USDA Publishes “Economic Viability Of Industrial Hemp In The United States: A Review of State Pilot Programs”

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BY TYLER B. MARK, JONATHAN SHEPHERD, DAVID OLSON, WILLIAM SNELL, SUSAN PROPER, AND SUZANNE THORNSBURY

After a hiatus of almost 45 years, the 2014 Farm Bill reintroduced industrial hemp production in the United States through State pilot programs. This study documents outcomes and lessons learned from the State pilot programs and examines legal, agronomic, and economic challenges that may impact the transition from the pilot programs to economically viable commercial production.

In this publication…

Washington Industrial Hemp Bill Signed Into Law 

WASHINGTON: A bill from state Sen. Doug Ericksen that gets the state into the hemp business was signed into law Friday, raising the possibility that some Washington farmers may be able to plant a new cash crop during the current growing season.

Senate Bill 5276 got final approval from the Legislature Wednesday, and became law Friday with the governor’s signature. The swift action came after agricultural interests persuaded the governor’s office that planting this year might be possible if the bill was signed without delay.

“Quick approval for this bill means a big opportunity for Washington farmers,” said Ericksen, R-Ferndale. “Hemp could become a major crop in my district, because in Northwest Washington we would need no irrigation. But this new cash crop can be grown anywhere in the state, and if we can get planting done this season, all the better.”

The once-forbidden crop has benefitted from recent changes to marijuana laws. Hemp has been cultivated worldwide for thousands of year, and has traditionally been used for rope. New uses include everything from textiles to plastics, and even food. But hemp, a strain of the cannabis sativa plant, was banished from American farmfields when federal law declared marijuana a controlled substance. Hemp contains a small-but-detectable concentration of THC, the psychoactive element in marijuana.

Because several states, including Washington, have legalized marijuana, Congress passed a law last year removing hemp from the list of controlled substances, and permitting renewed hemp production in states that implement a regulatory program. Ericksen’s legislation establishes a licensing, inspection and testing program under the state Department of Agriculture. Cost would be borne by growers, as with other commodity programs.

Regulators will have to work quickly to get the program under way during the current growing season. The ideal planting season opened a month ago. The bill allows the Department of Agriculture to use an expedited rule-making process so that hemp licenses can be issued without delay.

Ohio Senate Votes In Favor Of Establishing An Industrial Hemp Program

OHIO: State Senators Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) and Brian Hill (R- Zanesville) announced the unanimous Senate passage of their legislation that would create an industrial hemp program in Ohio administered by the Department of Agriculture. 

Senate Bill 57 clarifies that hemp and hemp derived products, including CBD oil may be sold legally in Ohio.

“It is important to understand that hemp is not marijuana, it is much more versatile and lacks an appreciable amount of THC to cause any psychotropic effects,” said Huffman. “This is an incredible opportunity for our farmers to help diversify their crops by allowing them to grow legal hemp.” 

With the recent passing of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, industrial hemp has been removed from the list of scheduled substances banned by the federal government and can now be grown as a commodity crop throughout the United States. 

“This an exciting opportunity for farmers to expand the crops they plant,” said Hill. “Farmers can rotate hemp to improve soil health while earning more profit than many traditional cover crops. I’m eager to see all the ways that Ohio will benefit from this legislation.” 

Many states have adopted a hemp pilot program, permitted by federal law, so that farmers in their jurisdictions could begin planting and harvesting hemp. Hemp can be used in over 25,000 commercial products including feed, fiber, biofuels, clothing and plastic.

“Farmers are always looking for new options to diversify their operations,” said Adam Sharp, Executive Vice President of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. “We applaud Senators Hill and Huffman for introducing legislation to help bring industrial hemp to Ohio and to allow farmers to explore the potential of this quickly growing market opportunity.”  

This legislation will now be sent to the House for further consideration.

USDA Hosts Webinar On The Domestic Hemp Production Program & 2018 Farm Bill

Screenshot 2019-03-07 09.48.10DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The USDA will host a free webinar explaining the 2018 Farm Bill and The Domestic Hemp Production Program.

Event Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – 12:00pm to 3:00pm

The Specialty Crops Program is conducting a webinar to solicit public comments on the sections of the 2018 USDA Farm Bill relative to multiple sections dealing with industrial hemp. Up to 1,000 people at a time may view the webinar; however, time constraints will allow only 60 speakers during the webinar and it will not include a Question and Answer session. Speakers will have a maximum time limit of three minutes and must submit a written copy of their comments to farmbill.hemp@usda.gov by March 11, 2019.

To register: Visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_L2G9K7cXTkayQ2O1_0AP0g  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For questions regarding the listening session, please email Jeff Davis or view the Federal Register Notice

For additional information on the marketing program visit the Marketing Program for the Commercial Production of Hemp webpage.

Cresco Labs Launches Hemp CBD Subsidiary — Expands House Of Brands

ILLINOIS: Cresco Labs, one of the largest vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operators in the nation, today announced the formation of a new wellness subsidiary, Well Beings, that will provide the Company the ability to expand its house of branded products to all 50 states to potentially reach a new customer base outside of the licensed dispensary channel. Well Beings, led by Cresco’s Chief Experience Officer, MINIMAL principal, and former Nike Global Creative Director Scott Wilson, will offer a full line of high-quality hemp-based CBD wellness products eligible for national distribution. The subsidiary will have its own unique product line and produce CBD versions of Cresco Labs’ house of branded products including Cresco, Remedi and Mindy’s Edibles.

“Entering the CBD industry is an obvious next step for Cresco Labs so it can continue to build consumer trust in the quality and consistency of our portfolio of brands across all fifty states and to reach new customers both through and outside of the licensed dispensary channel,” said Cresco’s CEO and co-founder Charlie Bachtell. “As the US cannabis market is projected to expand from $10 billion to $75 billion by 2030, hemp-derived products, including CBD, offer all consumers an opportunity to access the natural therapeutic benefits of cannabinoid-based products. Our wellness-focused offerings, which will include Well Beings, Cresco, Remedi and Mindy’s, can be distributed nationwide for retailers, grocers, nutrition stores, and online marketplaces, further raising the awareness of cannabinoid-based products and their beneficial properties.”

“We believe that the role of national brands is to help consumers and patients make choices that are right for them. Cresco’s mission is to normalize and professionalize the cannabis industry. By building brands that help de-stigmatize, educate and build trust, we can help new and existing consumers explore the many benefits of cannabis and cannabinoid-based products.”

Following the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing CBD, the hemp CBD market is estimated to reach $3 billion by 2020, according to Brightfield Group, and may possibly eclipse the cannabis market over time. Well Beings builds on Cresco’s strong history of product quality and consistency to offer consumers trustworthy, high quality CBD-based wellness products that will be available in ingestibles, topicals and patches, balms, lotions and tinctures.

Combining the cannabinoid products expertise of Cresco Labs with the design and consumer expertise from Wilson’s MINIMAL, a globally recognized design firm, this new subsidiary will create a launching pad for new brands and support expansion of Cresco’s leading cannabis brands into the CBD space. Well Beings will serve an important new customer category that can experience hemp-based products in a normalized and de-stigmatized manner. Cresco Labs will be making a non-material investment in this new subsidiary.

“The purpose of this new business line is to demystify and build trust in CBD products, guiding consumers to understand the benefits of hemp and how to incorporate CBD-based wellness products into their daily lives,” said Wilson, who is spearheading the endeavor. “The cross-channel, consumer-centric opportunity for Cresco to build brand equity is transformative in the cannabis industry.”

OLCC Commissioners Adopt Rules For Regulating Industrial Hemp Entering Oregon Regulated Marijuana System

Stipulated Settlements for Recreational Marijuana Violations Approved

OLCC LogoOREGON: At its monthly meeting on February 21, 2019 the Commissioners of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission approved rules for regulating industrial hemp that enters into the OLCC regulated marijuana system.

The new industrial hemp rules implement the provisions of House Bill 4089 approved by the Oregon Legislature and signed into law in 2018.  HB 4089 alters the way hemp items can enter the OLCC licensed system.  The rule change allows for additional OLCC recreational marijuana license types to receive industrial hemp items from growers and handlers registered with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

A key element of the rules requires that hemp items received by OLCC licensees be tracked using a seed-to-sale tracking system; this means hemp items will be tracked using the same Cannabis Tracking System (CTS) required for marijuana and marijuana products.

The new hemp rules can be found here on the OLCC website.

The Commission also approved the following fines and/or marijuana license suspensions or license surrenders based on stipulated settlements:

CR HEALTHY OPTIONS* will pay a fine of $1,485 or serve a nine day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for one violation.
Licensees are Linda Mayfield, Co-Licensee; Larry Mayfield, Co-Licensee.

Phillips Field Facility* will pay a fine of $7,755 or serve a 47-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for two violations.
Licensee is Phillip Field Facility, LLC; Susan Phillips, Member.

Kleen Karma Gardens* will pay a fine of $2,640 or serve a 16-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for two violations.
Licensee is Kleen Karma Gardens, Inc.; Oregon Care 4 You, LLC, Stockholder; Mark Mobray, Pres/Sec/Dir/Member; Kimberly Bottaro, VP/Director.

Lunchbox Alchemy*; will pay a fine of $8,415 or serve a 51-day recreational marijuana processor license suspension for two violations.
Licensee is CHC Laboratories, LLC; Cameron Yee, Managing Member.

Gorgeous Green Farms*; will pay a fine of $7,260 or serve a 44-day recreational marijuana producer license suspension for three violations.
Licensee is Gorgeous Green Farms, LLC, Dungey Holdings, LLC, Member; Scott Dungey, Member; F&P Investments, LLC, Member; Jeffrey Froug, Member.

Panda Farms*; will surrender its producer license on the date the transfer of ownership of the business is completed or at 7:00 AM on May 21, 2019, whichever is earlier, and each licensee agrees to accept a letter of reprimand for nine violations.
Licensee is Geiger Industries, LLC; Kali Mata, LLC, Managing Member; Nitin Khanna, Managing Member; Karan Khanna, Member; Portsmouth Enterprises, Managing Member; David Alport, Stockholder.

*The locations of OLCC marijuana producer, processor and wholesale licensees are exempt from public disclosure under Oregon law. 

A copy of the Stipulated Settlement Agreements for Marijuana Violation Cases can be found on the OLCC website, on the Laws & Rules page under the Final Orders section.

South Dakota Governor Noem Encourages Legislators To Table Industrial Hemp Discussions

SOUTH DAKOTA: Governor Kristi Noem asked the South Dakota legislature to table discussions on legalizing industrial hemp this legislative session.

“South Dakota is not ready for industrial hemp production,” said Noem. “There are still questions about the impact on public safety, enforcement, and costs to the taxpayers. We need to see federal guidelines when they are issued and then decide if this commodity is as promising as they say it will be.”

In December 2018, then-Congresswoman Noem voted in favor of the 2018 Farm Bill, a small section of which loosened regulations on industrial hemp. The crop is not currently authorized for growth in South Dakota under any state or federal program. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Governor Noem have discouraged producers from making plans to grow industrial hemp in the 2019 growing season.

PanXchange Launches Industrial Hemp Pricing

COLORADO: PanXchange, a Denver-based OTC physical commodity exchange and price reporting provider, today successfully launched its industrial hemp indices, becoming the first company to offer such pricing data to the market. PanXchange now delivers spot market pricing to its members, publishing on a monthly basis, and plans to launch trading capabilities in Q3 of this year.

Prices will be offered for the following hemp products:

  • FOB Portland, Oregon Hemp Biomass
  • FOB Portland, Oregon Crude Oil
  • FOB Denver, Colorado Hemp Biomass
  • FOB Denver, Colorado Crude Oil
  • FOB Lexington, Kentucky Hemp Biomass
  • FOB Lexington, Kentucky Crude Oil

While there have been other attempts to launch hemp trading, those efforts ultimately fizzled partially because of their non-optimal timing. With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill on December 20, 2018, the industrial hemp industry is now primed for a period of rapid growth. Previously, despite industrial hemp’s wide array of end uses, including paper products, textiles, plastics, cannabidiol (CBD) and construction materials, it had been outlawed since the 1970s.

The increased product supply and the 2018 Farm Bill’s new federal distinction between hemp and marijuana have paved the way for hemp to be viewed as a commercial commodity. United States industrial hemp production has increased on an exponential scale, growing from 9,770 acres planted in 2016 to more than 25,000 acres planted in 2017. While the official figures have not been published by the USDA for 2018, preliminary estimates forecast similar growth to what was seen between 2016 and 2017.

PanXchange CEO Julie Lerner commented, “We’re excited to bring transparent pricing and instant market access to another new commodity, particularly a budding commodity like hemp that is just now establishing a legitimate market. The industrial hemp market is brimming with potential, and given our deep commodity experience and track record in nascent markets like frac sand, PanXchange is the perfect company to provide this market structure solution that commercial producers have been looking for.”

Hemp becomes PanXchange’s second U.S.-focused commodities market, after the launch of frac sand in 2017. PanXchange was the first company to create a market in frac sand, and saw tremendous growth in 2018, with its client base presently representing 45 percent of all sand traded (on and offline). PanXchange’s hemp market will follow the same blueprint as frac sand. If interested in learning more about PanXchange’s industrial hemp products, please contact info@panxchange.com.

Senators Wyden, Merkley Urge FDA To Update Regulations To Ensure US Producers & Consumers Have Access To CBD, Other Hemp Products

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to update federal regulations governing the use of certain hemp-derived ingredients in food, beverages or dietary supplements.

Congress legalized the production and sale of industrial hemp and hemp derivatives, including hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), when it passed Wyden and Merkley’s Hemp Farming Act as a provision included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Outdated regulations, however, limit producers from taking full advantage of the industrial hemp market by, for example, prohibiting food products containing CBD from being sold across state lines.

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Wyden and Merkley requested the FDA update its regulations and give U.S. producers more flexibility in the production, consumption, and sale of hemp products.

“Farmers in Oregon and nationwide are poised to make real economic gains for their communities once these regulations are updated,” Wyden and Merkley wrote. “We will be closely engaged in the ongoing implementation of our legislation, as it was Congress’ intent to ensure that both U.S producers and consumers have access to a full range of hemp-derived products, including hemp-derived cannabinoids.”

As the FDA is operating with limited staff due to the Trump shutdown, Wyden and Merkley requested a response and answer to the following questions within 30 calendar days of the government reopening.

  1. What steps are the agency advancing to clarify to the public the authority the agency has in the production and marketing of hemp, specifically Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives?
  2. What lawful pathways are currently available for those who seek approval to introduce Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives as a food, beverages or dietary supplement, including into interstate commerce?
  3. Are there circumstances in which Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives may be permitted as a food, beverages or dietary supplement by the agency?
  4. Will the agency consider issuing a regulation, or pursing a process, that would allow Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives in food, beverages or dietary supplements that cross state lines?

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

OLCC Notice of Public Hearing On Industrial Hemp Jan 15, 2018

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, including Statement of Need and Fiscal Impact

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OLCC news

 

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OREGON: Division 25 of Chapter 845 of the Oregon Administrative Rules sets forth the privileges and prohibitions for licensees and permittees of the Commission regarding the recreational cannabis market. The revisions within this package were made to implement the changes made by the 2018 Oregon legislature (HB 4089) relating to industrial hemp.

Date and Time:        Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 10:00 a.m.

 

Location:                 Oregon Liquor Control Commission

9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Portland, OR 97222

 

A subsequent two week comment period will be held after the hearing; all written comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 29, 2019.