Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center Receives $1M For Genetics Research

OREGON: Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center has received a $1 million gift to explore hemp genomics, research that can grow understanding of how hemp may be used in health and nutrition products, textiles and construction materials.

The gift to the OSU Foundation was provided by Oregon CBD, a hemp seed research and development company.

The Global Hemp Innovation Center was launched in June by OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and is the largest, most comprehensive hemp research center in the nation. Led by Jay Noller, the center is based in the College of Agricultural Sciences, with faculty from multiple disciplines and colleges across OSU, and has a global reach that includes partnerships in four countries.

“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and interest in our work,” said Jay Noller, an OSU professor and internationally recognized hemp expert.

Noller said that while some private sector genomic studies of hemp have taken place, very little information is available publicly for research.

“There is a tremendous amount of possibility with hemp, and understanding the genetics is key,” said Seth Crawford, who with his brother Eric, co-own and manage Oregon CBD. “Philosophically, we believe the public land grant university needs to be the epicenter of that research so that all can benefit from the findings.

“We believe OSU is the right place to lead this research,” Crawford said.

Oregon CBD is a family-owned business with longtime ties to OSU that go back several generations. Seth and Eric Crawford both have several degrees from the university and prior to starting the family business Seth taught in the School of Public Policy for 13 years and contributed in 2015 to some of the Oregon Health Authority’s early cannabis policies.

“This also provides us the added satisfaction of giving back to the university that has been a part of our family since my grandfather Loren Gardner graduated in 1954,” Seth Crawford said.

The gift is the first major private donation the center has received since its launch, and is unique in that it allows scientists to publicly share data and collaborate with others engaged in the study of hemp.

“This investment accelerates our leadership and establishes OSU at the forefront in genomic research in hemp,” said Alan Sams, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Noller said genomic research tools will allow better understanding of the DNA present within different hemp varieties. He said this information will provide insights for developing specific hemp varieties for uses ranging from health and nutrition products, to the manufacture of textiles, and use in construction materials. The research also may lead to stronger, more disease resistant, higher yielding plants, and provide understanding of the genes that influence the production of chemical compounds in the plant. With this knowledge, Noller said growers might be able to better predict the levels of hemp essential oil components that are synthesized in different plant varieties.

Kelly Vining, an assistant professor and researcher in OSU’s Department of Horticulture, will lead the university’s hemp genomic research.

“Looking at the most intimate secrets of life in plants is powerful,” Vining said. “With hemp, the prospects are additionally exciting because it not only holds such interesting promise, but it is just a gnarly plant genome – the bioinformatics are challenging. We are now able to explore that promise and challenge, while also being among the first to share our findings with the world.”

Oregon’s Big Marijuana Harvests: How Do You Bring All That Pot Into The Legal Market?

OREGON:  More than any state that has legalized marijuana, Oregon is a champion when it comes to producing the drug.

Seth Crawford, a marijuana policy researcher at Oregon State University, estimates the state grows three to five times the 150,000 pounds or so consumed by Oregon pot users — a crop potentially worth more than any other single agricultural commodity in the state.

A report from a Seattle venture capital firm specializing in pot says the state’s legally allowed producers – those who grow for medical marijuana patients – harvest enough to meet the needs not only of patients in Oregon but in Washington, Colorado and Arizona as well.

“We’ve got plenty of supply,” says Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, and a member of the committee overseeing implementation of the pot legalization initiative. He wholeheartedly endorsed the common quip that Oregon is the “Saudi Arabia of marijuana.”

 

State’s First Industrial Hemp License Goes To A Southern Oregon Man

OREGON:  A man who was issued the first state permit to grow industrial hemp said he and a nonprofit group of growers and activists hope to plant a 25-acre field in Southwest Oregon this spring.

Edgar Winters, of Eagle Point, Ore., who describes himself as director of the Oregon Agriculture Food & Rural Consortium, acknowledged there are problems obtaining seeds for planting and other complications, but said he is optimistic. Winters also said warehousing and processing facilities will be ready to go when a crop is harvested in late summer.

“We are in position to do 40 tons a day at our processing mill,” Winters said. “We’ve got our ducks in a row.”

Getting seed to plant is one of the major hurdles. Importing it requires the approval of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon State University are working with the DEA on that process. In addition, Winters said a major Canadian hemp company, Hemp Textiles International, has breeders’ rights to its seed and will not allow Oregon growers to retain seed for planting. Meanwhile, the existing state statute requires hemp seed produced in Oregon to be replanted.

 

Higher Education? OSU To Offer Marijuana Policy Course

OREGON:  Students at Oregon State University will have a chance to help shape policies related to marijuana legalization in Oregon as part of a new public policy course taught this winter on the OSU campus in Corvallis.

Marijuana Policy in the 21st Century” is a new sociology course developed by Seth Crawford, an instructor in the School of Public Policy in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. The course will examine some of the policy issues facing the state following the legalization of recreational marijuana by Oregon voters in November.

“We will be working with policymakers and stakeholders to help answer some of the biggest questions facing the state following the passage of Measure 91,” said Crawford, who is an expert on the policies and market structure of marijuana in Oregon.

Crawford also serves on the state’s Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana, which advises the director of the Oregon Department of Human Services on administrative aspects of the state’s medical marijuana program. He has provided expert testimony on marijuana-related policies in Oregon.