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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.
By Steve Elliott
An amended bill to legalize industrial hemp production by Kentucky farmers -- if the federal government allows it -- was passed by the Kentucky Legislature in the final minutes of this year's regular session.
The Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission remains in the state Department of Agriculture, with only research functions of the bill assigned to the University of Kentucky, according to the terms of the compromise, reports Gregory A. Hall at the Louisville Courier-Journal. The last point of contention had been a try by House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins (D-Sandy Hook) to put the Hemp Commission under the authority of the University.
That had proven to be a deal breaker for bill sponsor Sen. Paul Hornback (R-Shelbyville) and its chief backer, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.
In fact, Comer had left the Capitol under the impression the hemp bill was dead. He returned late Tuesday when he learned Adkins wanted to continue the talks.
"We're very satisfied with the bill," Comer said. The next step, according to Comer, will be working with Kentucky's federal lawmakers to get a DEA waiver for a pilot project to grow industrial hemp in the state.
Public pressure to pass the hemp bill helped achieve the last-minute deal, according to Comer.
The bill passed the House as amended, 88-4, with Comer, a former House member, watching from the chamber floor. The Senate approved the compromise 35-1.
By Steve Elliott
With a tide of marijuana legalization poised to sweep across the United States, supporters of industrial hemp see a burgeoning market opening up and big profits for American farmers if they are allowed to grow the crop.
Hemp, like marijuana, is a variety of the cannabis plant; even though most industrial hemp contains little or no THC -- the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana -- federal drug laws don't differentiate between the varieties, reports Angela Kocherga at KING 5.
"Although it comes from the same plant, it's like non-alcoholic beer," explained author Doug Fine, whose book Too High To Fail predicts a new "green economy."
"I can't give a rational explanation as to why something as valuable as hemp -- which other countries are making so much money off and importing to us -- why we're not growing this by the millions of acres," Fine said.
Federal law prohibits American farmers from growing the crop; a special permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with lots of security, would theoretically be required. But the DEA has never issued a single industrial hemp license, ever.
By Michael Bachara, Hemp News
Beginning Spring 2013, Oregon State University will be offering its groundbreaking course on industrial hemp. The online course, WSE 266, is being spearheaded by the College of Forestry’s department of wood science and engineering. The department believes hemp is an extremely useful renewable resource which is worthy of exploration.
Described in the course material as “an introduction to the botany, biology and agronomy of the hemp plant, its origins, historical contexts and implications of contemporary legal and social issues surrounding its use for food, fiber and building products,” the course will be led by hemp consultant Anndrea Hermann, M.Sc, B.Gs, P.Ag, an instructor at the university. Hermann is the President of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), and has recruited several guest lecturers in order to bring a multi-dimensional view to the curriculum.
Hermann has a wide range of hemp knowledge, from fiber and seed agronomy to building applications. She is also a partner at Hemp-Technologies, a North Carolina based company who produces eco-friendly hemp houses in the region.
“It’s an up and coming crop in the United States and we are going to need professionals coming out of academia who are experts in multiple areas,” according to Hermann. "Oregon can become a recognized leader in the environmentally conscience fiberboard manufacturing of the twenty first century."
By Steve Elliott
A bill which would have legalized marijuana in New Hampshire died in the House on Wednesday without any debate. The Democratic-majority House voted 239-112 to kill the bill. On the same day, the House passed a bill to legalize industrial hemp.
It wasn't a party-line vote, reports Ben Leubsdorf of the Concord Monitor. While 135 Democrats and 104 Republicans voted to kill the legalization bill, 61 Democrats and 51 Republicans voted to pass it.
The legislation would have removed all references to marijuana from the state's drug control laws as of January 1, 2014. Marijuana would remain illegal under federal law, but New Hampshire would have followed Colorado and Washington state, where voters in November approved ballot measures to allow the use of marijuana by adults 21 and older.
The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, on a 12-8 vote, recommended the full House kill the legalization bill. Opponents complained that it would run counter to federal law, while supporters pointed out that cannabis prohibition is not working.
The hemp legalization bill was approved by the full House on a voice vote. Hemp can be used to make rope, fabric, paper, fuel and other products. Like marijuana, it is a variety of the cannabis plant.
By Reporter Brittany Pelletz, WKYT
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Senate Committee on Agriculture met in Frankfort Monday and unanimously voted to approve Senate Bill 50.
The Bill would license Kentucky farmers to grow hemp if federal restrictions are lifted.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner, Rodney Brewer expressed his concerns with legalizing hemp.
"We've heard that you can't get high off of hemp. You can get high off of hemp," says Brewer.
Brewer says hemp is very similar to marijuana. He believes legalizing it would lead to more crime throughout the commonwealth.
"In Kentucky last year we eradicated $441,000 illegal marijuana plants and arrested 524 people for cultivating marijuana," says Brewer.
Supporters of hemp feel confident the crops will be closely regulated. Many believe allowing it will help put Kentuckians back to work.
"I don't think it's going to replace corn. And I'm not up here saying that next year everybody is going to work for a hemp farm. But why not legalize something that could produce jobs? And probably will," says U.S. Senator Rand Paul.
By Conor Devitt, The Daily Evergreen
A bill is currently in the State Legislature that, if passed, would require WSU to research the possible effectiveness of growing industrial hemp in the state of Washington.
Senate Bill 5222 would require WSU to study the “feasibility and desirability of industrial hemp production.” The goal of the bill is to see whether or not hemp could be a successful agricultural product in Washington state.
“I’ve been thinking about doing a hemp bill for some time,” said Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, one of the bill’s sponsors. “With I-502 passed I thought it would be a good time to work on hemp legislation.”
The university would not be growing hemp but rather studying its effect in other states and countries, said Chris Mulick, director of state relations for WSU.
If the bill passes, researchers at the university will do an agricultural and economic analysis of the effects hemp has had other places and predict what its level of success would be in Washington.
“It’s not just a matter of the merits of this product, but how it would be compared to the rest of the industry,” Mulick said.
According to the bill, industrial hemp includes all parts of the cannabis sativa plant as long as the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content is less than 0.3 percent.
THC is the principle psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER, Associated Press
HONOLULU (AP) — Two Hawaii state Senate committees have given initial approval to allow privately-funded industrial hemp research.
The approvals Monday afternoon come after a House committee passed a measure last week to establish a pilot program using industrial hemp to get rid of toxins in soil.
Sen. Will Espero, a Democrat who authored the Senate bill, says industrial hemp research could help Hawaii grow its economy.
Espero says hemp has the potential to spur a variety of industries ranging from agriculture to fashion.
"You can even build a house out of hemp today," Espero said. "I saw something on YouTube recently."
Law enforcement officials oppose the bill, saying the law would make it harder for them to regulate marijuana.
The Maui Police Department submitted testimony saying that it doesn't have enough resources to deal with monitoring private hemp research facilities.
Espero says the state used to permit industrial hemp research but allowed the law to sunset in part because of the stigma associated with cannabis.
The Hawaii Legislature is also considering a bill to legalize marijuana. The House Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing Friday addressing marijuana legalization and will make a decision about the bill Thursday.
Espero says industrial hemp research is a separate issue.
He says he is optimistic about the industrial hemp research proposal passing the Legislature.
Hemp industry poised to grow in Colorado with new legal status
By Steve Raabe, The Denver Post
Passage of Amendment 64 has given life to a group of zealous enthusiasts who can barely contain their passion for the leafy green substance.
No, not pot. The fanatics get their kicks from buzz-free hemp.
A genetic cousin to marijuana, hemp is a look-alike plant with one key difference. It contains almost no THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that makes users high.
But what hemp lacks in THC, it makes up for by being a remarkable workhorse of industrial utility. From auto bodies to textile fibers to nutrition bars — even as a cleaner of toxic contamination — hemp struts its stuff.
Boosters say hemp is poised to become a big industry in Colorado because Amendment 64 allows its legal cultivation pending legislative authorization.
Lynda Parker's eyes light up, the all-natural way, when she talks about it.
"My friends tell me I'm too evangelical," says the retired Dex saleswoman. "But there's hardly a problem in the world that can't be solved with hemp."
She ticks off an abbreviated list, just a tantalizing hint, of the practical applications.
"Hemp is food, animal feed, fiber, fuel, shelter," she says. "It cleans the air, the water, the soil. Hemp could be enormous for Colorado because we're the first state to legalize it."
By Beth Musgrave, Herald-leader.com
FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce joined a growing chorus of high-profile supporters on Friday who want to let Kentucky farmers grow industrial hemp, but the effort continues to face an uphill battle.
Bills have been filed in the House and Senate that would license farmers to grow the plant — a close cousin to marijuana — if the federal government lifts its ban on the crop. Such proposals have failed to gain traction with lawmakers in previous years, but sponsors of the two bills said they believe the measure has a better chance this year.
The board of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce voted Friday to support the proposal and Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has spent much of the past year aggressively lobbying state and federal leaders to lift the ban on hemp as a way to stimulate rural Kentucky economies.
Half of Kentucky's congressional delegation — Republican U.S. Reps. Thomas Massie and Andy Barr, Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth and Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul — have also supported efforts to legalize growing hemp.
Still, skeptics remain.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said Friday that many Democratic and Republican senators remain uneasy with legalizing industrial hemp. Stivers said he did not know if the measure would pass the Republican-controlled Senate.
By NBC29 Staff
The debate over whether hemp is the same as marijuana has been contentious for law enforcement and legislatures alike.
But Albemarle County supervisors are open to what could mean an economic boost for the county.
Wednesday's presentation on the topic highlighted many of the positives. It could mean thousands of jobs, and growing hemp is environmentally friendly. But convincing Congress could be a tough sale.
Jim Politis, a Montgomery County supervisor, argued that industrial hemp would be good for the commonwealth, saying the $360 million market could restore manufacturing and tobacco jobs. He's asking supervisors to support a resolution to present to Congress.
Currently, hemp falls under the Controlled Substance Act and to grow or produce it in the United States would mean shifting regulation from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the Department of Agriculture.
Politis says he wants to work with law enforcement.
By WKYT Staff
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer spoke to a crowded room at Thursday's Lexington Forum continuing his push for industrial hemp here in Kentucky. He says it's something this year's General Assembly must act on.
Comer says hemp would be a cheap crop for farmers to grow and would create jobs across the state. Comer says other states are working on similar legislation and Kentucky could lose its opportutnity to cash in if others legalize it first. State police are opposed to the idea, saying it's impossible for them to visually distinguish hemp from marijuana. They say they would have to do a chemical analysis on any suspected marijuana plant and that would create a backlog in their system. Comer disagrees.
By Beverly Fortune, herald-leader.com
For advocates of reviving industrial hemp production in Kentucky, the state's past as a leading hemp producer shows the crop's potential.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul are among those pushing to revive industrial hemp in the state.
It's ironic, Comer said in a recent interview, that until the Civil War, Kentucky led the nation in industrial hemp production.
The earliest settlers westward brought hemp seed in their baggage, James F. Hopkins points out in A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky. During the early 1800s, Kentucky hemp fibers were in demand for rope, sailcloth and rough fabrics used to wrap bales of cotton and make pants that were called Kentucky jeans.
Lexington was at the center of that production.
In 1838, there were 18 rope and bagging factories in Lexington that employed 1,000 workers, according to research by Lowell H. Harrison and James C. Klotter.
Lexington's John Wesley Hunt, the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies, made his fortune growing hemp and manufacturing the fibers into rope, said Jamie Millard, former president of the Lexington History Museum.
One of Hunt's factories was in downtown Lexington near North Broadway and West Third Street, Millard said.