Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Category: Hemp Legalization

2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference: Hemp Thriving In America Despite Legal Barriers

The 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference revealed a thriving industry that’s growing rapidly and passionate about the future of hemp. From discussions of hemp’s legal status to sampling CBD popcorn, we share our highlights of HIACON 2018.

The 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference revealed a thriving industry that’s growing rapidly and passionate about the future of hemp.

Ministry of Hemp just returned from the Los Angeles Airport Hilton, where “HIACON 2018” took place from November 2 through 5. Hemp will be a billion dollar industry soon, even though this plant still exists in a legal gray area in the United States. Industry leaders and newcomers alike gathered at the conference to share their newest ideas, and get a better understanding of hemp’s future as those laws shift.

A crowd gathered in one of the ballrooms at the Hemp Industries Association Conference. Hundreds gathered at the Los Angeles Hilton for the 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference, where they discussed the future and potential of hemp in America.

Hundreds gathered at the Los Angeles Hilton for the 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference, where they discussed the future and potential of hemp in America. (Ministry of Hemp / Kit O’Connell)

In addition, a two day exposition showcased hemp and CBD products ranging from established brands and freshly launched innovators. The expo was open to the public for one day, and numerous LA residents and tourists alike stopped by to see the offerings.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Hemp Industries Association, a sign that they’ve cemented their leadership role in the industry. A packed schedule of workshops and panels brought the highs and lows of hemp to life for the audience. Here are some favorites from our visit to HIACON 2018.

HIACON 2018 LOOKS AT THE FUTURE OF HEMP FARMING IN AMERICA

Of course, one of the biggest topics of discussion at the conference was hemp’s legal status.

After decades of prohibition, hemp was partially legalized in the 2014 Farm Bill which allowed for state-based hemp research programs. U.S. farmers grew over 25,000 acres of hemp last year, but there have still been legal challenges and numerous barriers to the industry’s growth, mostly at the federal level. An effort led by Sen. Mitch McConnell resulted in a historic amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill which would make dramatic changes to U.S. hemp laws by officially taking it out of the purview of the Drug Enforcement Administration and into that of the Department of Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration.

Unfortunately, political upheaval in Congress, and politicians’ focus on midterm elections, left the Farm Bill’s future somewhat uncertain. Most of the conflict is not about hemp, but rather other controversial provisions in the bill which cover issues like food stamps. In one of many well-attended legal discussions, Jonathan Miller of U.S. Hemp Roundtable joined representatives of Hoban Law Group, who are some of the country’s top cannabis & hemp lawyers. Miller speculated that the midterm elections could be good for hemp.

2018 HEMP INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE: LEGAL CONSEQUENCES OF FARM BILL, CANNABIS PODCASTS & MORE

A newly Democratic U.S. House of Representatives could also be the best chance for changing the hemp legalization amendment’s most controversial provision. The Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill contains a clause that bans anyone with a felony drug conviction from growing hemp. Currently, the House version of the Farm Bill doesn’t contain any hemp legalization language at all, opening a window where some fixes could be introduced.

Later, hemp lawyer & lobbyist Courtney Moran explained how the Farm Bill would change 6 different federal statutes and change the policies of multiple government agencies. She also suggested some alternatives to the drug felony provision of the current version of the Farm Bill:

While any felony ban seems regrettable to us, Moran suggested what could be temporary solutions to allow some people to remain in the hemp industry. These include changing the ban to exempt anyone whose felony is more than 10 years old.

Dr. Karyemaitre Aliffe, a biochemist and cannabis expert that works with Charlotte’s Web, gave another great presentation. Dr. Aliffe discussed the similarities between how cannabinoids like CBD work on the brain with the action of everyday pharmaceuticals like Tylenol:

Annie Rouse of Anavii Market introduced us to Harry Anslinger, the first drug czar, the subject of her fascinating “Anslinger” podcast. The second season is about to launch!

We also loved hearing an update from Kris Kimel of Space Tango about their successful effort to send hemp into space.

There were too many other great panels to mention them all, but it’s safe to say everyone came away from HIACON 2018 more informed than they arrived.

HIACON 2018: FROM CBD POPCORN TO HEMP FASHION

We loved seeing the innovation from new CBD brands at the 2018 Hemp Industries Association Conference. We got to meet Brett Levy from Holsticorn, inventor of CBD-infused popcorn:

Kazmira let us sample their delicious CBD vapes:

And all weekend, people were sipping delicious CBD seltzer from Queen City Hemp, with 5 mg of CBD in each can.

Established hemp brands also brought their best to HIACON 2018. We browsed the latest hemp fashions from Vital Hemp:

And basked in the natural vibes of the Charlotte’s Web booth, complete with a fake campfire:

We also enjoyed a sneak preview of Lazarus Naturals beautiful new CBD tincture labels, which should help CBD consumers make more informed decisions about dosing.

And of course, no hemp expo would be complete without Dr. Bronner:

There’s so much happening in hemp that it can’t be contained in any one article, or any one event. More than anything, we saw a hemp industry full of people that are passionate about hemp, and determined to help hemp spread across the planet.

Special thanks to Beowulf Jones for covering HIACON 2018 with us and contributing to this article.

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New State Hemp Programs: Growing Hemp In Wisconsin, Vermont, Oregon & Nevada

Thanks to new state hemp programs, more of this miraculous crop is growing in the USA than ever. In this article we discuss hemp programs in Wisconsin, Vermont, Oregon, and Nevada. We also list the market price for hemp in each state.

Thanks to new state hemp programs, more of this miraculous crop is growing in the USA than ever.

Have you ever dreamt of starting over? Packing your belongings and heading to a place where you can spend your days working the land, instead of working behind a desk? Thanks to the rapid expansion of state hemp programs in the U.S., more and more people can be a part of this profitable green future and help create a more sustainable way of life at the same time.

With so much happening in American hemp, we thought this was a perfect time to look at some new state hemp programs, and see what is and isn’t working in each state. In this article, we discuss hemp programs in Wisconsin, Vermont, Oregon, and Nevada. We also list the market price for hemp in each state, which we sourced from a Hemp Industry Daily report.

But first, we wanted to share a brief history of modern hemp growing.

HOW HEMP GROWING RETURNED TO THE USA

It all started in 1996, when California became the first state to legalize medicinal marijuana. They were the pioneers. California remained ahead of its time until 2012 when another rogue state stepped in. In this case, Colorado legalized cannabis for recreational use. These two states created a revolution in the cannabis world!

Hemp legalization timeline: From California to Vermont, Nevada, Oregon and Wisconsin.

Hemp legalization timeline: From California to Vermont, Oregon, Wisconsin and Nevada.

Without California and Colorado leading the way, the Agricultural Act of 2014 aka, the 2014 Farm Bill may have never been introduced. This bill re-legalized hemp growing in the U.S. under state “research” programs. Without this change, the public may have never learned about the life changing benefits of CBD. CBD has had a huge impact it’s had on the hemp market; basically, setting it on fire!

The 2014 Farm Bill left a great deal of leeway to each state to set the parameters for their hemp growing programs. Some state hemp programs only allow academic research while the most successful allow for widespread growing and hemp sales. As with any market that experiences the same growth hemp has, there is bound to be some bumps and bruises along the way. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of those pains, along with what it takes to get into the hemp business.

HEMP SALES HIT $820M UNDER STATE HEMP PROGRAMS

A recent report revealed that US hemp sales reached a record breaking $820 million in 2017. Product sales are estimated to reach a staggering $1.8 billion by 2020. And another report, published by Rolling Stone, suggested CBD sales could hit $22 billion by 2022, surpassing even legal psychoactive cannabis sales in the process.

The sad thing is, hemp’s multi-purpose use has been around since before colonial times. George Washington grew hemp and the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were penned on hemp paper. However, stigma from the war on drugs, and even government cover-ups, made us lose sight of hemp’s benefits for decades.

George Washington's hemp farm is growing again thanks to horticulturists at his Mount Vernon estate and the University of Virginia.

George Washington’s hemp farm is growing again thanks to horticulturists at his Mount Vernon estate and the University of Virginia.

Now hemp’s back in such a big way. Hemp is pouring money into the US economy, providing jobs and opportunity for people who want to put their farming skills to the test. It’s also helping thousands of suffering people suffering experience the benefits of CBD.

There are currently 19 states that allow growing and cultivating hemp, producing a total of 25,713 acres in 2017 according to Vote Hemp’s crop report. That’s just the beginning, as hemp could soon expand in a big way. An amendment to the 2018 farm bill would legalize hemp nationwide by putting it under the control of the Department of Agriculture.

WISCONSIN HEMP PROGRAM IS NEW BUT GROWING FAST

Legalized in 2017, Wisconsin is being hailed as one of the fastest growing states for hemp cultivation.

In order to grow and cultivate hemp legally, it must be grown under Wisconsin’s industrial hemp pilot program.  As part of this state hemp program, crops can only contain 0.3 percent or less THC (tetra hydro cannabidiol) and growers and producers must submit a variety of requested reports to the Washington Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to show compliance. In addition, required records must be kept for three years. These records document a variety of information such as product sources and chain of custody forms. Growers must also allow state officials access to the property to record property transfers.

Since becoming legal, there have been 320 hemp licenses issued. Of those 320, 180 were licenses to grow and 75 were licensed to process the industrial hemp. Registration fees are $350 and annual application fees range from $150-$1,000 depending on the size of the field.

Challenges of growing hemp in Wisconsin

While Wisconsin’s hemp program continues to thrive, there is a unique growing pain that’s getting attention: privacy.

Under Wisconsin’s hemp law, hemp processors contact information is kept private, making it tough for farmers to sell their hemp crops. In an article published by The Cap Times, Rob Richard of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau explained the need for secrecy.

He said, “we were concerned growers would be harassed by people who didn’t understand hemp.”

State hemp programs vary widely: some, like Vermont are simple while growers in Wisconsin face challenging complications. Hemp plants grow tall and leafy in a densely packed field.

State hemp programs vary widely: some, like Vermont are simple while growers in Wisconsin face challenging complications.

To remedy this problem, Richard is working with Larry Konopacki, a former legislative counsel attorney, to create the Wisconsin Hemp Alliance program. The Alliance’s mission is to bring processors, retailers, and consumers together with farmers. The organization is just getting underway, so there’s not much else to report at this time.

Hemp market price in Wisconsin

Due to Wisconsin’s infancy growing and cultivating hemp, market prices were not available.

VERMONT HEMP LICENSES INCREASED 3000 PERCENT SINCE 2013

Legalized in 2013, Vermont has a uniquely progressive state hemp program (as we recently reported).

Of all the states approved to grow hemp, Vermont is definitely among the most lenient. As with all industrial hemp grown in the U.S. approved states, the THC level cannot be more than 0.3 percent. Other than this, farmers and processors are pretty much left alone by the government.

This may partly explain why industrial hemp is booming in Vermont. In the first year, only 8 applicants applied for a hemp license. In 2018, that number increased to 316, an increase of over 3000 percent! Almost 2,000 acres of hemp are expected to grow in the Green Mountain State in 2018. Those wishing to grow or cultivate hemp are only required to pay an annual application fee of $25. This covers farmers wishing to grow hemp for any use. That’s really about it!

One reason for this freedom is that Vermont legalized hemp cultivation a year before Congress passed the 2014 Farm Bill which allowed limited state hemp programs.

According to Hemp Industry Daily, farmers in Vermont “do not need to participate in a pilot project, research scheme with a university or state agriculture authority” to grow hemp. So while Vermont is potentially out of compliance with federal hemp rules, famers get to enjoy the state’s hands-off approach and they get access to viable hemp seeds other states do not. And because long-established hemp seed producers in Canada and Europe are close in latitude to Vermont, those seeds will have higher germination rates than if those same seeds were planted further south.

A densely packed hemp field at Luce Farm. Vermont's hemp laws are some of the most progressive in the nation.

A densely packed hemp field at Luce Farm. Vermont’s hemp laws are some of the most progressive in the nation. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

Challenges of growing hemp in Vermont

As of July 1, 2018 Vermont made it legal to buy and sell hemp for those registered with the Agency of Agriculture. The program is expected to ease concerns about federal agencies interference with growers, as long as the growers comply with the states program. This program will set up a lab certification standard under a quality control program. It also allows Vermont farmers to purchase hemp seeds from out-of-state seed suppliers.

It’s important to note however that it’s not all hemp rainbows and ponies in Vermont. Hemp farmers and the like are dealing with a number of growing pains. For one, the state is about to face increased competition from their larger neighbors, New York and Canada. And if Vermont’s legislature and the governor decide to legalize recreational marijuana, that could create a whole new set of guidelines to deal with. Finally, as with any state, Vermont hemp growers need a clear hemp growing and sales plan if they wish to be profitable.

Hemp market price in Vermont

  • $100 per pound of dried flowers/buds for CBD extraction
  • $0.80-$1.20 per pound for edible seeds used in food products or pressed for seed oil.
  • $.10 per pound for stalks used for their fiber

‘HEMP IS THE NEW GOLD RUSH’ IN OREGON

Oregon authorized hemp cultivation in 2009, but the state’s Department of Agriculture didn’t license the first hemp growers until 2015.

Since that time, the Oregon hemp market (thanks to CBD) has exploded. In its purified distilled form, CBD oil can fetch thousands of dollars per kilo. Farmers here can make more than 100k an acre growing hemp! In the first year (2015) that Oregon offered hemp licenses only 12 were issued. Last year (2017) hemp licenses across the board increase dramatically. Oregon issued:

  • 233 hemp growers licenses
  • 170 licensed hemp processors, called “handlers”
  • 119 licensed producers of viable hemp seeds

Over 3,500 land acres were licensed for cultivation!

To sum the up the feeling in Oregon, farmer Jerrad said it best in Insurance Journal: “Word on the street is everybody thinks hemp is the new gold rush!”

Nevada's state hemp program is new but successful, with one advocate calling hemp a "new gold rush" for the state. A hemp field grows in tall, dense bamboo-like clusters.

Nevada’s state hemp program is new but successful, with one advocate calling hemp a “new gold rush” for the state.

Hemp entrepreneurs face some heavy startup fees in Oregon. First off, they must pay a separate license for growing and processing. Each license is $1,300. Plus there is a $120 fee for seed production registration.

Oregon doesn’t require background checks for growers or producers. However, the state exhaustively tests all hemp. The law requires growers and producers to use only laboratories approved by the state government. This past October, some new testing requirements were implemented that will end up costing Oregon upward of $50,000, which will most likely be passed down to the farmers.

Challenges of growing hemp in Oregon

An oversupply of marijuana has driven Oregon’s marijuana prices to rock bottom, which has resulted in pot farmers to turn to industrial hemp.

As Oregon issues more hemp licenses, hemp prices will most likely decrease, driving down the market. In addition, earlier this year, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law SB1015. This law allows industrial hemp to enter the recreational cannabis supply line if the hemp farmers are certified by the OLCC to do so.  Recreational marijuana processors are also able to apply for a special “endorsement” that will allow them to accept hemp and hemp products.

The recreational processors then make the hemp, which must be 0.5 percent THC or less, into their concentrate and extract products. But with some marijuana farmers already searching for drastic means to rid themselves of inventory surplus, even destroying their own product, bringing industrial hemp in cannot be a good thing. Doing so will only drive more and more farmers to turn to cultivating industrial hemp, which will eventually lead to a surplus there. Now, should CBD become federally legal, this might not be a challenge, it may be an opportunity.

Hemp parket price in Oregon

  • $100 or more per pound of dried flowers or buds for CBD extraction
  • Less than $.50 for edible seed
  • $0 for stalks used for fiber because the Oregon market is too limited

HEMP IS ‘TAKING OFF LIKE A WEED’ IN NEVADA

Like Wisconsin, hemp in Nevada is still in its infancy stages. Legalized in 2017, hemp farming in Nevada is spreading fast.

“It’s taking off like a weed” said Tick Segerblom in an article by the The Nevada Independent.

Mr. Segerblom, who as a state senator sponsored the bills that were a framework for Nevada’s hemp program went on to say, “there’s an incredible amount of interest in it.”

There were originally 11 growers planting 319 acres in 2016 to 32 growers planning to plant 718 acres in 2018.

One official noted there's "an incredible amount of interest" in Nevada's state hemp program. A hemp field of young hemp plants growing tall in a dense cluster.

One official noted there’s “an incredible amount of interest” in Nevada’s state hemp program.

Nevada requires a separate license for growers, producers, and handlers. The grower license requires a $500 application fee plus $5.00 per acre/.33 per sq. for indoor grows plus and all fees incurred by the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Handlers pay a $1000 application fee plus fees incurred by the NDA. Producers pay a $100 application fee, NDA fees and the same acreage and square foot fees as growers. By law, the NDA must approve all seed purchases. They do allow for non-NDA certified seeds on five planted acres or less.

Challenges of growing hemp in Nevada

The biggest challenge for the Nevada hemp industry has to do with the federal regulations against hemp. Most of the hemp in Nevada is slated for human consumption, including CBD. Other uses for hemp, such as textiles, ropes, and paper are virtually ignored because to process these items takes big equipment and big dollars. Investors aren’t willing to invest until hemp is federally legal.

Hemp market price in Nevada

  • $200 or more per pound for flower, depending on CBD content and quality.
  • $10 per pound for food-grade seeds
  • $45 per gallon for seed oil
  • $200 per ton of baled fiber

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF STATE HEMP PROGRAMS?

At first glance it might seem as if legalizing industrial hemp across the board would be the best and only real solution to everything.

Whether it’s lack of industry expansion Nevada faces, the privacy rules Wisconsin has in place, or the potential market implosion in Oregon, legalized hemp would definitely have a positive impact to many of the challenges outlined.

The US Senate added an amendment to the 2018 Farm bill that could fully legalize hemp, but a ban on people with drug felonies could cause complications for growers already operating under state hemp programs. A US Senate hearing chamber in the US Capitol building.

The US Senate added an amendment to the 2018 Farm bill that could fully legalize hemp, but a ban on people with drug felonies could cause complications for growers already operating under state hemp programs.

However, legalized hemp will most likely present a whole new set of challenges anyway. For example, how should states handle intrastate commerce? Will there be a mandate on hemp prices? As of this article, Nevada’s hemp prices are through the roof at $200 or more for dried flowers, where Vermont is selling at $100.00 for the same.

Additionally, while the 2018 Farm Bill could soon legalize hemp, the current amendment would also ban felony drug convicts from growing hemp. No other agricultural crop faces similar restrictions, and both farmers and hemp advocates have objected to the provision.

For now, we can delight in the fact that hemp is back and back in a huge way. Legal hemp created a new economy, revealed awe-inspiring medical potential, and makes use of otherwise unused land.

Let’s all hope the federal government does the right thing and legalizes industrial hemp for every possible use imaginable, and for everyone to grow!

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Green Mountain State: ‘Lenient’ Vermont Hemp Laws Could Fuel New Hemp Boom

Vermont hemp laws make it simple to grow hemp, and business is booming. As one grower told us, “Vermont is a very lenient state to grow hemp in. It’s hemp program is great.”

Vermont’s hemp laws make it simple to grow hemp, and business is booming.

Last month, we visited Luce Farm where we learned about growing hemp in Vermont. Luce Farm’s owner, Joe Pimentel, told us, “Vermont is a very lenient state to grow hemp in. It’s hemp program is great.”

This lead us to want to learn more about Vermont’s hemp program and what makes it so easy for new farmers to join. We did some research and we’ve collected all the information you’ll need to know why Vermont is a great place to grow hemp.

VERMONT HEMP LAWS AMONG THE NATION’S MOST PROGRESSIVE

Since hemp is so closely tied with marijuana, there are some states which just aren’t ready to start harvesting. Take Texas for example. Generally known for its highly conservative politics, it has yet to sign in on the 2014 Farm Bill which made it legal for states to decide if they want to grow hemp or not. The simple reason is the people and politicians of the area are resistant to the idea that hemp can be beneficial for agriculture and the economy.

A densely packed hemp field at Luce Farm. Vermont’s hemp laws are some of the most progressive in the nation. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

Luckily, the proposed 2018 Farm Bill could legalize the crop on a federal level which would, inevitably, change the entire nation’s opinion on hemp. States like Vermont, and popular hemp growers like Colorado and Kentucky, have played a big role in this change in attitudes.

Doug Fine, a New Mexico hemp expert, told local reporters from myChamplainValley.com, “The Vermont law simply states, farmers and entrepreneurs in Vermont have access any hemp genetic that meet the federal definition of hemp.”

Vermont only charges $25.00 in annual registration fees to each grower. Fine called this kind of perspective on hemp forward thinking.

Furthermore, registration is very open to new farmers. Authorized by the Vermont Legislature in 2013, there are no limitations in terms of:

  • Amount of acreage
  • Residency requirements
  • How many registrations are available to the public

With this kind of policy, it’s no surprise that hemp’s popularity is expanding rapidly in Vermont. While about 575 acres of hemp were harvested in 2017, agriculture officials expect about 2,000 acres of hemp are being grown in Vermont this year.

In a report for Marijuana Business Daily, Kristen Nichols wrote, “Vermont has the nation’s loosest regulations and latitude that makes it an easy fit for hemp cultivators.”

She continued,  “Vermont hemp growers do not have to participate in a pilot project or a research collaboration with a University or state agriculture authorities — conditions laid out in the 2014 Farm Bill authorizing limited hemp production.”

On July 1st 2018, recreational cannabis became legal in the state of Vermont and, with that, came a new pilot program making it legal to buy and sell hemp under registration of the Agency of Agriculture. This means, as long as they follow state laws, growers and distributors won’t have to worry much about Federal Agencies cracking down.

WHAT AMERICA CAN LEARN FROM VERMONT HEMP LAWS

The most obvious — profit. Politicians and farmers alike see that hemp can be extremely lucrative for Vermont. Competition is already sprawling: neighboring New York state has invested more money into its hemp production. Even so, there’s still more money being made per pound in Vermont than other progressive states.

A massive, tall hemp field with the Vermont mountains behind it. Luce Farm, pictured here, is helping to create a growing hemp boom in the Green Mountain State thanks to Vermont's hemp laws.

Luce Farm, pictured here, is helping to create a growing hemp boom in the Green Mountain State thanks to Vermont’s hemp laws. (Photo: Ministry of Hemp / Paul James)

To give you an idea, the Marijuana Business Daily reports:

  • In Vermont, growers make about $100 or more per pound of dried flower/bud, around $1 per pound of seed, and 10 cents per pound of stalk.
  • In Colorado, where competition is stronger, growers make about $28 per pound of dried flower/bud, but up to $9 per pound of seed.
  • The best place to grow (financially speaking) is currently Nevada. Growers there make up to $200 per pound of flower, $10 per pound of seed, and 10 cents a stalk.

The above numbers only account for those who grow hemp and immediately sell the plant as is. Many farmers produce hemp products directly from their crops, which is oftenmuch more profitable.

VERMONT LOOKS LIKE THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN HEMP

People who grow their own hemp and create their own products see much more profit off their cultivation. Furthermore, in terms of Vermont, the new pilot program is guaranteed to be more lenient in this regard. Growers can create hemp products without much strict federal regulation.

To any hemp farmer looking to make the most out of the hemp industry, Vermont looks to be the place. Vermont’s tolerant laws and support of growers creating their own merchandise will attract more hemp enthusiasts.

For those interested, here’s a link to Vermont’s Hemp Registration form.

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US Hemp Sales Reach Record-Breaking $820M In 2017

U.S. hemp sales reached record breaking levels last year, thanks to the continued spread of legalization and the growing popularity of CBD oil. Hemp Business Journal reported sales of hemp products hit $820 million.

U.S. hemp sales reached record breaking levels last year, thanks to the continued spread of legalization and the growing popularity of CBD oil.

Hemp Business Journal recently released their 2017 hemp industry analysis, reporting sales of hemp products hit $820 million. Despite ongoing legal and regulatory complications, the industry grew a total of 16 percent last year.

And that number is expected to continue rising. With more and more states seeing the value in hemp, legalization is spreading like wildfire.

CBD PRODUCTS LEADING THE WAY IN US HEMP SALES IN 2017

US hemp sales reached $820 million in 2017, with CBD oil and personal care products generating the most sales. (Source: Hemp Business Journal)

US hemp sales reached $820 million in 2017, with CBD oil and personal care products generating the most sales. (Source: Hemp Business Journal)

Hemp Business Journal laid out a market breakdown of where hemp products did their best. Turns out, CBD and personal care products dominated the business.

Responsible for 23 percent of U.S. hemp sales, CBD products banked in at $190 million last year. Personal care items come in at 22 percent, generating around $181 million.

Here are other major uses for hemp and the total value of those sales:

  • Industrial applications – $144 million
  • Food – $137 million
  • Consumer textiles – $105 million
  • Supplements – $45 million
  • Other consumer products – $16 million

As mentioned, U.S. hemp sales are expected to rise as laws and regulations around hemp continue to ease.

With Congress increasingly supportive of total federal legalization of industrial hemp, hemp experts are predicting sales can more nearly triple within the next 5 years.

US HEMP SALES COULD APPROACH $2 BILLION BY 2022

Though it’s only an estimate, Hemp Business Journal expects U.S. hemp sales to reach $1 billion in 2019, and climb as high as $1.9 billion by 2022.

This is due to two important factors: Hemp is easier to grow than other resources, such as cotton or corn. With it’s over 25,000 known uses, businesses see large potential in hemp as a resource.

Still, we have a long way to go until these estimations become a reality. In 2017, over half of the hemp industry was based in Colorado alone. The biggest barrier: not every state is on board with hemp legalization.

Since hemp is still only partially legal, the amount of production allowed varies from state to state. Therefore, we aren’t seeing as big of a hemp boom as we could because farmers and vendors still face regulatory hurdles from growing their crops to bringing products to market.

An overhead shot of a growing hemp field. US hemp sales reached record heights in 2017.

As of this time, experts expect the hemp industry to grow in much of the southern states (namely, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee) as well as a great area of the Midwest (particularly, Minnesota and North Dakota).

However, with more laws being put into place, such as the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp holds the potential to grow even beyond the estimates mentioned here.

LEGAL COMPLICATIONS LIMIT POTENTIAL US HEMP SALES

Congress could be key to this industry’s success, thanks to a bill proposed on April 12th, 2018. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was introduced by Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and supported by Senator Ron Wyden as well as Senator Jeff Merkley.

Senators later added the act as an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill. If Congress passes the Farm Bill as expected, the Department of Agriculture will regulate hemp on the federal level. This would not only make hemp more widely available to farmers but to consumers as well. Almost inevitably, full legalization would increase sales.

Still, complications will continue to persist under current plans for nationwide legalization. The current language of the amendment bans anyone with a prior drug felony from growing hemp. The U.S. does not regulate any other crops in this manner.

This law could put existing farmers such as Veronica Carpio at risk. Carpio is an early contributor to the hemp industry and the president of Grow Hemp Colorado, but she also holds a past felony cannabis conviction. With this new bill, there’s potential she’ll be kicked out of the industry, in spite of all she’s already done. Future hemp entrepreneurs could also be locked out by their criminal record. However, some hemp industry experts hope the law could be reformed after passage.

We can only guess at how high hemp sales could get. Though hemp farming is growing, companies simply don’t have enough of the resource to offer a full range of commercial products. Imagine if hemp was as widely available as cotton. Who knows how many hemp products we’d see on the market?

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Hemp Legalization Amendment Bans People With Drug Convictions From Hemp Industry

A hemp legalization amendment in the 2018 Farm Bill prevents anyone with a felony drug conviction from growing hemp. Some existing hemp entrepreneurs could even find themselves shut out of an industry they helped to create.

A hemp legalization amendment in the 2018 Farm Bill prevents anyone with a felony drug conviction from growing hemp.

Some existing hemp entrepreneurs could even find themselves shut out.

“I have a very successful business, I’ve been in this from the get go,” said Veronica Carpio, an experienced hemp producer and president of Grow Hemp Colorado, at a hemp conference in New York last month.

Despite her undeniable contributions to the industry, a past felony cannabis conviction endangers her continued involvement. “If this bill passes, I’m out.”

At issue is part of the Senate version of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill, which would legalize industrial hemp growing across the country. Sen. Mitch McConnell spearheaded the current effort to legalize industrial hemp and his “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” soon picked up bipartisan sponsorship. However, the hemp legalization amendment, unlike the original bill, bans anyone convicted of a drug-related felony from involvement in hemp growing and potentially other aspects of the industry.

FELONY BAN DIVIDES HEMP ADVOCATES OVER LEGALIZATION AMENDMENT

No other crop grown in the U.S. faces these kinds of restrictions. While most hemp advocates celebrated McConnell’s initial efforts to legalize hemp, they’re much more divided over this new clause. Multiple hemp experts we spoke with speculated that the Senate changed the language to appease conservative elements of the legislature and the Department of Justice.

The House version of the bill does not include hemp legalization. Legislators must now debate this and other differences in a conference committee before the Farm Bill passes to the President’s desk. Hemp supporters like Rick Trojan, vice president of the Hemp Industries Association, worry that even if it passes the amendment will create an unequal and unfair hemp industry.

“Excluding a whole class of people is not what I’m about,” Trojan said. “And not what I think the hemp industry is about.”

HEMP LEGALIZATION AMENDMENT COULD SHUT OUT HEMP ENTREPRENEURS

The United States partially re-legalized hemp through an amendment to the 2014 version of the Farm Bill. Under this previous hemp legalization amendment, states were free to create hemp research programs that included market research (sales of hemp products like CBD). Since then growers in Colorado, Carpio’s home base, made the state into the country’s top hemp producer.

The 2018 legalization amendment places hemp under the control of the Department of Agriculture. The department would approve each state or Native American tribe’s growing program. But the following clause would shut out thousands of people like Carpio from being part of these licensed programs:

FELONY.—Any person convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance under State or Federal law shall be ineligible—

(i) to participate in the program established under this section; and

(ii) to produce hemp under any regulations or guidelines issued under section 297D(a).

Hemp advocates worry that the hemp legalization amendment would exclude some of society’s most vulnerable people from the new hemp industry.

An empty prison hallway. Advocates worry that the hemp legalization amendment in the 2018 Farm Bill would exclude some of society’s most vulnerable people.

The full scope of the effects of this clause are unclear. According to Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, the amendment bans anyone with a felony drug conviction from hemp growing. He could not guarantee that it won’t interfere with other parts of the industry.

“We were disappointed to see that got added to the language,” Steenstra said. “That’s not something we were happy about.”

RACISM IN HEMP LEGALIZATION AMENDMENT?

“Just because you had a conviction for a drug-related felony doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be in the industry,” said Steenstra.

Advocates argue that cannabis is harmless and extremely beneficial. If the U.S. is in the process of legalizing hemp, why should past convictions prevent you from participating in the field? In fact, such people likely have skills in growing and production the hemp industry sorely needs.

“That is a way of intentionally slowing the growth of an industry,” Trojan suggested.

Trojan and Carpio were unflinching in their condemnation of the clause in the hemp legalization amendment, suggesting it perpetuates racist aspects of the war on drugs. Although all races use and sell drugs and mind-altering substances at about the same rate, drug convictions disproportionately affect people of color.

“We denounce racism and discrimination in the cannabis (both hemp and marijuana) industries and this new language needs to be challenged and removed,” Carpio wrote in a press release.

Opponents of the war on drugs are working to legalize cannabis and other substances while concurrently seeking to change laws to enable people with drug convictions to expunge their criminal records. Carpio said the felony ban in the hemp legalization amendment represents a significant setback to those efforts by excluding thousands of already vulnerable people from the earning potential of hemp. Even though most states are in the process of legalizing cannabis, most of the people excluded from the hemp industry are likely to be those with cannabis-related convictions. Statistics show police arrest more people for cannabis use than for all violent crimes combined.

CAN THE HEMP LEGALIZATION AMENDMENT BE CHANGED IN TIME?

Steenstra suggested it would be tough to change the hemp legalization amendment. He expects hemp legalization to pass in its current form.

“At this point, what are we going to do?” Steenstra asked, though he pledged to look for opportunities to change the amendment.

Joy Beckerman, president of the Hemp Industries Association, concurred.

“There is no such thing as legislation that doesn’t have concerns or flaws, unfortunately,” said Beckerman.

She appeared at the same New York hemp conference where Carpio spoke. “I would love to be able to go from prohibition to utopia but sadly that is just not the way things work.”

Trojan, on the other hand, strongly encouraged hemp supporters to keep fighting.

“Everyone needs to contact their legislator,” he said said. “Continue to push for equal access to this economic boon.”

We will continue to closely follow this issue at Ministry of Hemp.

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2018 Farm Bill Could Fully Legalize Industrial Hemp In USA

An amendment to the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill would fully legalize industrial hemp in the United States. If included in the final version, hemp would be out of reach of the DEA and treated like any other crop by the states and Native American tribes.

Update JULY 11, 2018: The current language of the hemp amendment also bans people with felony drug convictions from participating in the hemp industry.

An amendment to the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill would fully legalize industrial hemp in the United States.

“This is a big day for hemp,” said Brian Furnish, a hemp grower from Kentucky and president of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.

The amendment legalizing hemp began as a bill proposed by Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader in the Senate. The “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” fully legalizes industrial hemp and all products made from it including CBD oil. Under the new law, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other government agencies would no longer be able to interfere with hemp.

The 2018 Farm Bill could mark a new beginning for hemp growing in the U.S. if the a legalization amendment makes its way into the final version.

A hemp farmer surveys his crop at sunrise. The 2018 Farm Bill could mark a new beginning for hemp growing in the U.S. if the a legalization amendment makes its way into the final version.

Due to political uncertainty over other parts of the massive Farm Bill, and the lack of hemp related language in the House version of the bill, there are still hurdles ahead before legalization.

2014 vs. 2018: NEW FARM BILL BUILDS ON PARTIAL LEGALIZATION

The United States made industrial hemp illegal for decades until an amendment to the 2014 version of the Farm Bill allowed growing by state-run hemp research programs.

These state-based programs vary, with some allowing only university research and others allowing a limited number of everyday farmers. The U.S. grew about 25,000 acres of hemp under these state programs, mostly in more permissive states like Colorado and Kentucky. However, CBD vendors have faced some legal threats at both the state and federal level. Other government agencies, like the Bureau of Reclamation, have also interfered with growers at times.

HOW THE 2018 FARM BILL WOULD LEGALIZE HEMP

McConnell’s amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill would officially remove hemp from the DEA’s list of controlled substances, ending debate over the legal status of the plant.

All products made from hemp, including CBD oil, would be explicitly legalized as well, so long as they contain less than .3 percent THC (the substance which makes people “feel high” in psychoactive cannabis). State agriculture departments, along with Native American tribes, would be free to regulate hemp just as they do any other crop like corn or carrots.

BIPARTISAN SUPPORT FOR HEMP BUT CONFLICT OVER 2018 FARM BILL

In a historic moment for hemp legalization, the Senate passed the 2018 Farm Bill with the hemp amendment included. Members of both parties support hemp in an unusual display of bipartisan agreement. However, since the House version of the Farm Bill does not include the same amendment, hemp’s future is still up in the air.

Before it can appear before the president for his signature, the House and Senate must form a “Conference Committee” to iron out differences between the two versions of the 2018 Farm Bill. Conferees, appointed from both parties, will meet to debate the final version. Hemp advocates hope that, with McConnell’s enthusiastic support, conferees are likely to back hemp.

Still, “there’s always political conflict in Washington,” Furnish warned.

The Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill includes a historic amendment to legalize industrial hemp.

A shot of the U.S. Capitol seen at dusk. The Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill includes a historic amendment to legalize industrial hemp.

A disagreement over Food Stamps is one possible source of conflict. The House version of the bill includes controversial changes that would reduce the number of people eligible for the program. Disagreement over provisions like these could also put hemp legalization at risk.

Though the hemp industry overall enthusiastically supports the hemp amendment, there are a few dissenting voices. Veronica Carpio, of Grow Hemp Colorado, objects to hemp-only legalization bills which allows some growers to profit off the cannabis plant while growers and users of psychoactive cannabis remain in prison.

“No one goes to prison for hemp charges, but people go to prison and lives are still ruined over marijuana,” she told us, echoing comments she made around a previous, failed hemp legalization bill.

HEMP LEGALIZATION IS CLOSER THAN EVER TO REALITY

The 2018 farm bill is an omnibus piece of legislation which ensures continued funding for numerous agricultural and social programs. Pres. Donald Trump is almost certain to sign it when it finally reaches his desk.

While it’s still possible hemp could become legal through other methods, such as a stand-alone bill, Furnish hopes hemp supporters will speak up in favor of the plant.

“Contact your representatives and tell them to support McConnell’s hemp language,” he said.

One easy way to do so is to complete this form on the U.S. Hemp Roundtable website.

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Mitch McConnell Wants To Legalize Hemp With New Farming Bill

Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, wants to fully legalize hemp. Though the text of McConnell’s bill is not yet available, the goal is to remove agricultural hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, preventing government agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with hemp growers or vendors of hemp products like CBD oil.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, one of America’s most powerful politicians, wants to fully legalize hemp.

McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, announced the proposed hemp legalization legislation at a press conference on Monday, March 26.

“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future.” – Senator Mitch McConnell

Though the text of the bill is not yet available, the goal is to remove agricultural hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, preventing government agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with hemp growers or vendors of hemp products like CBD oil. The “Hemp Farming Act of 2018,” which is expected to be introduced in early April, could complete the process of re-legalizing hemp which began under the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Basically, it tells everyone in the world that the U.S. is open for business with hemp,” said Brian Furnish, a hemp grower from Kentucky and president of theUS Hemp Roundtable.

Mitch McConnell hemp bill would remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act

A U.S. Senate Committee meeting room. Sen. Mitch McConnell announced the “Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which would remove industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and make it an agricultural commodity.

Furnish said that hemp would be treated like any other “agricultural commodity” under this new law, with each state’s agriculture department able to regulate growers as they see fit.

Furnish and the Roundtable have made passing a bill like this the major focus of their political lobbying. He and many other hemp advocates hope that McConnell’s “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” will succeed where previous efforts have failed.

“I have been pushing for two years for this day,” Furnish told us on Monday.

NEW HEMP LEGISLATION NEEDED TO FREE HEMP FROM DEA INTERFERENCE

“The devil’s always in the details, right?” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp when we asked him about the announcement. “They haven’t released the language of the bill yet and, as I understand it, there’s still some conversations going on about little details.”

He’s hopeful though. “From everything I’ve heard, it sounds like it’s going to be a good bill.”

While it’s hard to judge the potential impact of legislation before it’s even introduced, the need for a legal change is clear. An amendment to the 2014 Farm Bill legalized hemp for research purposes, allowing each state to set the terms of that research program. Hemp advocates argue that the farm bill is broadly written enough to include market research, including sales of hemp products like CBD oil, the popular supplement used to alleviate symptoms of chronic pain, epilepsy, and a host of other conditions.

But government agencies like the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration have attacked the legality of CBD oil, primarily by arguing it remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. Despite the Farm Bill and legal recreational or medical programs in numerous states, the DEA argues that all forms of the cannabis plant remain illegal at the federal level. The CSA classifies cannabis and hemp as harmful drugs with no medical benefits or safe use, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. The result of the conflict has been lawsuits and sometimes police raids on vendors.

A hemp transplant ready to be planted. New legislation is needed to fully support the U.S. hemp industry. That’s where Sen. Mitch McConnell comes in.

Additionally, the 2014 Farm Bill is set to expire in 2019, and while it’s expected to be renewed sometime this year, it’s another sign that a permanent solution is needed.

That’s where Mitch McConnell and his Hemp Farming Act come in. According to Furnish, McConnell’s bill would completely remove hemp from the CSA. He said the bill is expected to include “hemp and all of hemp’s byproducts” including CBD oil, as long as all products and hemp crops remain under the 0.3 percent THC limit set under the Farm Bill.

MITCH MCCONNELL BELIEVES HEMP IS ‘AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR FUTURE’

Hemp is supported enthusiastically by lawmakers from both parties. Mitch McConnell’s announcement of the Hemp Farming Act is evidence that even top Republicans want to see hemp growing from coast to coast.

“Hemp has played a foundational role in Kentucky’s agricultural heritage, and I believe that it can be an important part of our future,” Senator McConnell said in a press release.

These changing attitudes are a sign of the success of the research programs launched by the Farm Bill, and Kentucky is one of the leaders in the country’s budding new hemp industry. The state harvested 3,100 acres of hemp in 2017, according to Vote Hemp’s data, but Furnish says that’s just the beginning.

“I think in Kentucky we can go from 5,000 production acres in 2017 to 100,000 by the end of the next 7 or 8 years,” he said.

Ministry of Hemp will continue to monitor this story as the full text of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s “Hemp Farming Act” is released.

 

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The Right & Wrong Way To Legalize Hemp In Kansas

It is hard to understand how Kansas, a land of beautiful prairies and the nation’s third highest number of agricultural acreage, is one of the last states to end prohibition of industrial hemp. But will farmers be shut out by the new legislation?

It is hard to understand how Kansas, a land of beautiful prairies and the nation’s third highest number of agricultural acreage, is one of the last states to end prohibition of industrial hemp.

Thirty-four states have now passed hemp legislation including New York state.

In fact, Governor Cuomo recently earmarked over $2.6 million for a hemp processing plant and seed certification program, and wants to make New York state a national leader in hemp production.

With China and Korea leading the world in hemp production, Russia now the world’s largest exporter of wheat and other nations increasing grain production, the U.S. is no longer the world’s only agricultural superpower. Hemp provides for over 50,000 products spanning across 10 different industries. My coalition, Kansans for Hemp, has conducted community forums across the state and continues to hear that farmers need the Kansas Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee to allow hemp legalization bill HB 2182 to have a hearing, dropping any proposed legislation that leaves farmers out. Research was already conducted at Kansas State University during the 1970s, now it is up to Kansas lawmakers to not “research out the farmers” as some lawmakers have proposed.

WILL FARMERS GROW HEMP IN KANSAS? A TALE OF TWO HEMP BILLS

Given the low prices for wheat, corn and soybeans, Kansas farmers desperately need a more profitable alternative. Because of low prices, farmers have to increase yields per acre to break even or make a small profit. Increased supplies of grain put downward pressure on prices, and we have a vicious economic cycle that farmers cannot escape — unless they have the economic freedom to diversify commodities and grow a more profitable crop.

Hemp Field In Summer

A dense field of green bamboo-like industrial hemp stalks grows tall in the summer sunshine. Industrial hemp can be harvested for thousands of uses.

The people of America’s Heartland know good public policy is made through input from many stakeholders, so when introducing a new commodity offering as much opportunity as hemp does it makes sense why the number of those involved increases. In 2017, two hemp bills were introduced and as with most revenue-generating issues, there are now multiple influences attempting to guide the outcome.

One hemp bill (HB 2209) was introduced which only allows universities the ability to cultivate hemp for research purposes, it never had a hearing. The second bill (HB 2182) is closely modeled after laws in Tennessee and Kentucky. It was passed out of committee and passed the House floor by a vote of 103-18. The house bill was then sent to the Senate Ag committee, however the Chairman (Sen. Kerschen) chose not to deal with it because of how late it was in the session. The state lobbyist and Kansans for Hemp were told there would be a hearing in 2018.

The first day of 2018 session, Chairman Kerschen instead introduced a Senate version of HB 2209, titled SB 263. To be clear, both SB 263/HB 2209 are limited, watered down legislation that is in fact not in compliance with the 2014 Farm Bill, Sec 7606, the landmark federal legislation which re-legalized hemp in the U.S. HB 2209 also cuts out farmers completely as it leaves out crucial details of any licensing administration processes, and excludes other entities like technical and community colleges from doing research.

A source told us that there has been a pledge of money from the representative who introduced the House version, to help with the research (which seems unethical). Chairman Kerschen is ignoring HB 2182, including the 103 votes from the House, and held a two-day hearing on SB 263 which again is not what we have continuously heard that Kansas communities want or need.

KANSAS LAWMAKERS MUST STUDY OTHER STATES’ HEMP LAWS

Kansas needs to look no further than across the western border into Colorado to see there is room for all when it comes to this rapidly expanding industry.

Hemp Harvest

A farmer harvests hemp with a tractor under a cloudy sky. Legal hemp in Kansas must allow for growing by everyday farmers, not just academic institutions.

However, contrary to what some organizations claim additional, exclusive research is not necessary under the 2014 Farm Bill. Pilot programs which are open to farmers (like HB 2182 establishes) are approved under a state’s department of agriculture, and do not require oversight from any other agency, including law enforcement.

By contrast, bills like SB 263 completely take farmers out of the equation which will not only yield inaccurate or non-comprehensive research conclusions, but distrust will come from farmers who will continue to not be allowed to gain crucial experience necessary to understand best methods for propagating, cultivating, and harvesting industrial hemp.

Lawmakers could also look to the restrictive hemp laws in Virginia for an instructive example of what not to do. As reported in January by Marijuana Business Daily, laws in that state make it impossible to profit from hemp growing, and as a result interest in the crop has languished, with just 100 acres grown in 2017.

“We’re way behind the ball,” Virginia farmer Graham Redfern complained to Marijuana Business Daily’s Kristen Nichols.

LEGAL HEMP IN KANSAS OFFERS HOPE FOR FARMERS

With downward trends in markets, our rural and frontier communities need support now more than ever. Hemp is a perfect opportunity where they are willing to collaborate with the state and other entities on something that is new and exciting.

Research and production must be happening simultaneously, because how we move forward as contributing leaders is through both innovation and practical application. Kansans are known for dreaming big, but we cannot allow our own fears or the stories we tell ourselves guide decisions that negatively impact our children and grandchildren’s futures.

In 1863, Kansas was the number one producer in the nation of bushels per acre of industrial hemp. Now is the time to be courageous and give this legacy crop back to Kansas farmers, and help contribute to the nation’s largest developing industry. On February 1, 2018, SB 263 passed out of committee with amendments to the full Senate. It has yet to be determined if farmers will be included in a Kansas industrial hemp program.

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Top Hemp News Of 2017: US Moving Toward Hemp Legalization Despite Some Setbacks

2017 was an exciting year for supporters of hemp. The stigma surrounding this plant has continued to decrease as more and more people discover hemp’s almost limitless uses. While hemp…

2017 was an exciting year for supporters of hemp.

The stigma surrounding this plant has continued to decrease as more and more people discover hemp’s almost limitless uses. While hemp isn’t completely legal in the U.S. (yet), there’s growing bipartisan support in Congress, and at every level of our government, in support of full legalization.

And since we’re big fans of CBD oil, a healing supplement made from hemp, we were thrilled that more people learned about CBD and its many benefits. Global attitudes are changing too, with some of the most influential authorities on international drug policy also changing their tune about CBD in 2017.

It’s not all good news, of course: cannabis still has some powerful enemies, but overall this year gave us hope for hemp. Below, we’ll look at the highs and lows of hemp over the past 365 days.

THOUSANDS DISCOVER CBD OIL AS GROWING SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTS CBD’S BENEFITS

 

top hemp cbd news 2017
One of the most remarkable stories of 2017 was a study published in August by HelloMD and Brightfield Group which revealed that 42 percent of CBD users give up pharmaceutical drugs. Though it’s not a fully scientific, “double blind” style study (the 2,400 people who responded were drawn exclusively from the user base of HelloMD, a pro-cannabis website), it shows that many people are discovering that CBD helps them feel healthier.

That’s probably no surprise given the ever-growing mountain of scientific evidence supporting the use of CBD. An important study released in May by the New England Journal of Medicine gave new support to the idea that CBD can help kids with epilepsy:

The average number of seizures per month decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 in subjects receiving CBD, versus a reduction of just .8 in the control group who took the placebo. Additionally, about 43 percent of the subjects receiving CBD saw their seizures decrease by at least half. 5 percent actually became completely seizure free with CBD, compared with 0 of the controls.

Much more research into CBD oil’s benefits is needed, but over the past year we’ve looked at preliminary evidence that suggests it can help with chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, inflammation and joint pains (especially topical CBD), schizophrenia, and depression.

INTERNATIONAL AUTHORITIES RETHINK GLOBAL DRUG POLICY ON CBD

In April, the World Anti-Doping Authority ruled that athletes will be allowed to use CBD oil starting in 2018. Though they made the policy change in 2017, many sportswriters point to the choice by MMA fighter Nate Diaz to vape CBD oil after a bout in 2016 as a key influence in the change. UFC fighters will also face different rules when it comes to drug testing thanks to his act of defiance, and we expect more people — not just athletes — will be open to trying CBD as a result.

 

 

World Health Organization CBD

The main meeting room at the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva. (Image by Thorkild Tylleskar on Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA license)

Of even greater importance for the future of international drug policy, the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, a division of the World Health Organization, reported that CBD oil is safe and should remain completely legal. The ECDD, whose recommendations help determine which substances remain legal and illegal on worldwide, went even further by suggesting CBD oil deserves further scientific research because of its incredible potential:

“There is also evidence that CBD may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions,” noted the ECCD. … The “diverse” range of conditions for which CBD has been considered by scientists as a possible treatment is “consistent with its neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia [controlling the flow of oxygen], anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic [pain relieving], anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic and anti-tumor properties.”

Although the WHO still considers psychoactive cannabis to be a dangerous drug without medical benefits, we were pleased to see that the committee will be reevaluating other cannabinoids, and the plant as a whole next year.

DESPITE THAWING ATTITUDES TOWARD HEMP, STATE & FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STILL FIGHT AGAINST CBD

 

Indiana CBD Illegal
The WHO’s support for legal CBD oil puts the global community at odds with some elements in the U.S. government that continue to fight against the legalization of hemp and cannabis. In late 2016, in a move that many hemp experts consider absurd, the DEA declared that CBD oil illegal. Industry advocates insist that various Congressional bills and legal precedents make CBD legal to extract from hemp and sell, and they’re ready to go to court to keep it available if necessary.

In general, individual CBD consumers have not been affected by these legal challenges and even the DEA admits that individual CBD users should be safe from prosecution. However, there were a few unfortunate and costly crackdowns against CBD vendors.

Indiana State Excise Police seized CBD products from dozens of stores in the state over the summer. A detailed investigation by the Indianapolis Star revealed that a law meant to legalize CBD for people with epilepsy had provided police with an excuse to crack down on CBD vendors, even though the law (unlike a similar one that just went into effect in Texas) doesn’t provide patients with a clear way to legally buy CBD.

Although the Indiana Attorney General later insisted that CBD is illegal, other state officials (and their dogs) vowed to resist, with lawmakers promising to revisit the issue in an upcoming session of the Indiana General Assembly.

CANNABIS HAS INCREASING BIPARTISAN SUPPORT AMID US HEMP BOOM

More states began their own hemp programs in 2017, or expanded existing programs to great success. Vote Hemp reported that the U.S. grew 23,346 acres of hemp in 2017, a significant increase from 2016’s total of just 9,770 acres. This growth is just the beginning, with Wisconsin among the latest to jump on the hemp legalization bandwagon and states like Pennsylvania promising to significantly increase the number of acres allowed in 2018.

 

top hemp news 2017
Hemp returned to the U.S. in a big way in 2014 after decades of prohibition, with the passage of that year’s Farm Bill, which re-legalized the growth and sales of hemp for research purposes. With hemp appearing on more and more farms of all sizes since then, this once-controversial plant has increasing support in Congress, even among some of the most conservative lawmakers. While the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a bill to completely legalize hemp in the U.S., stalled in 2017, the fact that it had enthusiastic sponsorship by both Republicans and Democrats suggests it’s only a matter of time. John Ryan of Ananda Hemp agreed with us when we asked him about the bill in August:

“Whether this bill gets passed or not this is a growing movement, this is an unstoppable movement. We will get this stuff done whether it’s this …  bill or not. This plant will be legalized.”

Attitudes are changing in individuals too. With every person who tries CBD or another hemp product, and with each state that legalizes recreational or medicinal marijuana, more people realize that what was once called a “demon weed” is actually a miraculous crop that can help humanity.

Despite some dark moments over the past year, it seems like they’re great things ahead for this plant. We hope you’ll join us in nurturing America’s love affair with hemp in 2018.

 

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Why We Should Look Towards Europe Concerning Hemp and CBD

The Future is bright for Hemp in Europe Thanks to its historical and cultural background, Europe has unique views on hemp, CBD and marijuana. We have written this article to give…

The Future is bright for Hemp in Europe

Thanks to its historical and cultural background, Europe has unique views on hemp, CBD and marijuana. We have written this article to give you a look at how Europe uses hemp and how CBD-related products are already a booming market. We’ve tried to give you a broad overview but there’s a lot to cover.  

At HO KARAN, we are launching a skincare range of products made with hempseed oil. We are located in Nantes, a startup-friendly city on the West of France. We also have an office in Paris, at Station F,  “the world’s biggest startup campus.” European hemp laws and culture affect us both negatively and positively.
 

hemp in europe

On the dark side, CBD and other related substances are misunderstood and often illegal. For instance in France, where most of the industrial hemp is grown, CBD is very difficult to produce, sell, and consume. We will see later why this happens.

On the bright side, industrial hemp is accepted by the public and legal in most of the countries in Europe. In the meantime, a community of companies, activists, and individuals have gathered together because of the unfair demonization of hemp. They work hard to make hemp-related products helpful and accessible to everyone.

WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY ABOUT HEMP IN EUROPE?

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction starts with a general statement: “In the European Union, it is legal to cultivate and supply cannabis plants for hemp fibre if they have low levels of THC.”

Thanks to this law, applicable for every Member State of the European Union, industrial hemp is grown in a lot of countries. France is the leader. Surprisingly, the tiny country of Estonia comes second.

While European enthusiasm for hemp is tangible, some legal obstacles persist if you dive deeper in the subject. The European Union is a young institution and so is its hemp industry. For these reasons, there is a legal vacuum on CBD. The European regulation does not control CBD by any means, so all member states have different laws concerning growing, producing, selling, or importing products with CBD and/or THC.
 

leading hemp growers in Europe

That is why CBD oils are almost always produced from industrial hemp. Most member states only allow selling products with extremely low levels of THC, the cannabinoid which makes people feel high. Their laws consider that CBD oils which have a higher percentage of THC are narcotics.

Differences in laws make a complex patchwork of regulations which does not encourage research and development. Still, a lot of companies are fighting for the European Union to legalize CBD in all member states. They are already exploring CBD-related products because they see its amazing potential for the well-being of its customers. This current legal vacuum, combined to the work of the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and its members, means we can soon expect a positive shift in EU regulations.

PRO-HEMP AND PRO-CBD ORGANIZATIONS IN EUROPE FIGHT FOR BETTER ACCESS

In Europe, the central organization of hemp advocacy is the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA). It was officially created in 2005 after several years of informal association. The EIHA mission mostly consists of encouraging the development of the hemp industry, representing the industry to the EU, and the sharing of information in order to educate both lawmakers and regular people alike.

A thousand associations, national organizations, companies, and individuals involved in the hemp industry joined it because of its significant power of advocacy. These members come from all European countries and work in very different hemp sub-industries: fibers, food/animal feed, hemp shivs, pharmaceuticals, consulting, research.

 

hemp event in europe

Another key actor is CannaTech, a global event which took place in London this year. We had the chance to be there on October 25 and saw the exploding European and global hemp market. Its motto, “Accelerate Cannabis Innovation,” tells it all. Investors, brands, and speakers came from all continents to show and tell about their innovations. The future of hemp and CBD felt brighter than ever.

Europe is already a fertile ground for hemp and its growing fast thanks to the increasing consumption of other hemp-based products (food, clothes, hempcrete, etc.). In 2016, 33,000 hectares of hemp were cultivated on the continent, which equals about 81,500 acres. In the same year, the United States grew 9,650 acres.

 

hemp fields in europe

EUROPEAN HEMP BRANDS ARE A SOURCE OF INNOVATION

In Europe, innovation is everywhere and affects every CBD-related industry.

Harmony Hemp is one of these activist-like companies. Based in Barcelona, it sells CBD vape juices, pure CBD, and vape pens. It focuses a lot on the quality of its products and is lobbying the government to ensure only safe CBD products are sold in Europe. Standards need to be established to ensure that only quality CBD products reach the market.

Harmony Hemp has studied cannabinoids since 2008 and wants to show to the world the powers of CBD. That is why it focuses on explaining how to use it safely and efficiently. Therefore, it is a reliable source of information.

 

Source: meetharmony.com

Another interesting thing takes place in Slovenia. The Australian pharmaceutical group MGC Pharmaceuticals started to harvest cannabis there. Why is that? Because it also started a cosmetic brand based in Slovenia: MGC Derma. It focuses a lot on R&D and the potential benefits of CBD on the skin. Like Harmony Hemp, it is a trustful source of information because it is not trying to profit from the consumers’ lack of knowledge. It tries to educate them on what could solve their skin disorders.

In France, HO KARAN follows the same path. We already sells skin care products made with hemp seed oil. The benefits of our products are their high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins (A, B1, B3, E, …), proteins, minerals, omega 3 and 6 (essential fatty acids). All of that make our oil, cream, shower gel and soap very moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and strengthening. In the future, HO KARAN hopes to explore deeper into CBD or other molecules like terpenoids, for its benefits on damaged skin.

 

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Companies exploring CBD abound in Europe. The industry is watching the results of recent meeting of the World Health Organization in Geneva (Switzerland). The topic of the meeting was the international classification of drugs, including CBD.

There, pharmaceuticals lobbyists and decision-makers who are against cannabis faced off against an experienced guest: Raul Elizalde. He is the first CEO of a cannabis company listed in the American stock exchange: HEMPMEDS. He has a vast expertise on CBD products and was accompanied by several doctors. Together, they made studies in Mexico concerning the benefits of CBD. He held a lot of influence over the meeting by showing this up-to-date research.

LOOKING TOWARD A HOPEFUL FUTURE FOR CBD OIL AND HEMP IN EUROPE

 

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Hopefully, with research and information towards CBD always increasing, a broader public is aware of the benefits of CBD. A virtuous cycle is on its way and we hope this event will accelerate it:

On the 29th of March 2017, the EIHA said in a press release: 

“Today, 100,000s of citizens already benefit from CBD, dozens of companies show double-digit growth and increasing demand.”

Now you have an overview of what is going on in Europe concerning hemp and CBD oil. The topic is so vast that we could not cover it all. Our team of experts will be glad to answer your questions. Feel free to reach us at laure.bouguen@hokaran.fr if you have any questions. Take note that you can only pre-order our products on Kickstarter before the 23rd of November.

 

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