HIA 24th Annual Conference 
Is Sept 9-11 In Lexington, KY

KENTUCKY: The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, will host its annual conference Saturday, September 9, 2017, through Monday, September 11, 2017, in Lexington, Kentucky.

The 24th annual conference will feature a hemp research field day and farm tour of the University of Kentucky Spindletop Research Farm, and additionally a separate private research facility and processing plant; two days of speaker and panel programming; and a hemp exhibition open to the public. Prior to the hemp research field day & farm tour, there will be a members-only annual general meeting on Friday September 8.

The conference will focus on the theme Share the Vision, and is expected to be the most highly attended conference in the history of the HIA.  The Share the Vision HIA conference is coordinated in partnership with the American Society of Agronomy, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and the Crop Science Society of America.

The Hemp Industries Association annual conference brings together top experts in the industrial hemp industry, as well as farmers, entrepreneurs and advocates who are creating the future of hemp farming and manufacturing in the U.S.  Kentucky’s former Agriculture Commissioner and hemp pilot program pioneer turned Congressman, U.S. House Representative James Comer (R-KY) is expected to speak on national policy, which is a highlight given his primarily sponsorship of the recently introduced Industrial Hemp Farming Act, H.R. 3530.” said Colleen Keahey, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association.

Hemp Industries Association Responds To DEA Final Rule Regarding ‘Marijuana Extracts’

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the leading non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses, has issued its position in response to a recent DEA ruling, submitted to the Federal Register December 14, 2016, which seeks to establish a new drug code for ‘marijuana extract.’ Specifically, the DEA has proposed that CBD, and all cannabinoids derived from Cannabis Sativa L. qualify as ‘marijuana extracts,’ and require separate, distinct identification and tracking by DEA agents than other forms of ‘marijuana.’ However, the DEA maintains the contradictory assertion that all CBD products are illegal as they constitute ‘marijuana’ per the Controlled Substances Act, and will therefore “continue to be treated as Schedule I substances.”  Complete Ruling.

It is the position of the Hemp Industries Association that this Final Rule regarding ‘marijuana extracts’ is not within the jurisdiction of the DEA to enact, as the administration itself cannot amend or augment the definitions put forth in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Adding CBD products to the federal schedule of controlled substances would require new legislation to pass in Congress or action taken by the Attorney General, amending the CSA. Additionally, the ruling is based on an incorrect and incomplete understanding of how CBD is derived from the cannabis plant. While CBD may be derived from forms of cannabis that contain high amounts of THC, the cannabinoid associated with ‘marijuana,’ CBD may also be produced from industrial hemp plants that meet the legal standards of less than 0.3% THC by dry weight, and which may be cultivated in 32 states in the U.S. per Sec. 7606 of the Farm Bill, the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment. Hence, not all CBD products may be classified as extracts from ‘marijuana.’

“It’s important to understand that this Final Rule does not change the legal status of hemp derived CBD,” said Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association. “Cannabidiol is not listed on the federal schedule of controlled substances, and the DEA has no authority whatsoever to impede the production, processing or sale of hemp products, including CBD products, grown under the Farm Bill. We urge consumers and businesses not to panic, and continue supporting the growth of the hemp industry in the U.S.”

Generally, the HIA maintains that CBD products should be legally defined as supplements, not drugs or pharmaceuticals subject to DEA control. The CBD industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the emerging hemp market in the U.S., and indeed worldwide. This DEA Final Rule is concerning to the industry, as it creates confusion in the marketplace among consumers and legitimate businesses alike, and may potentially result in federal agencies improperly treating legal products such as CBD oils, body balms and supplements as controlled substances. The Hemp Industries Association is monitoring this development closely, and is strongly considering legal action to protect the interests of its members and the hemp industry as a whole.

Defining Washington Hemp Politics Harder Than You Think

Defining WA’s hemp politics, harder than you think.

By Bailey Hirschburg

WASHINGTON: Industrial hemp legislation looks certain to pass after Washington’s state senate voted unanimously in favor of legislating the crop. After years as a low-priority issue, hemp is poised to join the agricultural community in a big way. Though many people worked on the bi-partisan effort, one of the lead forces making it come together was Joy Beckerman, head of Washington State’s Hemp Industries Association (HIA).

Substitute Senate Bill 5012, sponsored by Sen. Brian Hatfield (D-Raymond) passed unanimously in early February. The bill was changed by the state House’s Committee on Commerce & Gaming, but in conversation’s with legislators Beckerman is nearly certain a consensus version will reach Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk this year. The issue has broad public support, but is a hot-potato when it comes to how it will be licensed.  

Beckerman and the HIA joined the input of the State Dept. of Agriculture (WSDA), State Patrol, State Toxicology lab, and other legislators and other activists to settle on the best possible language for the law. To Maher, definitions matter. A lot of the fight over the bill focused on who was defining basic things, like cannabis.

Did you think cannabis was a plant? Wrong!

“Our bill says that hemp is ‘…all parts and varieties of the genera Cannabis,’ not the cannabis sativa plant!” Beckerman explains in our phone interview. Beckerman’s personality is a hemp-centric Leslie Knope, of the show “Parks and Recreation.” Upbeat, knowledgable, detail-oriented, even a bit loud, only Maher’s hair color easily sets her apart from the feisty TV character. That, and she’s focused on hemp. She’s thrilled about the result, even if the process was stressful.

A lot of federal and state laws refer to the “cannabis sativa plant” when they’re actually talking about hemp. Sativa is a species of the Cannabis family, grown and used as a drug. It’s varieties are generally called strains (Indica, another popular variety of strains, is actually a sub-species of sativa.) Hemp is actually cannabis ruderalis, a different species in the same genera.

Poor definitions help stereotype hemp as a drug and encourages sativa strains (which have weaker fiber compositions) to be grown as hemp. For Washington hemp to be a viable crop, it needs reliable genetics, a pedigree seed certification system, and unified standards of measurement. Beckerman credits Rep. Matt Shea (R-Spokane Valley) for listening to her and fighting to keep the fees and regulations on farmers as minimal as possible.

Another threat to a viable hemp law was licensing fees. The WSDA wanted collecting and testing done by their staff only, a process not even recreational pot goes through. They also wanted the right to inspect hemp farms without cause at any time. Beckerman was certain the testing could be done by state licensed labs for about $10 an acre. The WSDA was pushing for testing costing $30 an acre.

“Representative Shea did everything he could to hold [the WSDA] off.” explains Beckerman.

Proposed language still has samples collected by the WSDA, but third party labs will do the testing. The WSDA got their fees, but only for the first year. After that licensing fees will be re-evaluated. Beckerman says current law already requires the WSDA return any collected fees beyond testing and administration costs to the farmers who paid them.

Looking back on the process thus far Maher has found she can play hardball politics as well as any bureaucrat “We can play that game.” she tells me chuckling.

A final sticking point was defining a THC concentration to test for. Hemp’s THC concentrations are so low, by the time you include receptor-blocking chemical CBD, it’s easy to show how hemp could never get a person high. Still, the state patrol and toxicology lab preferred their current testing system which didn’t include CBD. Ultimately, Beckerman was out flanked.

Still, she remains convinced Washington’s will be one of the best hemp systems once it’s growing, and she has no ill will over the process. She admits she’s become a focal point for hemp at the state capitol, but that the bill is a total team effort. “People are working together to do their jobs.”

SSB 5012 has been referred to the House Appropriations committee. You can track it’s progress here:


U.S. Leads World in Hemp Food, Beauty Sales

CALIFORNIA:  U.S. hemp product sales are growing fast. The Hemp Industries Association (HIA; Summerland, CA) estimates 21.2% retail sales growth in 2014 for hemp food and body care products, putting the 2014 total at $200 million. If other hemp-based products are added to the mix—clothing, auto parts, building materials, etc.—the total 2014 U.S. retail market is even higher at $620 million.

In food and personal care, popular products like non-dairy milk, shelled seed, soaps, and lotions are driving growth. Loosening regulations around hemp agriculture are also helping to spur the market, including the 2014 Farm Bill that enables U.S. hemp growing for research purposes and the 2015-proposed Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which would allow U.S. growing for commercial use.

Sales of food and personal care have steadily trended upward: 7.3% (2011), 16.5% (2012), 24% (2013), and 21.2% (2014). Growth has been quicker in conventional channels (26.8%) than in natural channels (16.3%).

These numbers may even underestimate the market size. The association says that because its 2014 estimates from natural and conventional retailers exclude data from some key sellers like Whole Foods Market and Costco, actual total market sales may in fact be 2.5-times higher. (HIA’s sales estimates are supported by market researcher SPINS.)