USDA Approves Hemp Production Plans For Maine, Missouri, The Cow Creek Band Of Umpqua Tribe Of Indians

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the approval of hemp production plans under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program for Maine, Missouri and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, bringing the total number of approved plans to 58.

USDA continues to receive and review hemp production plans from states and Indian tribes. To review approved plans or check the status of a plan, visit the Status of State and Tribal Hemp Production Plans webpage.

State and tribal plans previously approved include:

States Tribes
Delaware Blackfeet Nation
Florida Cayuga Nation
Georgia Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Iowa Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Kansas Chippewa Cree Tribe
Louisiana Colorado River Indian Tribes
Maryland Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Massachusetts Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
Minnesota Fort Belknap Indian Community
Montana Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Nebraska Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
New Jersey La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes
Ohio Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Pennsylvania Lower Sioux Indian Community
South Carolina Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Tennessee Oglala Sioux Tribe
Texas Otoe-Missouria Tribe
Washington Pala Band of Mission Indians
West Virginia Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Wyoming Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
Puerto Rico Pueblo of Picuris Tribe
U.S. Virgin Islands Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
Santa Rosa Cahuilla Indian Tribe
Santee Sioux Nation
Seneca Nation of Indians
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
Yurok Tribe

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) directed USDA to develop a regulatory oversight program for hemp and include provisions for USDA to approve hemp production plans submitted by states and Indian tribes. Accordingly, on Oct. 31, 2019, USDA issued an interim final rule establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and the provisions for USDA to approve submitted plans. State and tribal plans provide details on practices and procedures that enable hemp producers in their jurisdictions to operate according to their individual plans and in compliance with federal laws.

For additional information about the program, visit the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program webpage.

House And Senate Ag Leaders: We’ve Reached Agreement In Principle On 2018 Farm Bill

MJLegal

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: House and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairmen Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Pat Roberts (R- Kan.) and Ranking Members Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) made the following announcement today on the state of 2018 Farm Bill negotiations:

“We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill. We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as CBO scores, but we still have more work to do. We are committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible.”

Senate Passes Farm Bill, Which Includes Senator McConnell’s Hemp Farming Act

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced today the Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill), which takes serious steps to ensure the future of American agriculture. A conference committee made up with members from both chambers will now reconcile the Senate and House versions of the Farm Bill.

The Senate Farm Bill strengthens the safety measures that directly help commodity producers as they confront low prices and the constant threat of natural disasters. It also seizes on a number of opportunities to invest in the future of American agriculture and rural communities. It contains a provision – championed by Senator McConnell — that would empower farmers to begin cultivating industrial hemp, a crop that could play a key role in the economic future of Kentucky and the nation. It also focuses on expanding rural broadband and water infrastructure and continuing the fight against the opioid epidemic is devastating rural America.

“As the proud senior Senator from the Commonwealth of Kentucky who has served on the Agriculture Committee since my first day in the Senate, I know exactly how important this legislation is to agricultural communities. From soybeans and corn to hay and tobacco to poultry and livestock, Kentucky agriculture encompasses a multi-billion-dollar industry that supports thousands and thousands of good jobs in nearly every corner of the Commonwealth,” Senator McConnell said. “Kentuckians know as well as anyone just how important American agriculture is — and we understand as well as anyone all the unique challenges that it faces. That is why I proudly supported this bill, which will bolster programs supporting our producers.”

“Today’s passage of the Senate version of the Farm Bill takes farm families here in Kentucky and across the country one step closer to the certainty they need to survive such a tough agricultural economy,” said Kentucky Farm Bureau President Mark Haney. “I would like to thank Senator McConnell on his extensive efforts to move forward the single most important piece of legislation affecting agriculture and rural communities. He continually works to help an industry that is so crucial to every citizen in this country, as well as our neighbors across the world who depend heavily on the success of the American farmer.”

The Senate Farm Bill also includes Senator McConnell’s measure (The Hemp Farming Act of 2018) to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity by removing it from the federal list of controlled substances. It also gives states the opportunity to become the primary regulators of hemp production, allows hemp researchers to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and makes hemp farmers eligible to apply for crop insurance.

“Last year alone, Kentucky hemp recorded more than $16 million in product sales through the state pilot program I previously secured, demonstrating that hemp holds great potential for the future of Kentucky agriculture,” Senator McConnell added. “For far too long, the federal government has prevented most farmers from growing hemp. Although it was a foundational part of Kentucky’s heritage and today you can buy hemp products at stores across the country, most American farmers have been barred from planting it in their fields. I have heard from many Kentucky farmers who agree it’s time to remove the federal hurdles and give our state the opportunity to seize its full potential and once again become the national leader for hemp production. That is why I strongly advocated for this measure to be included in the Farm Bill, which will finally and fully legalize industrial hemp.”

“For farmers across America, there is no piece of legislation more important than the Farm Bill,” saidKentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles. “I am particularly excited to see that the full text of Leader McConnell’s Hemp Farming Act of 2018 made it into this bipartisan bill. This Farm Bill will allow state departments of agriculture, like Kentucky’s, to unleash the full economic potential of industrial hemp pilot programs. I applaud Leader McConnell for his tireless advocacy for Kentucky farmers.”

In collaboration with agriculture leaders in Kentucky and throughout the nation, Senator McConnell utilized his position as Senate Majority Leader to secure language in the 2014 Farm Bill to authorize hemp research pilot programs. He built on that success with federal legislation to ensure that hemp produced from the pilot program could be transported, processed, and marketed. Under the guidance of Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and his predecessor, now-U.S. Representative James Comer (KY-1), these programs have allowed Kentucky farmers to both research the plant and to demonstrate its potential. Representative Comer is leading the effort on this issue in the House of Representatives.

Arkansas Plant Board Adopts Industrial Hemp Regulations

ARKANSAS: The Arkansas Plant Board approved regulations for the state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program today at their quarterly meeting. The approval came after Mary Smith, author of the regulations and ASPB Seed Division Director, presented several public comments collected during a thirty-day public comment period that concluded June 15th.

TreeOfLifeSeeds_ArkansasPlantBoard_Pic2 (1)Many of the comments were inconsequential and did not result in recommended changes to the current draft of regulations. One comment however resulted in a change, where licenses will be suspended instead of revoked as a result of violations, pending a hearing. The regulations that were approved by Governor Asa Hutchinson in May are now headed to the Arkansas Legislative Council (ALC) for approval. The ALC’s next meeting is scheduled for August 17, 2018 at 9am. Once approved by the ALC, the adopted rules and regulations will be filed with the Secretary of State’s office and will become effective ten days after filing.

When the hemp regulations become effective, the ASPB will establish the protocol to grant licenses to Arkansas farmers and processors. Although it’s likely that licenses will not be granted in time for the 2018 growing season, local farmers and companies welcome the opportunity for next planting season. Industrial Hemp is a versatile crop that can be used to produce a variety of products such as CBD extracts, paper, building materials, food products, and biofuel.

According to local Hemp Genetics and CBD company, Tree of Life Seeds’ CEO, Jason Martin, “the ability to grow and process industrial hemp in the natural state is a game changer for Arkansas farmers who will now have a viable alternative crop that can provide increased profits at a time when farming profits are low.”

Tour Legal Hemp Farm In Kentucky Saturday, September 30, RSVP By September 29

KENTUCKY: Ananda Hemp is inviting the media to tour their 500-acre hemp farm and production facility on Saturday, September 30 from 12-3 at 2155 Grays Run in Cynthiana, KY.

A Farm Bill passed by Congress has included an amendment granting states and universities the right to research hemp. Several states have since started research projects, but Kentucky is at the forefront, experimenting with creating a new industry around this plant.

Meet 8th generation tobacco-turned-hemp-farmer, Brian Furnish, and hear how he is working with key members of Congress to change industrial hemp laws. Plus, get a tour of our laboratory to see how the hemp plant is processed.

For more information visit Ananda Hemp.

Texas Department of Public Safety Releases Confiscated Hemp CBD Oil

TEXAS: On September 7, Texas Hemp Industries Association (TXHIA) received notice that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) arrived at People’s Pharmacy’s four (4) Austin locations to confiscate various industrial hemp Cannabidiol (CBD) products.  On October 11, DPS reported to People’s pharmacy’s attorney the following:

“Attached is the lab report regarding the ‘CBD hemp oil’ from People’s Pharmacy.  The report indicates the presence of cannabidiol (CBD). The report does not indicate any detectable tetrahydocannabinol (THC).  Given certain ambiguities regarding the status of CBD under the Texas Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the department, after consulting with prosecutors, does not intend to pursue enforcement action based on the tested substance.  This discretionary enforcement decision does not constitute a general opinion about the legality of any product,” wrote D. Phillip Adkins, General Counsel, Texas Department of Public Safety.

Sheila Hemphill, Policy Director for TXHIA states, “Since January of 2016, we are aware of seven known conflicts with law enforcement, fortunately none have resulted in a conviction. Ambiguity in the law related to the status of CBD under the TCSA has caused general confusion, unnecessary expenditures by law enforcement, legal expenses and untold stress to innocent consumers and businesses. This event with People’s pharmacy demonstrates the necessity for our upcoming Texas Legislature to define industrial hemp as an agriculture crop separate from the marijuana definition in the CSA.”

Industrial hemp is not new to Texas and prior to prohibition, a 1938 Popular Mechanics article stated, “hemp grows luxuriously inTexas.”  At a recent Cochran County Farm Bureau meeting near Lubbock, attendees interested in growing this historical crop adopted a resolution approving the cultivation of industrial hemp suitable for seed, oil, fiber, and CBD, with a vote of seventy to one.  Coleman Hemphill, TXHIA Executive Director emphasized that, “our farmers are expressing a need for new beneficial crops to remain solvent through drought and profitable in down markets.  Industrial hemp needs half the water required by cotton and historically cotton has been Texas’ largest cash crop.  Lowered market prices for commodities and the loss of subsidies are jeopardizing our Texas farmer’s viability.”

Washington Industrial Hemp Bill Starts Process Of Creating State Program

WASHINGTON: The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is preparing to create an industrial hemp research licensing program now that legislation has been approved allowing a research program for industrial hemp. The bill, ESSB 6206, directs WSDA to design a program to license researchers and certify industrial hemp seed.

This process is expected to take some time. Licenses for industrial hemp production are not currently available.

Industrial hemp is an agricultural product with many potential uses. It is grown primarily as a source of fiber used in textiles, rope, paper and building materials. Hemp seed is used for food and oil, which can be used in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, inks, soaps and paints. The plants are also a source of livestock feed and bedding.

About 30 countries in Europe, Asia and North and South America permit farmers to grow hemp. Twelve U.S. states have legalized hemp production and several others allow cultivation for research projects. Hemp was grown in Washington state before it became federally prohibited.

As a cannabis plant, industrial hemp is considered a controlled substance under federal law. However, the 2014 Farm Bill defined industrial hemp and authorized state agriculture departments and higher education institutions to grow the crop for research purposes, when states legalize it.

“We understand that growers are anxious to join those already producing industrial hemp in other states and we will move quickly to establish a program here,” WSDA Director Derek Sandison said. “However, we must now lay the groundwork for the program before we can begin taking applications and issuing licenses to hemp growers.”

WSDA officials will begin the rule-making process after the bill goes into effect on June 28. This process includes soliciting and considering public input. Subject to the availability of federal or private funds, the bill also directs Washington State University (WSU) to conduct research studying the feasibility and desirability of producing industrial hemp in Washington. A report on its findings is due to the Legislature in January 2017.

Book Review: “Cannabis for Capitalists: Production Horticulture Tools, Materials, Techniques & Resources”

My editor handed me a book to review, but not a printed version, rather a thumb drive in a padded envelope. I was told that this USB unit has an expiration date, encouraging visions of a smoking time bomb after I insert it into my aging laptop.

Speaking of smoke, ‘Cannabis for Capitalists’ really is more of a users’ guide for growing mass quantities of marijuana – excuse me, for growing CANNABIS. Considering this was written by Kerrie Badertscher, a certified professional horticulturist, and her husband Kurt Badertscher, both of Otoké Horticulture, I should probably use proper terminology. [Read more…]