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2018 Farm Bill Update

Here’s a report from Daniel Cameron of Frost Brown Todd, the Roundtable’s lead DC lobbyist and the former Legal Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“We will finish the farm bill before the end of the year,” according to Majority Leader McConnell after a meeting with President Trump yesterday to discuss lame-duck session priorities. This comes on the heels of him saying at an event in Kentucky last week that the hemp provisions “will be in there, I guarantee you that.”

Plus, there have been reassuring statements from the chairmen of the Senate and House Agriculture committees. Chairman Pat Roberts of the Senate is reported saying that he is hopeful that a deal will come together by Monday. While Chairman Conaway of the House is quoted as saying, “[t]here are a few things, but we’re darn close,” concerning progress on the bill.

The commentary from the chairmen and the Majority Leader are encouraging. Everyone appears to want to pass the bill before going home for the Holidays and the conclusion of the 115th Congress, and for good reason. Keep in mind that next year the makeup of the House membership will be different, with a Democrat majority and new chairs for the committees. This could complicate the farm bill process if it is not finalized this year.

To avoid complexity, the better outcome for the majority of the members in the House and Senate is to get it done by the end of December.

There are 12 days left on the legislative calendar, although that can be extended if necessary. Next week could be pivotal, given that Chairman Roberts has indicated a deal could be forthcoming on Monday.

As always, we will keep you posted with relevant information. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, keep the pressure on Congress: Let them know it’s high time to pass the 2018 Farm Bill with all of the hemp provisions of the Hemp Farming Act.  Please use our portal at the link below.

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Hurricane Florence : Ag Industry Expects Total Loss

The worst case scenario is unfolding for Hemp farmers located in the Carolinas.  Hurricane Florence is the strongest storm system to hit the east coast in modern day history. Due to the legal status of hemp, these farmers are faced with a desperate decision regarding their crops.  We spoke with North Carolina Hemp farmers to understand severity of the situation.

“We are not ready to harvest yet, however, the industrial hemp commission of NC has given us approval to harvest prior to testing” -Jerry Fuquay Richmond, NC Hemp Farmer

The Department of Agriculture has issued an emergency ruling enabling farmers to pull their crops prior to test results being submitted to the state.  Due to delays in the 2018 bill, this ruling is necessary due to the lack of crop insurance for hemp farmers.  A horrific scene is unfolding.  Harvest your crop two months early, which will decrease your total biomass yield and the CBD potency of the crop, or face a total loss.

“Us farmers took a chance.” – Shane McCormick, NC Hemp Farmer

That sinking feeling in your gut?  Many farmers were prepared to make 5X-10X more on their Hemp lot than a comparable ag crop.  This gamble seemed like a big win, but farmers are now faced with the reality that their hemp is uninsurable as Florence rumbles towards the mainland.  Many farmers are in damage control. Stuck between the decision to harvest an almost worthless crop, versus leaving fields destined to be torn apart by fierce winds, and drowned by torrential rain and heavy flooding.

Read more …

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First Crop of SC Hemp Nears Harvest

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Northern Wisconsin Tribe Reaches Settlement Over Plans To Grow Hemp

A northern Wisconsin tribe has reached a settlement with Wisconsin’s attorney general over its plans to grow hemp to produce cannabidiol or CBD oil. The St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin filed a federal lawsuit in February against state Attorney General Brad Schimel, saying he objected to the tribe’s plans for processing hemp.

St. Croix tribal attorney Jeff Cormell said parties reached an agreement that the tribe will oversee hemp production for CBD oil on reservation lands.

“That as long as the tribe is only dealing with hemp, that the state will not exercise any jurisdiction,” said Cormell.

The lawsuit was filed prior to Schimel releasing guidance to law enforcement in May, in which he noted growing hemp to produce CBD oil is illegal under federal law except under very limited circumstances. Schimel reversed course a short time later after pushback from state lawmakers who feared Schimel’s stance may harm farmers and those using the oil to treat medical conditions like seizures. Now, farmers can grow hemp to produce CBD oil in Wisconsin as long as they obtain a license from state agriculture officials.

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Cannabis Science Research Group Receives Approvals for 40-Acre Industrial Hemp Research Project in Nevada

IRVINE, CA, July 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cannabis Science, Inc. (OTC: CBIS), a U.S. company specializing in the development of cannabinoid-based medicines, is pleased to announce the immediate launch of a new 40-acre industrial hemp research and development project in Nevada. Cannabis Science, American States University (ASU), FSO NAC / HRM Farms celebrate as the Lincoln County, Nevada industrial hemp property has just been approved by the Nevada Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Program. The Group will immediately commence its industrial hemp research operations on the 40-acre Lincoln County, Nevada property.

The Group believes it can bring in one and quite possibly two harvests this year. The primary purpose of the research initiative is to provide hands-on University professional training in agricultural industrial hemp research and development focused on creating pharmaceutical drugs targeting critical ailments while furthering the Group’s other industrial targets such as Alternate Biofuels, Construction, Clothing and Automobile Materials, and other industries. The University programs aim to provide affordable quality education to its students so as to achieve their career goals and excel in their chosen professions.

The main research and development will focus on Cancer, PTSD, Chronic Pain, Arthritis, Parkinson’s Disease, Epilepsy, Autism, and HIV/AIDS. The research data collected will primarily be used for FDA and other clinical studies by creating a pharmaceutical drug development plan for key critical ailments. Other objectives for research and development include wholesale distribution to physicians and licensed wholesale manufacturers coupled with extraction research and development for green energy/fuel, construction materials, clothing fabric, paper manufacturing, food products, and vehicle production parts.

A key area of this Lincoln County Industrial Hemp Research & Economic Development Plan is job creation, and CBIS has provided many jobs across the country and through its University partners is anticipating creating a whole lot more through its unique and robust Industrial hemp Research Program. The vertical integration that allows for jobs to be provided through the development of local industrial hemp industry, healthcare infrastructure, water management, waste management, technology, communications, and housing is profound anywhere.

The CBIS Industrial Hemp Research & Economic Development Programs are growing stronger due to the many collaborations created within the recently launched Cannabis Science Global Consortium. The CBIS Global Consortium works as a framework and platform to cooperate and collaborate with stakeholders worldwide. Linking universities, foundations, corporations, and individuals to share research, ideas, and other relevant information, the CBIS Global Consortium implements a cutting-edge research program to develop medicines and delivery mechanisms from bench-to-bedside. The Global Consortium also enables the Company to more strategically coordinate its initiatives, including those focused on education, job creation, and skills training.

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Oklahoma Launches Industrial Hemp Pilot Project

by Emily Collins – Thursday, July 12th 2018

EL RENO, Okla. — The roots of Oklahoma’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program are in the process of being planted.

Redlands Community College is taking the reins and launching a project to help lay the program’s foundation. From the seeds to the stalk, leaves and roots; hemp is touted as a wonder crop with over 50,000 different uses.

“Automobile industry, plastics industry, you know food and beverage industry; it’s just, it’s unbelievable the opportunities industrial hemp can provide for farmers for outlets for their market,” said Redlands President Jack Bryant.

Over the next year, students and staff at Redlands will be working with select farmers in different regions of the state to study the science and agriculture associated with hemp.

“In this case, farmers are going to have to understand what type of soil grows best, what type of machinery do they need, what is the harvest process, what are the markets that are out there,” said Bryant.

This understanding will eventually be gained using seeds supplied by Botanac. Botanac President Tina Walker says the first round of seeds provided will only produce hemp fiber, grain and cannabidiol (CBD).

“We have to take baby steps; we have to learn to crawl, then learn to walk and then we can run with it,” Walker said. “And so, as long as we take it step-by-step, I think we can have a long-lasting viable crop for the state.”

The state’s industrial hemp pilot program was made possible with the passage of House Bill 2913, which was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin in April. It’s important to note that hemp is not the same as marijuana; both are part of the cannabis family, but they have very different chemical structures and uses.

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Hawaii’s First Industrial Hemp Grower Licenses Issued

July 6, 2018

Hawaii Department of Agriculture

HONOLULU – The Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has issued the first licenses to growers under the State’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. During the month of June 2018, three industrial hemp licenses were issued.

Each license is valid for two years, as long as the licensee complies with the program rules, including submission of annual fees of $250, plus a $2 per acre assessment. The time from planting to harvest is estimated to be anywhere from three to six months.

“Hawai‘i’s first licensed hemp growers will help to demonstrate the real potential of the industrial hemp industry,” said Gov. David Ige. “We look forward to the entrepreneurial spirit that will help to invigorate and strengthen agriculture across the state.”

“With this new agricultural crop, the program aims to monitor and assess the best methods of cultivation in Hawaii’s growing conditions,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. “The program will also follow the crop from seed to the development, manufacturing and marketing of hemp products.”

“June 2018 will be remembered as a historic month for Hawai`i’s farmers. In the coming years, it’s likely we’ll see our state become a leader in industrial hemp production and witness a cottage industry being developed around this incredible crop. Mahalo to the Governor and HDOA for helping get us to this point,” said State Senator Mike Gabbard.

A total of 10 applications have been received by HDOA’s Quality Assurance Branch since the program began in April 2018. HDOA will continue to process applications and issue licenses to qualified applicants on a quarterly basis.

Growers will be required to submit extensive reports on planting, harvesting and movement of their industrial hemp crop. In addition, the research nature of the pilot program requires that licensees track items such as production costs including pest management, water usage, security measures, labor, marketing and other cost factors. Routine sampling, testing (for THC and pesticides) and inspections of crops will also be mandatory during this program.

In granting licenses, HDOA considers the following factors:

  • Completeness of applications
  • Licensed to do business in Hawaii
  • Agriculturally zoned land
  • Legitimate Research Plan
  • Best management plan for growing of hemp
  • A laboratory provisionally certified or certified by the Hawaii Department of Health to test cannabis and is willing to collect samples from the growing location.
  • Application Fee ($500 non-refundable)

The 11-page application for the program is available on the HDOA website at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/hemp/

Background

In July 2016, Gov. Ige signed Act 228 and in July 2017 signed Act 199 (amendment), which established the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. HDOA then established the rules for the program which were approved by the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture in September 2017, and signed by Gov. Ige in September 2017.

Industrial hemp and marijuana are both members of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L. However, industrial hemp refers to cannabis plants with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration at or below 0.3 percent, which is about 33 percent lower than the least potent marijuana. Although industrial hemp and marijuana may look the same, it is not possible to get a chemical high from industrial hemp.

Some of the challenges that HDOA in establishing the program included the importation of hemp seed which is considered by the federal government as a Schedule 1 Drug, which is highly regulated especially when transporting within and into the U.S. HDOA worked with federal and state drug enforcement agencies to successfully import the hemp seed varietal, Yuma, from China which will be used by the licensed growers. Based upon its own research and tests in Malawi and Australia, HDOA believes that the Yuma varietal is suitable to grow in Hawaii’s climate.

There are about 38 states that allow or are proposing to allow industrial hemp cultivation.

Questions about the program may be sent to: hemp@hawaii.gov or call (808) 832-0676.

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First Legalized Hemp Plants in SC Begin to Bloom

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) –
For the first time, farmers in the state of South Carolina can legally grow industrial hemp. It’s a plant that comes from the same species as marijuana, but with a much lower concentration of the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol.

There are a limited number of farmers able to grow the crop as part of a pilot program in South Carolina allowing only 20 farmers to apply for a permit to grow industrial hemp.

Nat Bradford, owner of the Bradford Family Farm in Sumter, says it’s a big honor.

“I’ve always dreamed of what it would be like to grow this crop,” Bradford said.

The Bradford Family Farm has been operating in Sumter since 1750 growing corn, okra, and watermelons. Now, for the first time that list includes industrial hemp.

“We’re learning how to plant them. How they’re going to respond to different conditions and how close to space them,” Bradford said.

Hemp is a form of the cannabis plant, only containing less than .3% of the chemical THC. Just last year, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a bill allowing a limited number of farmers to grow the crop.

“There’s 20 of us farmers this first year, with the pilot program in South Carolina and out of the 20 of us, I’m the only one growing for grain production as a food oil. Just like any other olive oil or seed oil, we’re just going to press the seeds and extract the oil and we’ll get a good oil for culinary use,” Bradford said.

Oil that’s full of omega 3 fatty acids – like fish oil without the after-taste – and you’re getting two-for-one! Bradford says the seeds left over have health benefits, too.

“It’s like protein powder. So, those folks that are into smoothies and health shakes and stuff, this is a good way to add protein to your smoothie,” Bradford said.

Contrary to what some may think about the plant in the cannabis family, Bradford explained, “This is not marijuana. There’s some of the same chemical components in both of them, but to call marijuana and hemp the same plant would be the same as calling our dog, Little Bear over there, a wolf. They’re related but they are not the same thing. Two very, very different plants.”

The hemp plant can also be used to make clothing, plastics, and biofuel among a list of other products.

“I look at a plant that God made that has so many uses for mankind. He called it good and we called it bad. I want to be part of its repatriation and see it back in the farmland again,” Bradford said.

The first year of the pilot program, only 20 farmers could apply for the permit to grow industrial hemp. The plan is to allow 20 more farmers to apply for the second year of the program.

Farmers who successfully obtain permits are allowed to grow up to 40 acres of the hemp crop.

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