By Michael Bachara, Hemp News Correspondent
After a panel of appointed experts can appease federal officials with a set of rules, Oregon farmers may sow a crop of industrial hemp next spring. The committee of agricultural experts and state officials has been selected by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and will come together in December to establish proper procedures for hemp cultivation in Oregon.
"The committee hopes to set up a program that will meet what the federal government calls a ‘robust’ standard," according to Jim Cramer, a market and certification official at the Department of Agriculture. "The goal is to do so in time for planting."
In 2009, Senate Bill 676, spearheaded by Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski, was passed by the Oregon legislature and then-Governor Theodore Kulongoski signed the historic bill into law. Since the passage, Oregon farmers have been hesitant to begin growing due to fear that they’d be prosecuted by the Drug Enforcement Administration for possession of a schedule I controlled substance.
In recent months, hemp’s legal status gained momentum. The federal justice department said it won’t prosecute cases in states such as Washington and Colorado that legalize and regulate marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
A Tennessee lawmaker wants to bring hemp farming back to the Volunteer State, and he's drafting a bill that would do exactly that. State Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) said the key to success is educating his colleagues about the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana -- and the economic benefits to farmers.
Hemp is used in the manufacture of plastics, insulation, and paper. Hemp seeds are used to supplement protein and omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids, report Heidi Hall and Adam Tamburin at The Tennessean. Hemp clothes, shoes and purses sell briskly. But growing hemp is illegal in the United States, because lawmakers wrote the marijuana laws to include even low-THC varieties of industrial hemp.
"Their biggest fear is that, if they support hemp, people will think they support marijuana," Sen. Niceley said. "That's a cousin of hemp, but cornbread is a cousin of moonshine."
Republican Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol remains unconvinced. He also bemoans the federal hoops to jump through, with marijuana considered a Schedule I controlled substance, and he claimed farmers in his district are "not clamoring" for it.
By Steve Elliott
Officials in the Oregon Department of Agriculture on Tuesday said their goal is to have rules for the production of industrial hemp in place by planting time next spring.
The department has gathered a group of policy experts and agriculture officials, including Jim Cramer, director of market access and certification programs at the Department of Agriculture, and Russ Karow, who leads Oregon State University's soil and crop science program, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. The group has scheduled its first meeting, in December, to write "robust" rules for hemp production.
Oregon is one of seven states which allows the production of industrial hemp, a non-intoxicating variety of cannabis grown for its fiber and seeds. Oregon officials so far haven't implemented the 2009 law, saying they planned to wait until the federal government changed its marijuana laws, which don't differentiate between hemp and marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods on Wednesday announced that its facility, located in Winnipeg, "aced" the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards Recertification. According to Manitoba Harvest, it is the world's largest hemp food manufacturer, growing, making and selling their own hemp foods.
The company improved a full "grade" from their first certification last year, according to chief executive officer and cofounder Mike Fata. "Improving our BRC Certification standing to 'A-Grade' showcases our commitment to continuous improvement -- especially when it comes to food safety and quality," Fata said.
"If a school had a hemp production program we'd already have our Ph.D.," Fata said. "Receiving a top grade in our recertification validates our team's commitment to quality."
BRC Certification is considered the world's leading food safety and quality certification program, and is used by suppliers in more than 100 countries.
To receive BRC Certification, Manitoba Harvest underwent a voluntary audit by a third-party certification body that ensures the production, packaging, storage and distribution of safe food and consumer products. The annual certification is meant to reassure retailers and consumers of the capability and competence of Manitoba Harvest's facility, and therefore the integrity of its products.
Celebrating their 15th year in business, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods offers products like hemp hearts (raw shelled hemp seeds) and Hemp Pro 70 (hemp protein concentrate).
By Steve Elliott
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is taking his pitch for industrial hemp to auto manufacturers on Thursday.
Comer is attending AutoConnect, a trade conference in Nashville, where executives from Toyota, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda and other manufacturers will be attending, reports Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The commissioner of agriculture hopes to tell the execs about using hemp, which he said contains "longer, stronger, lighter and greener" fibers than the products currently used in the auto manufacturing process.
"It has been my goal to make the pitch for Kentucky-grown industrial hemp to automobile manufacturers," Comer said. "Now the opportunity is here and I believe this could be a win-win: a win for Kentucky farmers and a win for an industry working hard to find a more environmentally sound manufacturing process."
Some automakers in Europe are already using hemp as a biodegradable, sustainable material in parts such as dashboards, interior panels, and soundproofing.
Comer said Kentucky farmers might plant hemp next year despite an advisory letter issued last month by state Attorney General Jack Conway saying that farmers who do so "will expose themselves to potential criminal liability and the possible seizure of property by federal or state law enforcement agencies."
By Steve Elliott
America's first legal hemp harvest in more than half a century began this month in Colorado.
Amendment 64, approved by voters last November, didn't just legalize small amounts of marijuana for adults -- it also cleared the way for industrial hemp production. Farmer Ryan Loflin wasted no time; he planted 55 acres of hemp this past spring, reports Melanie Asmar at Westword.
Hemp advocates from across the United States came to watch last week as Loflin and his crew harvested the first plants by hand. "It felt very historic," said advocate Lynda Parker.
"We think that, obviously, this is a symbolic first hemp harvest," said Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA). Steenstra predicted that farmers in other states will soon follow Loflin's lead.
Since the federal government doesn't distinguish between marijuana and hemp -- classifying both as a Schedule I controlled substance -- when the federal Department of Justice recently indicated it wouldn't sue to stop state marijuana legalization, Steenstra said that policy should apply to hemp, as well.
The night before the ceremonial September 23 harvest, Loflin hosted a dinner at his farm, featuring hemp-based foods. It was attended by Colorado hemp advocates, as well as national advocates from the Hemp Industries Association, Vote Hemp, and Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps.
By Steve Elliott
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 566, the California Industrial Hemp Farming Act, legalizing hemp farming under state law.
Introduced by state Senator Mark Leno earlier this year, SB 566 ensures that California is prepared to begin registering hemp farmers once the federal government gives states the green light, according to hemp advocacy organization Vote Hemp and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), an industry trade group.
The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act will establish a framework for farming the oilseed and fiber varieties of the plant, which are used in a myriad of everyday consumer products, including food, body care, clothing, paper, auto parts, composites, building materials, and biofuels.
Enforcement and oversight of hemp production would be handled in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and country agricultural commissioners, as is done with other farm crops.
By Steve Elliott
Staff members have been instructed to begin the process of writing rules for the development of the long-banned industrial hemp crop in Kentucky, according to a news release from the state Department of Agriculture.
The state's industrial hemp commission is calling on GOP Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul to write a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to "make Kentucky's intentions known," reports Jonathan Meador at WFPL.
Paul and Comer are hoping for clarity from the feds on the current legality of growing a hemp crop in Kentucky. The issue remains murky in the wake of a a DOJ memo released last month by Deputy Attorney General James Cole. According to that August 30 memo, the federal government "will respect" state marijuana laws, which advocates believe includes the legalization of industrial hemp production.
Sen. Paul intends "to be a part of correspondence with the Department of Justice," according to a spokesperson, and he "supports the work of the Hemp Commission and supports Commissioner Comer's efforts to move forward with the reintroduction of industrial hemp in Kentucky."
By Steve Elliott
Vote Hemp on Tuesday held an 11 a.m. briefing and press conference on the recent policy change at the U.S. Department of Justice honoring state laws regarding marijuana production. Members of the press heard directly from Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Jared Polis, Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer and others on the opportunity for industrial hemp farming and whether further legislative clarification is necessary in light of the Justice Department's ruling.
Also discussed was the hemp farming amendment to the House Farm Bill, an update on the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, H.R. 525 and S. 359, the current market for and agricultural benefits of industrial hemp.
Nine states have enacted laws regulating hemp production, and 10 others have urged Congress to remove federal barriers to it. Industrial hemp, a non-drug crop, is already a $500 million-plus industry in the U.S., representing more than 4,000 jobs.
Commissioner Comer is leading the charge to move forward with hemp production in Kentucky, and it is his position that the Justice Department's ruling must honor state law in all states where the Legislature has established a responsible administrative framework to license hemp producers.
By Steve Elliott
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said on Friday this week's policy change by the U.S. Department of Justice, under which the DOJ agreed to defer any lawsuits against states which legalize recreational marijuana, also clears the way for farmers to begin growing industrial hemp in the Bluegrass State.
The DOJ announced the new policy on Thursday, allowing states to legalize and regulate the cultivation, sales and use of marijuana as long as the changes protect children and prevent cannabis from entering the black market, reports the Courier-Journal.
Comer called the federal policy reversal a "major victory" for Kentucky farmers; he had spearheaded a hemp bill through this year's session of the Legislature. Officials indicated hemp cultivation could begin within a year.
Hemp, like marijuana, is a variety of the cannabis plant, but industrial hemp is grown for the fiber in its stalks and for the nutritional oil in its seeds, which contain a favorable ratio of the essential fatty acids (EFAs), Omega 3-6-9. Federal law, however, treats hemp the same as marijuana.
"It's about time," Comer said. "Two years ago, the Obama administration would not even discuss the legalization of industrial hemp. But through a bipartisan coalition of Kentucky leaders, we forced their hand."
By Steve Elliott
The BMW i3, a new all-electric car which debuted on Monday, weights just 2,700 pounds, 800 pounds less than the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt. BMW achieved this by using a variety of low-weight materials --including plenty of hemp in the interior -- to maximize fuel efficiency and driving range.
Weight is essential, reports TruthonPot.com, because the i3 depends on a 22-kilowatt lithium-ion battery for fuel; the battery is so heavy it contributes about 20 percent of the vehicle's mass. Like many BMWs before it, the i3 features door panels made of hemp; mixed with plastic, hemp helps lower the weight of each panel by about 10 percent.
Hemp fibers, left exposed, also form a design element of the car's interior, reports Bloomberg. Designer Benoit Jacob says the use of natural materials like hemp and kenaf (a plant in the hibiscus family) makes the i3's interior feel like "a small loft on wheels."
BMW has tested and used natural hemp fiber since the 1990s, when government pressure to use recyclables forced European manufacturers to build greener vehicles.
Starting with trunk liners and airbag components, BMW expanded into making door panels from hemp. Hemp panels were used in all of BMW's 5 Series models by 2006; many other European luxury carmakers, including Mercedes Benz and Audi, now also use hemp in one form or another.
Set to launch next year, the BMW i8, an electric hybrid supercar, will also include hemp components.
By Steve Elliott
Hemp, Inc., which works in the industrial hemp industry as a publicly traded company, is engaged in an effort to educate consumers, shareholders and others on the difference between industrial hemp and marijuana.
"It is important to note that Industrial Hemp products are completely legal for consumers to purchase in the United States," the company stated in a Tuesday press release. "Marijuana, while medically legal in many states and recreationally legal in Colorado and Washington, is deemed illegal on the Federal level, and thus the reason Hemp, Inc., focuses on our various Industrial Hemp products and not marijuana."
Hemp products such as hemp milk, hemp cereal, and hemp oil and purchased by American consumers every day, and, obviously, are legal.
Hemp, Inc., focuses strictly on industrial hemp products, since it is allowed to market in all 50 states and worldwide without any ambivalence between state and federal laws, "giving us a distinct advantage from the limited medical marijuana markets," the press release states. "By getting a foothold ion, what many see as the next American Industrial Revolution, the Industrial Hemp Industry, Hemp, Inc., (the only publicly traded company of its kind in the sector) will continue to be the avant-garde of every category of industrial hemp products."
Presented by The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation (THCF) and our affiliated political committee the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH).
Cannabis Common Sense Friday's, 8-9PM Pacific Time (Live Stream)
The show that tells truth about marijuana & the politics behind its prohibition.
Live call in show, Friday's, 8-9PM Pacific Time, (503-288-4442) Cannabis Common Sense is intended to educate the public on the uses of cannabis in our society. Feel free to call the show. We look forward to helping you.
Watch the show on Ustream! - http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cannabis-common-sense
Be sure to check us out on Youtube! - http://www.youtube.com/cannabiscommonsense
By Steve Elliott
Colorado's first industrial hemp crop in almost 60 years is now growing.
Ryan Loftin, a farmer in Springfield, Colorado, on Monday began planting 60 acres of industrial hemp in fields previously used for alfalfa, according to the Denver Post.
He and business partner Chris Thompson are installing a seed press to produce hemp seed oil, reports Patricia Collier of The Associated Press.
Hemp, like marijuana, comes is a form of the cannabis plant. Industrial hemp typically contains little or no THC, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, but it has dozens of uses in food, fuel, clothing and industrial materials.
Our farmers need this valuable crop to be returned as an option for commercial agriculture
By D. Paul Stanford, Hemp News Director
Hemp is the ultimate cash crop, producing more fiber, food and oil than any other plant on the planet. According to the Notre Dame University publication, The Midlands Naturalist, from a 1975 article called, "Feral Hemp in Southern Illinois," about the wild hemp fields that annual efforts from law enforcement eradication teams cannot wipe out, an acre of hemp produces:
1. 8,000 pounds of hemp seed per acre.
* When cold-pressed, the 8,000 pounds of hemp seed yield over 300 gallons of hemp seed oil and a byproduct of
* 6,000 pounds of high protein hemp flour.
These seed oils are both a food and a biodiesel fuel. Currently, the most productive seed oil crops are soybeans, sunflower seeds and rape seed or canola. Each of these three seed oil crops produce between 100 to 120 gallons of oil per acre. Hemp seed produces three times more oil per acre than the next most productive seed oil crops, or over 300 gallons per acre, with a byproduct of 3 tons of food per acre. Hemp seed oil is also far more nutritious and beneficial for our health than any other seed oil crop.
In addition to the food and oil produced, there are several other byproducts and benefits to the cultivation of hemp.
2. Six to ten tons per acre of hemp bast fiber. Bast fiber makes canvas, rope, lace, linen, and ultra-thin specialty papers like cigarette and bible papers.