Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Category: Hemp News

2018 Hemp Report Reveals Huge Expansion To US Hemp Acres

2018 was one hell of a year for the hemp industry with hemp acreage more than tripling across the United States. These impressive facts can be found in the 2018 U.S. Hemp Crop Report, released late last month by Vote Hemp.

2018 was one hell of a year for the hemp industry. Besides the triumph that is federal legalization, hemp more than tripled in acreage across the United States.

These impressive facts can be found in the 2018 U.S. Hemp Crop Report, released late last month by Vote Hemp, a leading hemp advocacy organization. When it comes to this recent report, Erica Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, told Nebraska’s KTIC Radio news:

“We’ve seen hemp cultivation significantly expand in the U.S. in 2018, with over triple the number of acres planted in hemp compared to last year and the addition of 4 more states with hemp programs. Now that we have lifted federal prohibition on hemp farming, it’s time to invest our energy in expanding hemp cultivation and the market for hemp products across the country so that all can reap the benefits of this versatile, historic American crop.”

Just months ago, experts were claiming sales of hemp products may reach $2 billion by 2022. However, with this current hemp report and the optimism federal legalization brings, there’s a good chance that number will grow rapidly. The truth of the matter is many more people are opening up to CBD and other hemp products as the stigma around the plant falls away. The more people to do so, the more demand will naturally appear.

A herm farmer inspects his crop in a massive greenhouse densely packed with industrial hemp plants. The 2018 Hemp Report from Vote Hemp revealed that US hemp acres tripled between 2017 and 2018.

The 2018 Hemp Report from Vote Hemp revealed that US hemp acres tripled between 2017 and 2018.

Similarly to last year’s report, we’re going to take a look at the leading states and see the progress they’ve made since 2017.

COMPARING 2018 VS 2017 US HEMP ACRES

Comparing Vote Hemp’s 2018 report with last year’s hemp acreage reveals incredible growth in just one year.

Overall hemp acreage increased from 25,713 to 78,176, with the total number of hemp growing states up to 23 from 19 states. The total number of hemp licenses issued across all states more than doubled, from 1,456 in 2017 to 3,546 in 2018. More universities also got involved with hemp research. In 2017, 32 universities took part in hemp research, while 40 had hemp research programs in 2018.

In addition to the sheer increase in U.S. hemp acres between 2018 and 2017, the top hemp growing states also shifted from year to year. Colorado was the top hemp growing state in 2017, with 9,700 acres grown. At the time, we expected the state to maintain its lead into the future. Instead, an unexpected contender came forward to claim that prize in 2018.

TOP 5 HEMP GROWING STATES IN 2018

The 2018 hemp report revealed a historic year in hemp growing. Not only have certain states made incredible progress but the entire country tripled its hemp output, along with more than doubling the number of licenses issued.

In 2018, 5 states made huge leaps when it came to hemp acreage. By observing their individual success, we can get a sense of how other states can make the best of the recent Farm Bill and increase their hemp production in 2019 and beyond.

#5 – Tennessee – 3,338 Acres

Tennessee made a significant leap this year in terms of their involvement in the hemp industry. The state went from farming 200 acres of hemp in 2017 to a staggering 3,338 this past year.

The reason for this leap is due to Tennessee’s Department of Agriculture allowing for more industrial hemp projects and licenses to be issued. Part of the reason for their permissive attitude has to do with the state’s rich history with the crop.

#4 – Kentucky – 6,700 Acres

Though Kentucky no longer ranks as high on this list, they’ve more than doubled their hemp production within the last year. Kentucky has been a leading state for much of the industry’s recent endeavors due to the fact that it was one of the first to embrace pilot hemp programs. Despite the state’s conservative history, many former tobacco farmers now grow hemp. The state’s legislators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, were instrumental in passing nationwide hemp legalization through the Farm Bill.

#3 – Oregon – 7,808 Acres

It comes as no surprise to see Oregon ranking high on our list. For some time, it’s been one of the most forward-thinking cannabis states across the country. Even before the 2018 Farm Bill, Oregon’s lenient hemp growing program allowed any farmer or business to apply to grow or handle hemp.

Last year, Oregon ranked in at #2 for producing 3,469 acres of hemp. This year, their efforts have given them nearly 8,000 acres.

#2 – Colorado – 21,578 Acres

Last year, we claimed, “for years to come, it seems as though Colorado is going to lead the hemp industry.” Though we were wrong, there’s no doubt the Centennial State gave its best effort in trying to stay true to our claim. Colorado more than doubled its hemp acres from 2017’s 9,700 acres of hemp.

#1 – Montana – 22,000 Acres

In 2018, Montana took the grand prize not only in most acres of hemp grown but in how much expansion its made since 2017. In the year prior, the first year that Montana allowed hemp, the Treasure State grew a mere 542 acres of hemp. This past year, they’ve more multiplied their hemp production by more than 40 times!

This increase is truly an incredible feat not just for the state but the industry as a whole. The interesting part of it all is Montana didn’t change their rules or regulation to cause this growth. The same license was necessary each year and cost around $450.

Yet, due to a massive increase in the number of farmers desiring to grow hemp, Montana ranks number one on this year’s list.

Seen from the shoulders down, a farmer in a black hoodie gives a thumbs up while posing with a basket of freshly harvested hemp.

The 2018 Hemp Report reveals incredible growth in the hemp industry, from total acres grown to massive expansion in individual states too.

HEMP CROP REPORT REVEALS TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN US HEMP ACRES

It’s truly mindblowing to think about how far the hemp industry come just since 2014. Throughout that time, we went from a complete prohibition to over 75,000 acres of the plant being grown across the nation.

It should be noted the other states which have made tremendous progress throughout 2018:

  • Pennsylvania went from 36 acres in 2017 to 580 acres in 2018.
  • Maine went from 30 acres in 2017 to 550 acres in 2018.
  • Nevada went from 417 acres in 2017 to 1,881 acres in 2018.
  • Vermont went from 575 acres in 2017 to 1,820 acres in 2018.
  • Wisconsin went from no acres in 2017 to 1,850 acres in 2018.
  • North Carolina went from 965 acres in 2017 to 3,184 acres in 2018.

These numbers reveal the ongoing and inevitable rise of this industry. Though experts long predicted a U.S. hemp boom, this Hemp Crop Report comprehensively shows how rapidly the hemp industry is rising.

With total hemp legalization underway across the United States, there’s no telling how much progress is coming. All we do know is it’s bound to be another milestone year in 2019.

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Four People Face Felony Charges After Oklahoma Police Seize Hemp Shipment

Four people face felony charges after Oklahoma police seized hemp bound from Kentucky to Colorado. They’re charged with drug trafficking after cops found 18,000 pounds of hemp in their tractor-trailer. 

Update JANUARY 24, 2019: We previously updated this article to report that everyone involved was out of jail. However, a report via Twitter suggests two truck drivers remain imprisoned:

Four people face felony charges after Oklahoma police seized hemp bound from Kentucky to Colorado.

The four are charged with drug trafficking after cops found 18,000 pounds of hemp in the back of their tractor-trailer. Police from Pawhuska, Oklahoma pulled the shippers over at 3:00am on January 9, claiming they ran a red light. When police stuck their noses in the vehicle, they smelled a strong odor which greatly resembled psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”), leading to the charges.

The truck was transporting hemp from Kentucky to Colorado on behalf of Panacea Life Sciences, a CBD brand. As readers of our site know, the 2018 Farm Bill made hemp legal nationwide when it became law in December. The new law specifically protects interstate commerce. Therefore, the drivers were following the law.

A highway patrol officer holds his palm out while making a road side stop. Oklahoma police seized 18,000 pounds of legal hemp on January 9. 4 people involved in transporting the crop now face felony charges.

Oklahoma police seized 18,000 pounds of legal hemp on January 9. 4 people involved in transporting the crop now face felony charges.

However, two of the four still remain in jail as police insist that they don’t know whether the truck contained legal hemp or illegal marijuana. The four accused all pled not guilty at their initial hearing.

LAW ENFORCEMENT’S BIG FLAW

The Farm Bill makes it clear that there shouldn’t be any legal battle at all. Hemp is legal and these men were in total compliance with the law. Yet, as we’re witnessing, law enforcement continues to insist these men deserve to face charges.

We talked with James “Jamie” Baumgartner, the president of Panacea Life Sciences about the incident.

“To be honest, I personally tend to trust law enforcement,” Baumgartner proclaimed. “But I don’t know if they really know what they’re doing here.”

One source of Baumgartner’s uncertainty: the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sent the hemp to a laboratory to do a binary test. The purpose was to discover whether or not there would be THC in the product.

“Of course, it’s going to test positive cause there is 0.3 percent THC in the product,” Baumgartner explained.

Under the law, hemp is fully legal as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC. He continued:

“Then they did another binary test that they [DEA] claim is definitive to show it’s marijuana, by taking a look at the product under a microscope. Which is the first time I’ve ever heard of that.”

Obviously, the latter test can’t confirm anything considering the fact that hemp and marijuana look nearly identical — they’re two forms of the same plant! As Baumgartner puts it, the only way to really tell the difference between the two is through, “a cannabinoid profile.”

Until the cannabis is properly tested, the four men will remain in custody. There’s only one major issue, as Baumgartner states:

“[Oklahoma law enforcement] wants to send it through Washington D.C. to be tested. But with the government shutdown, that laboratory is not operational right now.”

FIGHTING BACK AFTER OKLAHOMA POLICE SEIZE HEMP SHIPMENT

Baumgartner is pushing for the material to be tested properly even with the complication of a government shutdown. He and his team at Panacea have argued with police that they should, “find a neutral laboratory.”

“We’ve suggested they use the Colorado Department of Agriculture … to determine the THC content of the material.”

Unfortunately, there’s been little “open dialogue in terms of resolving the situation.”

Rather, law enforcement is taking matters into their own hands and, as mentioned above, it doesn’t seem like they quite know what’s going on.

Baumgartner told us he has never run into problems with the law before. Caught off guard by this unexpected seizure, he’s frustrated that police haven’t responded to his concerns. This is especially overwhelming considering some of these men have families who don’t know what’s going to happen.

Furthermore, Baumgartner predicted the bust could cost Panacea $1 million. Of course, he hopes that once Oklahoma law enforcement realizes the plants are hemp and therefore legal, there’s a good chance they’ll get the shipment back. However, then Panacea must worry about any damages which may have come about through this whole process.

Seen from the shoulders down, a farmer in a black hoodie gives a thumbs up while posing with a basket of freshly harvested hemp. Although the Farm Bill fully legalized hemp, it's clear the stigma around the plant still remains.

Although the Farm Bill fully legalized hemp, it’s clear the stigma around the plant still remains.

“If we can verify that it has not been damaged then we rock’n’roll with it,” Baumgartner said. “If it has been damaged so that we cannot use it, then we’ll seek recourse through civil litigation.”

THE ANTI-HEMP STIGMA CONTINUES

Obviously, the stigma against hemp is far from gone. The fact that this whole mess is even happening might seem absurd to many within the hemp industry and community. However, when it comes to the general public, they still don’t see the difference between hemp and “marijuana.” 

“When I take a look at this whole situation, our number one priority is to make sure these individuals are not charged and are able to go back to their families and their lives, “Baumgartner said.

“Number two is to get our hemp back. And I’m really hoping we have a positive end to this story.”

He added:

“I hope we have a better understanding of rules and regulations. About how to handle hemp shipments in the future. I mean the last thing I really wanted to do was offer an interview for your publication about this problem. I’d rather be talking about the beneficial health properties of hemp.”

Panacea Life Sciences’ staff asked us to share this GoFundMe fundraiser for the arrested hemp drivers, and encouraged our readers to contribute. 

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Fighting Back After Facebook Shuts Down CBD Pages

Facebook shut down dozens of CBD pages during the holidays, wrongly claiming they sold “prescription drugs.” Representatives of Joy Organics waged a successful campaign to get the pages reinstated.

Facebook shut down numerous CBD brand pages in December, claiming they were selling prescription drugs, rather than natural supplements made from legal hemp.

Right before the holidays, Fort Collins, Colorado resident Joy Smith had attempted to log into her CBD products Facebook page for Joy Organics. However, she was surprised to find herself denied access. She contacted her daughter, Hannah Smith — the company’s social media brains — as a means of solving the problem.

However, Hannah found that the Facebook page was officially unpublished and flagged for “promoting the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals.”

Even though CBD supplements are legal, Facebook commonly mistreats representatives of the newly emerging hemp market. In fact, Kit O’Connell, editor in chief at the Ministry, is banned from using Facebook’s ad platform due to his hemp advocacy efforts.

A person logs into Facebook on a cell phone and laptop in a cafe, with a coffee cop and sauce in front of them. After Facebook shut down CBD pages, representatives of Joy Organics forced the social media giant to change its tune.

After Facebook shut down CBD pages, representatives of Joy Organics forced the social media giant to change its tune.

We reached out to Hannah in hopes of finding out more about her experience and what social media platforms such as Facebook will do in order to prevent these false flaggings from happening in the future.

TAKING ACTION AFTER FACEBOOK SHUTS DOWN CBD PAGES

When it all began, Hannah Smith didn’t think too much of it. Her initial inclinations suggested it was all a mistake that Facebook would easily fix through an appeal. Even when Facebook denied their appeal, they remained optimistic.

“Both me and my brother figured we’d just wait it out,” Smith explains.

“We just sent some emails and assumed they’d get on it. We figured they were dealing with a lot since it was the holidays, so, we didn’t think too much of it.”

However, Smith was soon met with a harsh reality: Facebook deliberately took down the page, claiming that it was encouraging prescription medication sales. Hemp-derived CBD oil is widely available over-the-counter as a nutritional supplement, both online and in many brick-and-mortar stores. After learning of Facebook’s real motivations, Smith took action.

“I created a petition as soon as I found out other CBD companies were going through the same thing,” she proclaims. “I thought it would be advantageous for us and the industry as a whole if I made the petition about more than just our Facebook.”

After sharing the petition with other hemp-derived CBD pages which Facebook had shut down, Smith was able to obtain 4,500 signatures. “Everyone was really excited to be doing something. To be taking action.”

FACEBOOK SHUTS DOWN CBD PAGES DURING HOLIDAY SEASON

This shut down had affected about three dozen hemp-derived CBD Facebook pages, both within the United States and across seas in the United Kingdom.

As mentioned, this happened just before the holiday season. Though most of Joy Organics sales are made on-site rather than online, there are CBD companies out there who sell most of their products over the internet. Social media plays a key role in online marketing. Facebook shutting down CBD pages during such a vital period of time could have severely affected sales.

Graphic shows social media app icons on a smartphone screen, including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. While shutting down CBD pages was an extreme move, Facebook and other social media services routinely block hemp and CBD brands from their advertising platforms.

While shutting down CBD pages was an extreme move, Facebook and other social media services routinely block hemp and CBD brands from their advertising platforms.

Still, that isn’t to say the shut down didn’t have an impact on Joy Organics. Though their sales remained fine, they weren’t able to connect with their community. As Smith puts it, “it more hurt us in our ability to build credibility.”

Despite restoring their pages, Facebook hasn’t given a satisfactory explanation as to why these shutdowns occurred.

DID FACEBOOK SHUT DOWN CBD PAGES OVER FDA MEMO?

“Now, this is all speculation,” Smith begins.

“But there’s something about this that just doesn’t feel right for me. CBD is — in Facebook’s guidelines — you can’t buy ads on Facebook if you’re selling it. So, they’re aware of what CBD is. There are restrictions for CBD and restrictions for marijuana. So, I’m pretty sure they know the difference between the two.”

With that in mind, Smith finds one aspect of this whole scenario to be truly strange. This all happened right after the Farm Bill went through. During the initial days after hemp was fully legalized, searches for CBD skyrocketed.

“After the farm bill went through, there were so many new people looking for CBD resources,” Smith stresses. “The fact that this happened after the Farm Bill was signed is suspicious to me because it coincides with a huge spark of interest in the CBD industry and CBD products.”

Interestingly, Smith notes that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement shortly after the Farm Bill went through claiming CBD is illegal in food products. Some hemp advocates speculate Facebook saw that statement and decided to shutdown CBD pages. Still, Smith doesn’t believe this is the true root of the problem which occurred, especially after Facebook’s history of cracking down on hemp and CBD brands.

We’ll have more coverage of the FDA memo and what it means for CBD in an upcoming article.

WE CAN EXPECT MORE MISUNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT HEMP

It should be expected that problems will continue to come about when it comes to the hemp and CBD industry. The unfortunate truth is the public still has trouble separating hemp from psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”). Many people are still learning about the benefits of CBD.

According to Chavie Lieber, a senior reporter at Vox, “Facebook said it did not believe hemp or CBD companies violated any of these terms, but it did not further explain why its team had removed these pages in the first place.”

Though that may be true, it’s noteworthy to mention Smith had a very difficult time trying to resolve the issue. She could barely find a customer service email to contact.

A hemp bud, and two bottles of CBD oil sit on a wooden tabletop. Unfortunately, CBD and hemp brands will continue to face problems online until the stigma around the plant disappears.

Unfortunately, CBD and hemp brands will continue to face problems online until the stigma around the plant disappears.

“Facebook has a lot of places for people to go to prevent them from contacting customer service; forums and FAQs and stuff like that,” Smith explains.

Luckily, Joy Organics hasn’t seen any similar problems on other social media platforms.

At the end of the day, the hemp industry should expect more barriers. It’s going to take time for the public to understand what CBD and hemp truly are and the benefits they offer society.

Until then, Smith remains optimistic. “We hope when the laws change, the stigma will change.”

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Waste Not, Want Not: Recycling Hemp & Cannabis Bio-Waste

As the hemp industry booms, it will inevitably product more waste. We looked at two startups recycling hemp and cannabis waste into useful products.

In a world of increasing pollution, two startups are trailblazing new techniques to reduce waste by recycling hemp.

The community based around hemp is famous for its holistic approach to life. Hemp advocates care about living cleanly, reducing their environmental impact, and trying to reduce waste as much as possible.

Industrial hemp is now fully legal in the United States thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. As a result, we can expect the hemp industry to grow and produce more waste. Companies like 9Fiber and Kindness 3D see this as an opportunity.

Previously, we reported on Sana Packaging, who use hemp to create sustainable packaging for the recreational cannabis industry. 9Fiber and Kindness 3D differ in that they’re recycling hemp and cannabis waste after it’s produced. They’re helping reduce pollution and helping their fellow human beings at the same time.

9FIBER: RECYCLING HEMP STALKS & FIBER INTO USEFUL PRODUCTS

9Fiber, based out of Silver Spring, Maryland are an agricultural technology company focused on recycling hemp stalk and stem waste. This startup takes hemp bio-waste that’s been put aside by other companies and processes it into raw materials that can be used to make a variety of products.

First, 9Fiber decontaminates any biowaste from federally illegal substances, removing the THC. Next, they process the waste further by removing fiber from the hurd, which is the woody core of the hemp plant. Then, the fiber undergoes final processing before it becomes usable for production. With the recycled fiber and gum-free hurd, 9Fiber is able to make paper, rope, textiles, fuel, bioplastics, fiberglass, hempcrete, and even livestock bedding.

In November, the Colorado Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program gave 9Fiber a $250,000 grant. The process to get the grant was a lengthy one, as many startups. With this new funding, 9Fiber plans to expand their operations into Pueblo, Colorado in late 2019. Hopefully, this grant can also help 9Fiber scale with the inevitable boom in hemp production. With the recent passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, 9Fiber’s future is looking bright.

A cluster of stringy hemp fiber separated out from the rest of the plant, photographed against a plain white background. 9Fiber is recycling hemp by separating out the hemp fibers and woody core (hemp hurd). After processing, 9Fiber can reuse these materials in hemp plastic, hempcrete, animal bedding and more.

9Fiber is recycling hemp by separating out the hemp fibers and woody core (hemp hurd). After processing, 9Fiber can reuse these materials in hemp plastic, hempcrete, animal bedding and more.

Adin Alai, 9Fiber’s CEO, told us, “our main goal is to create an entire circular economy.”

While the hemp industry inevitably produces waste, companies like 9Fiber can use that waste to produce other products. Not only is Mr. Alai passionate about his startup, but he believes that the cannabis industry has the potential to be a leading zero-waste industry.

KINDNESS 3D PRINTS PROSTHETIC LIMBS FROM CANNABIS WASTE

Meanwhile, up north in Nova Scotia, Canada, a prosthetic limb production company recycles plastic waste from local psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) shops. After Canada legalized recreational use of marijuana, there has been a dramatic increase in plastic container waste. Based out of Halifax, Kindness 3D turns plastic packaging from psychoactive cannabis products into prosthetic limbs.

A student tries out a 3D-printed grabber hand at a school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kindness 3D takes plastic waste from recreational cannabis containers and turns them into prosthetic limbs.

A student tries out a 3D-printed grabber hand at a school in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kindness 3D takes plastic waste from recreational cannabis containers and turns them into prosthetic limbs. (Photo: Kindness 3D Facebook)

Starting as a 3D printing enthusiast, Jake Boudreau started Kindness 3D after coming across templates for prosthetic limbs in an online 3D printing community. Since the creation of the non-profit, he’s been able to send hands to a girl in Costa Rica and a woman in Brazil. He aims to not only recycle reusable plastic waste, but to help people who can’t afford the expenses that come along with prosthetic limbs.

Donate to Boudreau’s GoFundMe and check out the Kindness3D Facebook page!

A GREENER FUTURE THROUGH RECYCLING HEMP

As industrial hemp and cannabis legalization spreads around the world, companies like 9Fiber and Kindness 3D fill an important niche. Efforts like these are vital for reducing hemp waste, and to increase the utility of the hemp plant. Hopefully, recycling hemp will become commonplace, and recycled hemp biomass products can become part of our everyday lives.

Hemp’s future is green, in more ways than one.

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Hemp By Mail: Recent Court Rulings Enable Mailing Industrial Hemp

Recent court rulings make it clear that it’s fully legal to send hemp by mail. We spoke with Courtney Moran of EARTH Law, LLCabout her court battles over shipping hemp.

Recent court rulings make it clear that it’s fully legal to send hemp by mail.

History has been made in recent weeks. With industrial hemp becoming federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, new rules and regulations surrounding the industry will begin to appear. Another important change? New rulings from the Judicial Officer and the Federal Court for the U.S. Postal Service now allow shipments of industrial hemp — specifically, hemp-derived CBD derived products — through USPS.

Courtney N. Moran, founding principal of EARTH Law, LLC, has vigorously fought multiple battles for these rights. Still, as can be expected, there remain problems and misunderstandings about legal hemp. And Moran will have to continue her battle until these issues are fully solved.

Point of view photo of a person mailing a cardboard box hands it off to a worker. Although there may continue to be court challenges, recent court rulings clearly establish a solid precedent making it legal to send hemp by mail.

Although there may continue to be court challenges, recent court rulings clearly establish a solid precedent making it legal to send hemp by mail.

We recently had the opportunity to have a conversation with Moran in which we sought to learn more about these battles, their resolutions, and what people can expect when attempting to ship hemp in the future.

THE LEGAL BATTLE OVER SENDING HEMP BY MAIL

After Moran received complaints from clients entailing how their hemp products weren’t being shipped to their respected destinations, she filed multiple cases. The goal of these cases was to establish a federal judicial precedent which:

  • Defines laws surrounding transportation of industrial hemp.
  • Clarifies the intent of Congress.
  • Halts misinformation and misinterpretations by the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Cases like the recent “KaB, LLC v. USPS” established these necessary precedents. In this case, USPS seized a package of CBD derived from a hemp agriculture pilot program with the excuse, “the parcel [was] emitting an odor of a controlled substance.”

When this case was brought to court, the question arose whether or not “CBD grown or cultivated from industrial hemp pursuant to a pilot program established by Congress under the Agriculture Act of 2014 is nonmailable as a Schedule I controlled substance.”

Moran’s argument was that the hemp was grown in compliance with an agricultural pilot program established under the 2014 Farm Bill. This hemp is exempt from control under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Therefore, the hemp is not a controlled substance and is allowed to be mailed.

There was a lot of legal back and forth. For though it’s confirmed legal to ship hemp in accordance with agriculture programs, there remains much confusion in postal service policy. At the end of the day, the entire country hasn’t woken up from decades of hemp prohibition. Solving this confusion ultimately lies in separating hemp from psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”).

A WIN FOR THE INDUSTRY

Ultimately, the court agreed with Moran’s argument about sending hemp by mail. She won a great leap forward for this industry with this important ruling. Here’s how she described her success:

“I’ve covered 16 cases with the Postal Service,” Moran explained. “All of them had been decided in our favor. And all of those folks either received their packages back already or they’ve gone on their way to be received from the recipient.”

Most recently, on December 11th, Moran won another case which added a new twist to this story. Up until that point, most of the cases she fought for were in regards to hemp-products or hemp-derived CBD. However, this particular case was focused around hemp seeds.

A pair of cupped hands holds a handful of hemp seeds. One of Courtney Moran's most recent court cases protected the right to send hemp seeds by mail.

One of Courtney Moran’s most recent court cases protected the right to send hemp seeds by mail.

Moran added:

“That’s what’s really thrilling about these cases. For the very first time, [we] have a judge upholding the intent of Congress versus the guidance that was put out by federal agencies and clearly reiterating agricultural hemp is exempted and not scheduled.”

PROBLEMS TO CONTINUE

Still, even though these cases establish a precedent for sending hemp by mail,  people shouldn’t expect all problems with the postal service to simply vanish. As mentioned, there’s still plenty of confusion in the public’s perspective. Until more people understand hemp’s legal status and its difference from psychoactive cannabis, cases such as these will continue to appear.

“The US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has law enforcement authority and capability,” Moran tells us. And the truth of the matter is, there are still plenty of people trying to ship illegal marijuana and hemp through the postal service.

With that in mind, Moran informs, “Only this agricultural pilot program hemp is lawful. So, let’s say somebody grew industrial hemp domestically but was not part of a pilot program and did not have their proper registration or license through their state’s authorizing agency — that would not be legal and not be compliant.”

And even for those who are legally growing and shipping it, the problems stem from those who continue to abuse the U.S. Postal Service in an illegal manner. Moran says that people attempting to send illegal products through the mail are causing harm to the people trying to do it right.

YOUR RIGHT TO SHIP HEMP IS DEFENDABLE IN COURT

Luckily, the postal service is developing a standard operating procedure which gives people the authority to legally ship hemp in advance. The goal is to prevent continuous court cases over hemp.

A USPS mail truck parked by the side of the road. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill and Courtney Moran's recent legal victories, the law will protect your right to send hemp by mail.

Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill and Courtney Moran’s recent legal victories, the law will protect your right to send hemp by mail.

Furthermore, with the legalization of hemp just hitting the entire country, new rules and regulations are bound to arise. Just as with psychoactive cannabis legalization in various states, lawmakers are still figuring out how to make this all work. Back in July, California saw a complete shelving of CBD products due to new cannabis labeling regulations. This same uncertainty is almost certain to hit the hemp industry.

However, with people such as Moran defending hemp farmers and distributor alike, we can trust the fight for these rules and regulations will go in the right direction. In terms of this recent win, she proclaimed:

“We’re not intimidated and really look to the letter of the law. And made a very clear determination based on what the letter of the law says and the intent of Congress.”

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Hemp Supercapacitors Bring Green Tech To A Higher Level

Outperforming standard supercapacitors up to 200 percent, hemp-based supercapacitors could be the future of green technology. Hemp could be a key part of making our energy needs more sustainable.

Outperforming standard supercapacitors up to 200 percent, hemp-based supercapacitors could be the future of green technology.

At the Ministry of Hemp, we’re a little biased about our favorite plant in the world: hemp. But it seems like everyday we find newer and better ways that it can be used.

One innovation we recently discovered? Scientists discovered how to use hemp in supercapacitor electrodes. A supercapacitor is the lesser-known alternative to traditional electrical energy storage. Right now, a supercapacitor is the second best option for storing power, after batteries. However, more research could change that.

An illustration of a seemingly infinite number of batteries, with a small cluster rising above the others. A green colored battery is higher than the rest.

Supercapacitors could be the future of energy storage, and hemp supercapacitors could prove even more efficient than other materials.

Below we’ll introduce you to hemp supercapacitors and how hemp could play a part in our energy future.

WHAT’S A SUPERCAPACITY, ANYWAYS?

The most famous form of energy storage is the battery, an object that contains two opposing electrical terminals separated by electrolytes. When you turn on the power, a chemical reaction occurs between the electrolytes and electrodes, producing electric energy for your device. Since batteries rely on electrolyes, and electrolytes wear out, all batteries need to be replaced. In addition, batteries take a very long time to fully charge. Today, we use batteries everywhere; in our phones, laptops, and more recently, our cars.

Capacitors work very differently from the traditional battery. In short, a normal capacitor is comprised of two metal plates and an insulating material between the plates called a dielectric. In a capacitor, positive & negative build up on the plates. Rather than electrolytes, capacitors store electrical energy within the plates.

Supercapacitors on the other hand, are different for two ways. Their plates have a “bigger” surface area and the distance between the plates is much shorter. Supercapacitors are usually coated in a porous substance such as activated charcoal. These coatings are called the “supercapacitor electrodes.”  The electrodes serve as more storage on the plates, giving them more surface area to store electricity. Think of normal non-coated capacitors as mops; which can only absorb so much water, and supercapacitors as sponges, soaking up much more water than its surface area. The website Explain That Stuff published a great explanation of supercapacitors in August.

Unlike batteries, supercapacitors charge almost instantaneously and last much longer than batteries. Their biggest drawback, preventing them from being the popular choice, is the amount of energy that is able to be stored within them. Right now, supercapacitors only store a fraction of the power of a traditional battery, but scientists are working hard to find a way around this problem.

THE MIGHTY HEMP SUPERCAPACITOR

Today’s supercapacitors commonly use graphene, a carbon nanomaterial to create electrodes. But making graphene costs up to $2000 per gram.

In 2013, Researchers at the University of Alberta National Institute for Nanotechnology found a more economical material in hemp. These scientists discovered how to process raw hurds (the plant’s woody core) into activated carbons through hydrothermal processing and chemical activation. The final product is one that’s able to soak up more electricity, providing better energy capacity. The solution produces not only a cheaper material — $5000 per ton — but one that performs up to four times better than graphene. Better yet, the solution uses the hemp stems, the part that is often left unused during other forms of hemp processing. With this, the entire plant is used, and no part is left to waste!

A handful of dried hemp cores, looking a lot like wood chips. Hempcrete building material is one common use for hemp hurds or shivs, the woody core of the plant. Someday, they could be used in hemp supercapacitors too.

Hempcrete building material is one common use for hemp hurds or shivs, the woody core of the plant. Someday, hurds could be used in hemp supercapacitors too.

If this solution can be easily reproduced, it would affect far more than just the electronics industries. Supercapacitors represent a fundamental shift in energy storage. Imagine if every battery powered object used hemp powered instead! It would mean that hemp would be undeniable in its utilitarian value. Remaining anti-hemp governments would be hard-pressed to keep the plant banned from commercial use.

LEGAL HEMP MEANS MORE HEMP RESEARCH

With the passing of the Farm Bill — making industrial hemp a lawful agricultural commodity in the United States — hemp research is ready to take a big leap. Someday, we could be driving hemp-powered cars and using phones that are powered by hemp!

Not only will consumer products change with legal hemp, but if hemp supercapacitors are adapted to a larger scale, we might see a shift in the infrastructure of the entire country. The possibilities for this greener, cleaner, and sustainable crop seem limitless! With legal hemp, countless industries stand to benefit.

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Kit O’Connell On The 2018 Farm Bill, The FDA, & Nebraska Hemp Arrests

Ministry of Hemp Editor in Chief Kit O’Connell appeared on the CBD Talk Podcast to talk about the 2018 Farm Bill and other recent CBD news. Find CBD Talk on your favorite podcast apps!

Ministry of Hemp Editor in Chief Kit O’Connell spoke with Dawn Peacock, host of CBD Talk Podcast about recent hemp news in the U.S., including the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill, recently signed into law, fully legalizes industrial hemp in the United States.

While the Farm Bill represents a huge win for hemp advocates, there’s still more to do before hemp and CBD are fully accessible to everyone. A recent FDA statement about CBD’s legality after the Farm Bill has left people confused and concerned about the supplement’s future in the U.S. Dawn and Kit talk about what the memo really means, and why it could show the FDA is actually warming up to CBD.

In addition to the video above, this episode of CBD Talk is available as an audio file on Soundcloud:

Some of the links mentioned in the podcast:

CBD Talk is available on all your favorite podcast apps — give them a listen!

 

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Marc Grignon: Hemp Can Help Sustain Native Americans

When you begin to look into the fight for hemp legalization, you start to unearth stories you weren’t expecting to find. That’s exactly what happened when we talked with Marc Grignon and learned about the 2015 police raid on the Menominee hemp fields.

When you begin to look into the fight for hemp legalization, you start to unearth stories you weren’t expecting to find. That’s exactly what happened when we talked with Marc Grignon and learned about the 2015 police raid on the Menominee hemp fields.

Currently, Grignon is the spokesman for Hempstead Project Heart, which raises awareness about the benefits of hemp for everyone including tribal communities. Previously, he worked as  staff assistant for the Office of Native American Affairs under Obama’s Small Business Administration.

Grignon developed a passion for hemp as his tribe’s casino ambitions failed. For years now, the Menominee have been fighting for a way out of dependence on government assistance. For a way to provide their reservation with a sufficient income.

Grignon is one of the 8,700 members of the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin. Their history is believed to span back 10,000 years where they dominated 10 million acres of modern-day Wisconsin and the upper half of Michigan state.

John Trudell, wearing sunglasses, smiles at the camera. Hemp activist John Trudell co-founded Hempstead Project Heart with musician Willie Nelson, before passing leadership of the organization to Marc Grignon in his final days.

Hemp activist John Trudell co-founded Hempstead Project Heart with musician Willie Nelson, before passing leadership of the organization to Marc Grignon in his final days. (Photo: Tara Trudell, used with permission)

Despite the dramatic circumstances of the raid, Marc Grignon remains a steadfast advocate of hemp. We caught up with him recently to learn about how he got involved with hemp and how he believes hemp can help support Native American tribes.

OVER TIME, TRIBAL ATTITUDES TOWARD HEMP HAVE SOFTENED

It was during Grignon’s final semester at college when he began to look into his tribe’s background — studying the language and digging deep into their culture. As he went about this research, a piece of information “fell into my lap,” he told us.

The Menominee have a word called “Shaeqnap” and it means wild hemp. The definition talked about a plant that could grow anywhere from 5 to 8 feet high. The tribe used it for fiber, basket making, bowstrings, and so on and so forth.

Grignon was so fascinated by the discovery, he brought it to the Menominee Language and Culture Commission. They were less enthusiastic about his discovery. When he asked about shaeqnap, they simply insisted, “No. We never used cannabis.”

This was a bit of a blow to Grignon as he’s been a long-time hemp advocate. His goal has been to use the plant to provide the Menominee people with a stable source of income. Though not everyone agreed with this idea, Grignon held a determination which would prove to be worthwhile.

And over time, he said attitudes are shifting. “With the evidence we’ve brought to light, more Menominee cultural people see our future in hemp.”

PLANTING THE SEEDS: HOW MARC GRIGNON GREW HEMP WITH THE MENOMINEE

In the summer of 2015, Grignon was working on an Agricultural and Research Project through the College of Menominee Nation and his tribe. One particular day, a former legislature approached him and asked if he’d be interested in working with hemp. Since the Menominee had just passed a law allowing for the reservation to grow industrial hemp for the sake of research, Grignon was very interested.

Part of the reason for this law was due to the fact the Menominees were trying to get the legal paperwork to start a casino. They fought for twenty years only to have Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor at the time, kill the idea.

Grignon saw hemp as holding the possibility of being a “natural economic drive.” He recalled:

“So, I was brought on. We planted on July 7th, 2015. 3 acres. I was kind of in charge of monitoring the plants and taking care of them. I was on weed control and I’d go into the fields and pull them out by hand with other Menominees. That’s how I got into the whole thing.”

MENOMINEE HEMP FACED CONSTANT THREATS FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Menominees took all legal precaution prior in order to make this happen. They informed law enforcement of their laws and the fact that they had plans to grow that cultivation season. However, upon hearing this, the feds felt the need to come out and see the fields.

“There were some strong words between the attorney and my tribal leaders,” Grignon remembers.

“The feds were like, ‘we want you to uproot this stuff.’ And we said, ‘No, man. We abided by our government to government relations where we told you we were gonna do it, we passed the law, we had our community’s input on this law, nobody has an issue with it, and now we’re gonna move forward with it.’”

A densely packed hemp field grows tall under a partly cloudy sky, a forest in the background of the field. Marc Grignon helped legalize hemp in Wisconsin after police raided a Menominee hemp field in 2015.

Marc Grignon helped legalize hemp in Wisconsin after police raided a Menominee hemp field in October 2015. (Photo: Marc Grignon)

Which is just what Grignon did. Nearly three months went by. He and the Menominees continued tending their 3 acres of hemp. Throughout this time, law enforcement sustained their efforts to stop the tribe from cultivating these crops.

OCTOBER 23, 2015: POLICE RAID MENOMINEE HEMP FIELDS

In fact, the tribe had a strong suspicion that they would be raided. Even though they followed all rules and regulations, Grignon says, “It’s a real cluster-fuck when it comes to federal Indian policy and federal Indian laws.”

On October 23rd, just when everything was in full bloom, Grignon drove to the fields to find police dressed in camo, fully armed with automatic weapons. He stood and watched as a bulldozer destroyed all his hard work.

Not only was this a giant blow to the operation, but it was an even bigger blow for the next season’s grow. For those plants contained the seeds the Menominees hoped to plant the following year.

Though Grignon was deeply upset, he wasn’t discouraged. In fact, in the months prior — when the Menominees were anticipating the raid — Grignon had reached out to an activist that would not only change his life but hemp’s future in the state of Wisconsin.

MARC GRIGNON’S HEMP ADVOCACY CONTINUES AFTER MENOMINEE HEMP RAID

This certain someone was John Trudell, a Native American author and political activist. Grignon reached out to Trudell in hopes of saving his 2015 harvest. Less than two weeks after feds destroyed it, he received a call from Hempstead Project Heart in which they wanted to carry out an education campaign.

When Trudell found out about the feds destroying the Menominee’s fields, he was very upset.

“He wanted to set up a legal defense fund and do whatever in his power to help us,” Grignon said. “And we took his help. But two weeks later, his cancer spread and he was taken into hospice.”

Grignon had gotten a phone call explaining this and how Trudell wanted to hire him onto Hempstead Project. Being that Trudell had been an idol of Grignon for most of his life, he felt the need to meet the man. Purely for the sake of discovering what the future held for both hemp and Native American culture.

“I flew out there and met him and he basically told me my reputation was on the line,” Grignon explains.

“When we talk about how screwed Indian country is and how dependent we are on the government, I look at hemp and I see a solution.”

“[He said] if I couldn’t get hemp legal in Wisconsin within a year then I wasn’t the person I say I am … everyone will tell you he’s the most intense individual you’ll ever speak to. And they’re absolutely correct.”

Trudell’s perspective on hemp was that “it couldn’t save us, but it could help us.”

Grignon admits he wasn’t able to make Trudell’s wish come true alone nor within a year. However, with the help of a coalition, he made hemp legal in Wisconsin.

CAN HEMP HELP BRING PROSPERITY TO INDIAN COUNTRY?

During Grignon’s time as a staff assistant for the Obama administratio, he saw many real problems he hopes to solve with hemp. This was during one of the previous times the government didn’t sustain proper funding and, in turn, partially shut down for a period of time.

Grignon saw how this affected Native American tribes who weren’t making big bucks off casinos. He knew those tribes depended on government grants. Not only does Grignon not agree with this, but it frightens him to think the Menominees can lose the ability to finance themselves whenever the government shuts down.

Grignon sees hemp as a way for the Menominees to financially sustain themselves. As a source of sustainable profit which may just bring the tribe back to their original roots.

“When we talk about how screwed Indian country is and how dependent we are on the government, I look at hemp and I see a solution.”

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UPDATE: Drug Charges Against Nebraska CBD Shop Owners Dropped

Last week, police raided a Nebraska CBD shop and arrested the owners. Now co-owners Heather Beguin and her son Dreyson Beguin face felony charges. Despite hemp’s recent legalization, police inside CBD is a “controlled substance.”

Update JANUARY 14, 2019: The state dropped all criminal charges against the Beguins. Charges were dropped “without prejudice,” meaning the state could choose to reintroduce them again at a later date. 

“We are thankful the development,” said attorney Maren Chaloupka in an emailed statement. Chaloupka, from the Scottsbluff-based firm Chaloupka, Holyoke, Snyder, Chaloupka & Longoria, represented the Beguin’s in the case, thanks to the financial assistance of CBD vendors Medterra. Chaloupka told us:

“The Beguins want to provide a homeopathic alternative that is drug-free, to help customers avoid addictive pharmaceuticals. We hope that the Nebraska Legislature will clarify that products that don’t contain THC and don’t get the user high are not illegal, and that the small businesses offering those products are not criminals.”

Update DECEMBER 26, 2018: A second Nebraska CBD shop, located in Bellevue, Nebraska, just south of Omaha, is now under threat from authorities. Though the American Shaman store operated without issue for the past 3 months, police gave owners 2 weeks to close down or face legal action. We’ll continue to update this article as this situation develops.

Last week, police raided a Nebraska CBD shop and arrested the owners.

KB Natural Alternatives, a CBD store in the small city of Scottsbluff, was only open for a day when about a dozen officers arrived to shut them down, according to owners Heather Beguin and her son Dreyson. Now, the pair face felony drug charges. Police accuse them of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to sell it to the public.

The arrests occurred just days before the December 20, 2018 passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which fully removed hemp and all hemp-derived substances like CBD from the Controlled Substances Act.

The Beguins’ store sold products by Medterra, a well-known CBD company that creates products from legal industrial hemp. Medterra’s products are rigorously tested to show that they don’t contain illegal amounts of THC, the active ingredient in psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) which makes people feel high.

In an email, Medterra leadership told us they’re standing by the Beguins and will cover the pair’s legal expenses.

“As a company, Medterra stands behind the legality of our products and our partners right to sell it,” wrote Jay Hartenbach, Medterra’s CEO. “The CBD industry is one of compassion and we fully intend to support our partners as they help us raise awareness to those in need.”

Dreyson and Heather Beguin pose in front of their Scottsbluff, Nebraska CBD shop. Dreyson and his mother Heather Beguin, co-owners of a Nebraska CBD shop, now face felony charges. Police claim that CBD is a "controlled substance."

Dreyson (left) and his mother Heather Beguin, co-owners of a Nebraska CBD shop, previously faced felony charges. Police claimed that CBD is a “controlled substance.” (Photo credit: Beguin family)

Despite this welcome assistance, the Beguins are still struggling with the emotional, physical, financial and legal consequences of their arrests.

“I know and believe in what we’re doing, but this has set me and my body back after I worked so hard to recover,” said a distraught-sounding Heather, when we spoke by phone.

SHOP OWNER DISCOVERED CBD AFTER CAR WRECK

Heather discovered the benefits of CBD in the painful aftermath of a July 2018 car accident. As a recovering opiate addict, she wanted to avoid using the pain medication doctors prescribed after the wreck.

“I wasn’t really thrilled about putting [opiates] back into my body because of the risk that maybe I still like that feeling.”

Trying to “tough it out” through the pain only slowed her healing, however. Dreyson, who was living in Florida at the time, suggested CBD.

“If you can’t rest, you can’t heal,” she recalled Dreyson telling her. After she found that topical CBD helped ease her lingering pain and inflammation, she wanted to find a way to share CBD with others. Soon, Dreyson moved back home to Scottsbluff to help her open KB Natural Alternatives.

NEBRASKA CBD SHOP ARRESTS HIGHLIGHT COMPLEXITIES OF US HEMP LAWS

Scottsbluff is a city of about 15,000 people, about 450 miles west of Omaha. At the same time as police were handcuffing the Beguins in Nebraska, people were freely smoking legal recreational cannabis just over two hours away in Colorado without fear of legal reprisal. In Austin, Texas, where this reporter lives, you can buy similar CBD oil supplements at Whole Foods’ flagship store.

This isn’t the first time that police launched a crackdown on a local CBD business selling otherwise legal products. During the summer of 2017, state police raided 57 stores selling CBD products in Indiana. In March of this year, Indiana passed a new state law clarifying that CBD oil supplements are legal.

 “I just hope our public officials learn from the other states that hemp is clearly different from marijuana.”

The timing of the Nebraska CBD shop arrests makes the severe treatment faced by the Beguins even more shocking. On December 13, a full week before the President signed the Farm Bill, the Alabama state Attorney General announced they would back down from threats to prosecute CBD vendors. Today, Michigan legislators passed a pair of bills supporting hemp, one of which clearly affirms the legality of CBD oil products.

In an interview with local news, Gunhee Park, an Omaha hemp entrepreneur, called the arrests “sad” and suggested Nebraska police and politicians should follow other states’ examples.

“I just hope our public officials learn from the other states that hemp is clearly different from marijuana,” Park told KETV anchor David Earl.

(Ministry of Hemp launched in 2014 with the help of Park’s Libertas Ventures LLC.)

Photo shows the roof and part of the light bar on a police cruiser, against a blurry urban background. Medterra CBD offered legal and financial assistance to Nebraska CBD shop owners Heather and Dreyson Beguin after their arrest. A friend also created a crowdfunding site to support the family.

Medterra CBD offered legal and financial assistance to Nebraska CBD shop owners Heather and Dreyson Beguin after their arrest. A friend also created a crowdfunding site to support the family.

POLICE RAID LEAVES NEBRASKA CBD SHOP OWNERS TRAUMATIZED

The Beguins knew opening KB Natural Alternatives posed a legal risk, but neither expected police to respond with arrests or felony charges. Heather said she even knows of people in Scottsbluff selling CBD online.

Before opening, Heather and Dreyson visited the local police chief. The pair brought along a sample of Medterra’s CBD products and lab tests proving that Medterra is free from illegal THC. Though the chief insisted CBD is illegal in Nebraska, he refused when Heather offered to leave the products behind. Now, the pair are facing felony charges for possessing the same supplements.

KB Natural Alternatives opened on December 13. The following afternoon, police arrived in force, arresting both owners. Police even detained and interrogated Heather’s friend that was visiting the shop. Officers refused to show the Beguin’s a search warrant, then spent hours coming through the shop.

Heather was bonded out of jail after just a few hours, because her mother and Heather’s youngest son unexpectedly dropped by the store to find police there instead of Heather and Dreyson. The younger son had a “bad feeling” that led them to check on his mother.

“We’re a very connected family,” Heather said. “We’re very close.”

The family couldn’t afford to do the same for Dreyson, so he spent the weekend in jail. He wasn’t released until late afternoon on Monday.

Dreyson and Heather were clearly shaken by their experience. Both sounded near tears at various points during our phone conversation. Though Dreyson said spending the weekend in jail was hard, he sounded more upset about seeing his mother arrested.

Even after just one day of business, other Scottsbluff residents worry about losing access to CBD.

“I have customers calling me crying, texting me,” Heather said.

MEDTERRA OFFERS LEGAL ASSISTANCE TO NEBRASKA CBD SHOP OWNERS

We interviewed Heather and Dreyson Beguin on Wednesday, December 19. By Thursday, Medterra had been in touch to offer their support.

“We started this company to create products that help our friends and family, Medterra cofounder J.P. Larsen told us. “Our core value of helping people will always be our number one priority.”

Hartenbach told us he was helping the Beguin family find an attorney, and that Medterra would cover their attorney fees. Larsen seemed confident that they would win the case. Both legal precedent and the newly passed Farm Bill are on their side.

“We feel way more confident now, just the humiliation is taking a toll.”

“The Beguins took every step possible to ensure that they were selling Federally-compliant and quality CBD products,” Larsen wrote. “We hope that this case, such as many others, will be dismissed once the proper facts are conveyed.”

Reached today by Facebook messenger, Heather said she feels relieved.

“We feel way more confident now, just the humiliation is taking a toll.”

WILL NEBRASKA EMBRACE A HEMPY FUTURE, OR REMAIN STUCK IN THE PAST?

Nebraska officials seem unmoved by the landmark hemp legalization signed into law this week, at least according to Suzanne Gage, spokesperson for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson.

“Unless amended by the Nebraska Legislature, all CBD products in Nebraska are still illegal under the Nebraska Uniformed Controlled Substance Act,” Gage told KETV. “The recently passed Farm Bill did not alter existing Nebraska law on this issue at this point in time.”

Statements like these make Gunhee Park afraid that his state is going to miss out on a billion dollar industry, along with hemp’s numerous other benefits.

“For our state to so staunchly say no, especially being an agricultural state, is confounding.”

Although Medterra is stepping up to support the Beguins, they’ll still have numerous additional expenses to deal with in the aftermath of their arrests and the closure of their business.

A close friend, Melinda Walsh, established a GoFundMe fundraiser to support Heather and Dreyson Beguin. Ministry of Hemp donated, and we encourage our readers and others in the hemp industry to help out if they can.

Both Heather and Dreyson will return to court later this month for preliminary court hearings. We’ll continue to update this story as it develops.

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Bees Love Hemp: 23 Species Of Bees Attracted To Colorado Hemp

With bee populations dwindling worldwide, hemp presents a tantalizing possibility. A graduate student studied bees in a University of Colorado hemp field, and the results are intriguing.

Preliminary research suggests bees love hemp, creating the potential that hemp could help save the bees.

According to Greenpeace, there’s been an alarming decline in bee populations since the 1990s. The main causes seem to be bee-killing pesticides often used for industrial agriculture. Though there’s lots of speculation on how to solve the issue, a recent study has found that hemp might offer a prominent source of pollen for bees.

Colton O’Brien, an entomology student at Colorado State University’s Graduate School, got involved with two experimental hemp plots. O’Brien was lucky enough to have access to the fields during the first year’s experiments as they were originally kept in secret.

He recalled the first time he stepped onto the university’s hemp fields, he became overwhelmed by “lots and lots of buzzing.”

STUDYING BEES AND HEMP

A lightbulb struck within O’Brien as he became aware that bees were using hemp, that they “find it attractive.” What O’Brien wanted to know was how hemp fields contributed to the ecosystems of these bees.

A closeup of a swarm of dozens of honeybees. Do bees love hemp? Preliminary research found 23 different bee species were attracted to Colorado hemp fields.

Do bees love hemp? Preliminary research found 23 different bee species were attracted to Colorado hemp fields.

“I had asked if I could set up a couple of traps while [the hemp] was in full bloom,” O’Brien tells us, in regards to the second year of these experimental plots. “And I happened to know a couple of folks in the hemp lab and they said sure.”

Since O’Brien works out of a Pollination Biology lab at his university, his main interest for these traps was finding out what bees are attracted to the pollen given off by hemp.

With the traps, they were able to confirm that the bees were collecting pollen from hemp. This is vital as it’s been determined without pollinators like bees, much of the world’s food supply is at risk. In fact, without bees pollinating in general, about one-third of the food we know today would vanish.

THESE BEES LOVE HEMP: 23 OF 66 COLORADO BEE SPECIES ATTRACTED TO HEMP

Colorado is home to 66 unique bee species. O’Brien found that 23 of these 66 gravitated towards the hemp fields and fell into his trap. Though he can’t be certain, O’Brien believes these are the first experiments studying bees within a cannabis field.

“We found bees not only utilizing the pollen, but we also found parasites of certain bees,” O’Brien explains. “Like parasites of digger bees and sunflower bees. And even though they might not have been taken pollen directly from hemp, they were utilizing what the other bees were bringing in.”

O’Brien makes it clear he believes the hemp fields created “the dynamics of an ecosystem” which might not have existed without the cannabis plant.

A close up photo of bees crawling on honeycomb. Many questions remain about how bees and hemp interact, including whether the plant's naturally occurring chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, have any effect on the insects.

Many questions remain about how bees and hemp interact, including whether the plant’s naturally occurring chemical compounds, or cannabinoids, have any effect on the insects.

There still isn’t enough research to be certain as to what hemp pollen does for bees. For example, we don’t yet know whether hemp pollen will be a good source of nutrients to bee larva. All O’Brien can confirm is there weren’t many other plants within the area of these hemp plots producing pollen.

BEES LOVE HEMP, BUT RESEARCH IS JUST BEGINNING

Upon reaching out to O’Brien, he informed us his manuscript was still undergoing a review process. Due to this, he wasn’t able to share all the results he believes he may have found. However, he also admits this was a very baseline experiment.

“I think there’s a lot of questions that have opened up from this. Like, what is potentially the nutritional value of hemp pollen to bees? I understand hemp only contains 0.3% THC, but how does that affect a tiny, tiny organism? Is it the same standard?”

The cannabis plant contains dozens of naturally occurring compounds, or cannabinoids, many of which seem to have distinct effects on humans (and potentially bees as well).

Starting with these questions, O’Brien hopes to conduct more studies on the matter during the 2019 cultivation season. He also hopes that crop scientists creating pest-control strategies for hemp will keep the safety of bees in mind.

With all this in mind, it’s clear there’s still a lot to learn about hemp and its potential environmental benefits.

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