from the 18 states that have legalized hemp production, unlikely partnerships between congressmen have formed in Washington, D.C.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Portland liberal Democrat who has spent four decades working to change federal drug policy, paired with Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, among others, to create a major shift in the federal government’s view of hemp early this year.

The two helped put a provision into the 2014 Farm Bill that separated marijuana and hemp for research purposes, effectively creating an outlet states could use to create hemp programs.

Oregon Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton, also put forward a similar provision.

“It’s not every day you see Earl Blumenauer working with Thomas Massie,” said Eric Steenstra, president of the hemp advocacy group Vote Hemp. “It was a collaborative effort and they supported each other. It was good. We need more of that.”

But the unlikely congressional pairing didn’t stop there.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky put a provision in last week’s $1.1 trillion spending bill to strip from federal agencies the power to prosecute hemp.

“I think you’ve got a situation here where, it might surprise some people, but there have been efforts to deal with cultivation of hemp,” Blumenauer said in a phone interview Friday. “Allowing it to happen has taken hold in both” Kentucky and Oregon.

The Drug Enforcement Administration engaged in a battle that irked Kentucky officials when the agency seized 250 pounds of seeds that were being imported through Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture to launch its hemp program in May.

Blumenauer, who was directly involved in fighting for the Oregon ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana, pointed out he looks for bipartisan support for all of his bills.

“I guess McConnell picked it up and ran with it because it’s popular at home. I wish more people would pick it up and run with it because it is popular,” Blumenauer added.

Oregon is close to finishing a drawn-out process of creating rules for hemp growers to follow as the state looks to regulate a plant that has been illegal federally for four decades.

— Reporter: 406-589-4347,

tanderson@bendbulletin.com

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UK Harvests First Hemp Crop, Expects to Learn Much from Data

University of Kentucky researchers today harvested the university’s first hemp crop in decades – and one of the first legal crops used in research trials.

“It was a good growing season for many crops, not just hemp,” said David Williams, UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment agronomist and co-project lead. “Precipitation was excellent this year and more than adequate for growth. The only downside to the growing season was that we planted a little bit late, but I don’t think that had much effect on the crop.”

UK’s research plot, planted May 27, was one of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s pilot studies to reintroduce hemp production in Kentucky. UK’s study was conducted in conjunction with Eastern Kentucky University and Kentucky State University.

“This crop will yield significant data about production techniques, which varieties do best in Kentucky and which of the many uses of hemp are most likely to succeed here,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, who has championed the cause of returning hemp production to the commonwealth.

Kentucky was a national leader in hemp production before the crop was outlawed in the United States due to its similarity to marijuana. Many agricultural advances have occurred since then, so research trials were necessary to determine the crop’s viability in an ever-changing agricultural economy.

UK researchers used a sickle bar mower to harvest the crop in the same manner that hay is harvested.

“Our plan was to simply lay the crop on the ground where the elements will begin to break down or ‘ret’ the hemp,” said Rich Mundell, co-project lead and an agronomist in the Kentucky Tobacco Research Development Center. “Because the hemp was very tall (about 10 feet) we felt the sickle bar mower would do a better job than a more commonly used disc mower.”

UK’s research project included 13 different varieties managed for either fiber production or seed production.

After the harvest, researchers will analyze and compare the different varieties to find one that’s best suited for the state and then present the results to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

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US considers buying industrial cannabis from Ukraine to improve its economy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The US Department of Agriculture is looking to boost imports of hemp seeds from Ukraine, hoping this will help the country’s battered economy. However, they still do not know what it will be used for.

“We are now involved in trying to figure out ways in which we might be able to use the industrial hemp seeds that are created in Ukraine in the US,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Bloomberg in an interview Tuesday.

Ukraine is the world’s fourth-biggest producer of industrial hemp seed, the term used to refer to cannabis strains cultivated for non-drug use. Unlike another, most known type of Cannabis grown for marijuana, industrial hemp lacks that same ingredient, THC, which causes physical or psychological effects and gives smoker a high.

Industrial hemp, being one of the earliest domesticated plants known, has many uses from healthy food to making paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction and even fuel.

Easy to cultivate, uses for industrial hemp are growing rapidly.

Ukraine is currently angling for aid from the International Monetary Fund, as much as $20 billion, while it has also been struggling with months of political crisis.

The Obama administration is planning to provide a $1 billion loan for the coup-imposed government of Ukraine, and is working with European allies on a broader package.

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U.S. Representative Massie Introduces Industrial Hemp Bill

For Immediate Release
Contact:

Wednesday February 6, 2013
(202) 225-3465

U.S. Representative Massie
Introduces Industrial Hemp Bill

“Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers”

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced federal legislation that requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp. H.R. 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) is a co-sponsor of the bill in the U.S. House. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) are supporting a similar bill in the U.S. Senate.
“Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers,” said Rep. Massie.  “My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up. Tobacco is no longer a viable crop for many of us in Kentucky and we understand how hard it is for a family farm to turn a profit.  Industrial hemp will give small farmers another opportunity to succeed.”

On the federal level, Rep. Massie is taking the lead in Congress as the original sponsor of industrial hemp legislation. Also, this week Massie will testify before the Kentucky legislature along with other members of Kentucky’s federal delegation and Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer in support of a related state bill.
Kentucky was a leading producer of the world’s industrial hemp supply during America’s early years as a nation. It is used in hundreds of products including paper, lotions, clothing, canvas, rope, and can be converted into renewable bio-fuels more efficiently than corn or switch grass. Critics of industrial hemp mistakenly equate it to marijuana.  The plants are cousins in the cannabis family but industrial hemp contains very small amounts of the intoxicant (THC) found in marijuana, making it ineffective as a drug.  Hemp is grown in over 30 western nations including Canada, England and France.

H.R. 525 has 28 original co-sponsors in the House, including House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D-MN). Massie co-sponsored a similar bill in the 112th Congress.

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Purchase Area sheriffs to meet about industrial hemp

 

3 types cannabis

 

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky.McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden has invited all of the Purchase area sheriffs over Friday to talk about Industrial Hemp.

State lawmakers have been gaining momentum in an effort to get legislation through that would legalize growing hemp. It would still take an exemption from the federal government, but supporters are more and more confident they could actually get one this year.

That means law enforcement agencies need to know exactly what that would mean for them. Hayden told WPSD Local 6 he hasn’t made up his mind about the issue yet. He hopes to get some questions answered Friday from a Kentucky Department of Agriculture expert.

"We’re obviously concerned about the inability to distinguish what is industrial hemp and what is marijuana," he said. The major difference between hemp and pot is the level of THC, the chemical that causes the high when the plant is smoked. Hayden added if hemp is legal, anyone stopped with marijuana will probably claim to have hemp and the only way to tell would be to test it.

"This situation is going to overwhelm the Kentucky State Crime Lab Systems," he said. 

Still, even with the obvious challenges, Hayden said if the advantages of cashing in on the controversial crop outweigh the disadvantages, he would support it.

Senate Bill 50 is expected to be voted out of committee Monday and could find it’s way to the Senate floor by Wednesday.

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