Posted on Leave a comment

Illinois Leaps Headlong into the Industrial Hemp Market

By William Sumner, Hemp Business Journal Contributor

Illinois is going all-in on cannabis. In becoming the first state to legislatively enact (rather than pass via ballot measure) both to legalize adult-use cannabis and create a state sales marketplace, Illinois has seen a surge in interest for industrial hemp. Prompted by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized industrial hemp for the first time since World War II, the Land of Lincoln is on its way to establishing a dynamic hemp market.

Case in point: Within 24 hours of opening the application process for hemp cultivation licenses, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) was inundated with over 400 applications from interested farmers. Since the application process began in May, the IDA received 667 applications, approving 434 cultivators and 89 processors.

That is significant, especially given other states with similar population levels. By comparison, despite Pennsylvania’s being in the second year of its industrial hemp program, only 319 cultivation permits have been issued there.

Confident that Illinois is poised to become a major hemp producer, the Ontario-based hemp company Red White & Bloom (RWB) is making major bets on the market. Late last month, the company signed a letter of intent to acquire what could be one of the world’s largest hemp production facilities.

Located in Granville, the new production facility totals 3.6 million square feet with over 451,282 square feet of production and warehouse facilities. That represents a massive undertaking compared to other hemp production facilities, as it is nearly 1.5x the size of Canopy Growth’s  (NYSE: CGC) new production facility in Kirkwood, New York.

Read more …

Posted on Leave a comment

A Brief History of Hemp in the United States

History of Hemp

Produced by Patagonia

Natural. Misunderstood. Legal. This is the story of the history of hemp in the United States. A forbidden fiber in the U.S. since 1970, hemp has taken the heat for almost five decades. Until the Farm Bill passed in December of 2018, hemp was federally illegal to grow for commercial purposes, making it risky for businesses to invest in a new crop that was incorrectly classified as a drug. Visit Patagonia.com/hemp to learn more.

History of Hemp in the United States

Field of Hemp

Posted on 2 Comments

Plant Medicine and CBD Doesn’t Quite Fit Their Standard Operating Procedure

Plant MedicineThe randomized, double-blind controlled studies that became standard in the 1950s for drug clinical trials are not well suited for multi-compound natural products because having more than one bioactive phytocompound exponentially increases the variables that need to be controlled. In fact, the FDA has only approved several herbal prescription drugs and none involve hemp or cannabis.

The sole FDA approved cannabis plant-derived drug is a single, isolated and purified cannabinoid, CBD, in the drug called Epidiolex made by GW Pharmaceuticals that was approved in June 2018. The other FDA approved cannabinoid type drug is also a single molecule, a synthesized form of THC, marketed under the international generic name, Dronabinol.

The consistency of botanicals and plant extracts pose a challenge for the standard clinical trial protocol as potencies as well as the ratios of the bioactive compounds can vary.

The simple question that is difficult to answer is knowing which compound or combination of compounds in what proportions in a plant extract is effective as medicine.

Therapeutic effects become even more complex to understand because everybody is different. “One size fits all” does not apply in herbal medicine. Even with common drugs, some people find relief with ibuprofen while other folks use acetaminophen. Some people use one for headaches and the other for muscle aches. Is the natural sleep aid, melatonin, effective for you? It is an OTC drug in the US but a prescription drug in other countries – go figure! Does Benadryl knock you out or perk you up?

Each person reacts differently to treatment, whether it is with a FDA approved drug or a plant-based remedy. Cannabinoids and the other compounds in hemp act uniquely on a person’s endocannabinoid system, like a lock is specific to a key. Accordingly, the well recognized entourage effect of the various phytochemicals in the hemp plant is obviously a challenge for the FDA.

Another complexity the FDA has to address with all medicines is that clinical trials are not real world conditions. And most health problems don’t tend to be a single malady that can be alleviated by a single molecule.

The clinical trial process does work but has limitations. Even when a single molecule is approved for a single indication like pain, the FDA process is not fail-safe as with the case of opioids that were approved to be safe and effective based on parameters thought to be prudent but have led to widespread addiction.

The good news is that the FDA is committed to sorting out how to allow consumers access to hemp-derived and other plant based medicines.

Dietary supplements are regulated under the FDA’s DSHEA regulations established about 25 years ago. Food and cosmetics have their own regulatory framework. Both are different than the clinical trial framework for what the FDA defines as drugs. Another FDA pathway for approval of ingredients is named GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe).

Coming back to hemp-derived bioactive phytochemicals like CBD, CBN, CBG, CBC, terpenes, terpenoids, and polyphenols that are non-addictive, non-toxic and non-psychotropic (i.e., non-intoxicating), in theory, GRAS surely would be the simplest pathway out of the maze we are in.

At some point, all of the regulatory confusion (or at least most) will be sorted out and even more people will be able to benefit from the hemp plant after almost 100 years of marginalization and illegal status.

Posted on Leave a comment

Hemp in Kansas: Questions Remain

hemp plantWhich seed varieties grow well in different parts of Kansas? How much water is needed to grow hemp in Kansas? Where can farmers access certified seed? When the 2018 Farm Bill opened the door to growing industrial hemp—plants that contain less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC—it also released the flood gates on questions about how to grow the once-maligned plant. Industrial hemp is often grown for its fiber, seeds and oil, and it contains low levels of THC, the psychoactive that produces a “high.”

But with great hemp power comes great hemp responsibility, and Kansas State Research and Extension agents say their call to action is urgent, based on the high volume of questions they’re already fielding, according to a press release.

Like super heroes on the industrial hemp battle front, scientists including Jason Griffin, director of the John C. Pair Horticulture Center in Haysville, will examine the growing process as well as the business opportunities for farmers. They’ll also investigate where farmers can take their crops for processing, how to and where to obtain crop insurance and how to handle crops that go “hot”—meaning the THC level is above the legal limit.

“Because we are at the very beginning of hemp cultivation in Kansas, there are far more questions than answers,” Griffin says. “The most common questions I am getting at this point are from people just thinking about whether or not they should add hemp to their crop rotation. Should I grow hemp? Can I grow hemp? Where would I get seed? Who is going to buy my hemp?”

1. Do your homework.

2. Understand this is a crop just like any other crop and failure—for many reasons—is a possibility.

3. Know that there is no insurance for your crop, as of this writing.

4. Make sure you and your business partners have a mutual understanding.

5. Don’t invest more than you can afford to lose.

“Hemp likes a warm summer and, in general, is not a heavy water user like other crops,” Griffin says. “There is no question in my mind that we can grow high-quality hemp in Kansas. The biggest question right now is determining what varieties will grow best for us. Hemp is heavily influenced by environmental conditions, and our environment is very different from the states that have been growing hemp for several years. Determining what varieties will grow well for us and stay under the 0.3% THC requirement will be a focus of our research this summer.”

A License to Grow

Rules vary by state, but in Kansas you should expect the following steps:

• State and national criminal background check

• Fingerprinting

• Submission of maps where hemp will be grown from certified seed

Growers will also be required to submit a research proposal, commit to continuous oversight of the crop, and promise to keep unlicensed people from areas where the crops are grown. Check out the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s page on the Industrial Hemp Research Program for updates.

Griffin’s advice, regardless of where you live: First, read and understand your state’s Department of Agriculture rules and regulations on industrial hemp. Second, attend your state’s land grant institution’s hemp field day and ask lots of questions. If your state doesn’t have one, then visit a neighboring state.

“These institutions offer unbiased, research-based information,” Griffin says. “Some for-profit entities may offer training, but their top priority is cashing your check.”

Third, he says, before you put a seed in the ground you should know who is going to buy your crop. Growing a beautiful crop is pointless if you can’t sell it.

“As for stigma, you will still get funny looks and a few laughs, but the joke is on them. Those of us who are adults in the room recognize industrial hemp has arrived and offers farmers another crop to add to their rotation.”

Source: Portia Stewart, Ag Professional

Posted on Leave a comment

The Farm Bill Will Help Hemp Farmers and Entrepreneurs  

Forbes Magazine – 

HempThe 2018 Farm Bill will radically overhaul America’s relation to hemp and could unleash a hemp renaissance in the coming years that will close the gap between the U.S. and China. As a Schedule 1 substance alongside marijuana, hemp farmers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. have faced many barriers to doing business. Interstate commerce for hemp products was almost non-existent and financing was difficult to come by. But all that is set to change.

According to the American Agriculturist, the 2018 Farm Bill will allow hemp to be regulated by the USDA, including the labeling of American-grown hemp as certified organic; interstate hemp commerce will be legalized; financing and research opportunities will open up; hemp farmers will be guaranteed water rights; the definition of hemp will be altered to make it a non-drug commodity.

Hemp has hundreds of uses, many of which are yet to be discovered or fully realized thanks to the lack of available research funds. From textiles and plastics to livestock feed and home cooking, hemp has many applications that can reduce our dependence both on other countries and fossil fuels. Driven by explosive growth in hemp-based consumer products, the global hemp market is expected to jump to $10.6 billion by 2025. Everything from our vodka to our cars is waiting to be reimagined in the future with legal hemp. Many people won’t even realize how much their lives are affected by cannabis-based products.

One of the most exciting applications of hemp lies in the extracted cannabinoids or CBD oil. According to the Washington Post, “dozens of studies have found evidence that the compound can treat epilepsy as well as a range of other illnesses, including anxiety, schizophrenia, heart disease, and cancer.” With the legalization of hemp, CBD can be regulated and researched much more than before to truly understand the medical efficacy for a wide range of diseases.

Read More …

Posted on Leave a comment

2018 U.S. Hemp Crop Report

We are very thankful to Vote Hemp for tracking and compiling the 2018 U.S. Hemp Crop Report documenting the amount of hemp grown and harvested in the U.S. each year. As predicted, the total acres grown in the United States increased by over 300% from 2017 to 2018! This includes over 78,000 acres of harvested industrial hemp, 40 institutions of higher learning, and over 3,500 licences issues to hemp farmers in 41 states.

While this growth is extremely impressive, this was done while industrial hemp was still illegal at the Federal level. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill which included the full text of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, we expect even faster growth incoming years.


2018 Hemp Crop Report

 

Posted on Leave a comment

GW Suffers Major Blow as US Sinks Bid to Patent Cannabinoids for Epilepsy

British firm GW Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: GWPH) is licking its wounds after US judges tossed out its attempt to patent multiple cannabinoids for epilepsy treatment following an eight-year battle.

CBD is a PharmaceuticalsThe US Patent Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative law body of the national patent office, denied patent US9066920B2 on January 3, siding with petitioner Insys, a rival biotech firm.

The patent, which has been embroiled in dispute since 2010, is for “the use of one or more cannabinoids in the treatment of epilepsy”. More particularly, to the use of one or a combination of cannabinoids, CBD oil, in the treatment of generalized or partial seizures.

The invention covers a method of treating partial seizure comprising administering cannabidiol (CBD), to a patient wherein the CBD is present in an amount which provides a daily dose of at least 400 mg.

Administrative patent judges Erica Franklin, Susan Mitchell, and Zhenyu Yang, said claims 1 and 2 were “unpatentable” under US law, however the remaining 11 claims that were challenged survived and remain valid, and potentially enforceable should GW decide to appeal.

GW declined to offer comment when contacted by Cannabis Law Report, and declined to confirm or deny it would appeal.

Read More …

Posted on Leave a comment

Farm Bill Signing Ceremony!

The moment has arrived! We are so excited to announce that in a matter of hours today at 2:30 pm Eastern, President Trump will be participating in the Farm Bill Signing Ceremony! Tune in at 2:30 PM EST here to watch LIVE.

President Trump signs the 2018 Farm BillAt that time, hemp and its derivatives will be permanently removed from the Controlled Substance Act.

For those of you who have some questions about what happens next, you are in for a *SURPRISE*! The Hemp Roundtable General Counsel, Jonathan Miller – who drafted this widely circulated summary of the Farm Bill last week — will be hosting a Facebook Live Q&A event at 3:00pm Eastern following the signing! Be sure to like the Hemp Roundtable Facebook page so you receive the notification when he goes live. It’s an exciting time for hemp. We thank you all for everything you have done to get us here, and we look forward to working with all of our Hemp Supporters as this industry keeps moving forward!

Posted on Leave a comment

What Does the 2018 Farm Bill Do?

ANALYSIS OF THE 2018 FARM BILL BY U.S. HEMP ROUNDTABLE GENERAL COUNSEL JONATHAN MILLER

Late in the evening of December 10, 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill House/Senate Conference Committee released its Conference Report. The 807-page document is nearly half a foot tall. Hemp is discussed in only a few handfuls of pages. But the impact on the industry is monumental:

• The era of hemp prohibition is over. Hemp is now permanently removed from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). It is forever deemed an agricultural commodity, no longer mistaken as a controlled substance, like marijuana.

• By redefining hemp to include its “extracts, cannabinoids and derivatives,” Congress explicitly has removed popular hemp products — such as hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) — from the purview of the CSA. Accordingly, the Drug Enforcement Administration no longer has any possible claim to interfere with the interstate commerce of hemp products. This should give comfort to federally regulated institutions — banks, merchant services, credit card companies, e-commerce sites and advertising platforms — to conduct commerce with the hemp and hemp product industry.

• Hemp farmers now may finally access needed crop insurance and can fully participate in USDA programs for certification and competitive grants.

• State and Tribal governments may impose separate restrictions or requirements on hemp growth and the sale of hemp products – however, they cannot interfere with the interstate transport of hemp or hemp products. We are hopeful that local and state officials will follow Congress’ lead, as well as the statements and resolutions of the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that declare, after intense scientific scrutiny, that CBD is safe, non-toxic, and non-addictive.

• The FDA continues to exercise jurisdiction over the regulation of ingestible and topical hemp products. We applaud the agency’s continued efforts to crack down on bad actors who undermine the industry through misguided marketing claims. And while we are concerned about non-binding statements made by the FDA that have led some state and local officials to question the legality of the retail sale of hemp-derived CBD, we are hopeful that we can work with the agency to clarify that CBD – which their own scientists concluded has no abuse potential and does not pose a risk to public health – should not be withheld from Americans who count on it for their health and wellness.

SECTION BY SECTION

• Section 7129 (p. 313): Includes hemp in USDA’s supplemental and alternative crops programs.

• Section 7501 (p. 338): Includes hemp in USDA’s critical agricultural materials programs.

• Section 7605 (p. 347): Orders the USDA Secretary to prepare a report on the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program, and then repeals that program one year after the new permanent hemp program is created.

• Section 10113 (p. 429): The guts of the new permanent legalization regime:

• Section 297A (p. 429) Defines hemp as all parts of the plant less than 0.3% THC, including “derivatives,” “extracts” and “cannabinoids” and permits hemp production in all states and territories.

• Section 297B (a)-(d) (p. 429) Empowers states and Tribes to submit plans to USDA to implement a permanent hemp growing program. Requires information gathering, testing, inspection and disposal procedures. The USDA Secretary must sign off on, or reject, the plan within 60 days, and consult with the Attorney General. The Secretary can later audit state programs and work with the states to develop corrective action plans where there is noncompliance.

• Section 297B(e)(p. 431): Orders states and Tribes to develop procedures to address violations, including corrective action in the case of negligence.

• Section 297B(e)(3)(B) (p. 432): Individuals who commit drug felonies cannot participate in state or Tribal growth programs for 10 years following the date of their conviction. However, participants in the 2014 Farm Bill pilot programs are grandfathered in to participate in permanent programs despite any prior felony committed.

• Section 297C (p. 432): States and Tribes are required to maintain information on lands where hemp is grown and testing, enforcement, inspection and disposal procedures. The USDA Secretary must collect such information to be accessible in real time to local, state and federal law enforcement.

• Section 297D (p. 434): The USDA Secretary is required to promulgate guidelines and regulations and submit an annual report to Congress on the program’s implementation.

• Section 297D(c)(p. 434): Nothing in the new law affects the FDA’s authority under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act or the Public Health Service Act. Section 10114 (p. 435): Nothing in the act prohibits the interstate commerce of hemp, nor can States or Tribes prohibit the transportation of hemp or hemp products through their territory. Title XI (p. 439): Hemp farmers are made eligible for crop insurance, and marketability requirements for the crop insurance program can be waived.

• Section 12619 (p. 540): Hemp is removed from the definition of “marihuana,” and THC found in hemp is excluded from the definition of a controlled substance.

Key notes from the Conference Report Managers’ Summary:

p. 738: The Managers note that “state and Tribal governments are authorized to put more restrictive parameters on the production of hemp, but are not authorized to alter the definition of hemp or put in place policies that are less restrictive.”

p. 738: The Managers note that the USDA Secretary must consult with the Attorney General regarding approval of state or Tribal plans, but “the Managers intend that the final decision to be made by the Secretary.” States or Tribes can appeal or resubmit plans that are rejected or revoked.

p. 739: Any drug felonies committed after the permanent program begins will ban participants from participating, regardless of whether they participated in the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program.

p. 739: The USDA Secretary must make program information accessible in real time to law enforcement, and is encouraged to develop a memorandum of understanding to define the parameters of this information sharing.

p. 739: “While states and Indian tribes may limit the production and sale of hemp and hemp products within their borders, the Managers, in Section 10122, agreed to not allow such states and Indian tribes to limit the transportation or shipment of hemp or hemp products through the state or Indian territory.”

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is the hemp industry’s leading business trade association. The Roundtable involves more than 60 businesses – representing all parts of the hemp food chain, from seed to sale – as well as all of the major national grassroots organizations in the industry. The Roundtable’s primary mission has been to support lobbying efforts to secure permanent legalization of hemp and hemp products at the federal and state level.

Jonathan Miller, General Counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, is the Member-in-Charge of Frost Brown Todd LLC (Lexington KY) and the former Kentucky State Treasurer.