Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Category: Hemp News

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.

Update DECEMBER 20, 2018: A compromise was struck over this felony ban in the final text of the 2018 Farm Bill. Read our full analysis of legal hemp in the USA!

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.

1 Comment on Hemp Legalization Amendment Bans People With Drug Convictions From Hemp Industry

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 DECEMBER 20, 2018: The Farm Bill became law this afternoon and hemp is legal in the United States again!

Update DECEMBER 12, 2018: The 2018 Farm Bill just passed the U.S. House of Representatives after passing the Senate, including the landmark amendment that will fully legalize industrial hemp at the federal level! The amendment fully removes hemp and derivatives of it from the control of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and opens up massive possibilities for the hemp industry, American agriculture, and health and science to name a few. There was even a partial compromise on the most troubling part of the law, which restricted people with felony convictions from being part of the industry.

Pres. Trump is expected to sign the omnibus bill into law before the year ends, though the timeline is unclear at this time. We’ll have more updates soon!

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.

7 Comments on 2018 Farm Bill Could Fully Legalize Industrial Hemp In USA

HIA Vs. DEA Decision: What The Dismissal Means For The Hemp Industry

When a federal court dismissed a lawsuit between the Hemp Industries Association and the DEA, misinformation about the ruling quickly spread online. Since we’re hemp advocates, we knew we had to get to the bottom of the HIA vs. DEA decision and what it means for the industry.

The HIA vs. DEA decision, a ruling in a landmark lawsuit by the hemp industry, has caused a lot of confusion about CBD’s legal status.

The Hemp Industries Association sued the Drug Enforcement Administration last year in an effort to overturn a DEA rule declaring CBD oil illegal. When the court dismissed the case on April 30, based on what was essentially a technical matter, misinformation about the ruling quickly spread online. Since we’re hemp advocates and supporters of access to CBD oil, we knew we had to get to the bottom of the HIA vs. DEA decision and what it means for the industry.

“Our hope was that they would withdraw the rule or go back through the traditional rule making progress,” said Colleen Keahey, executive director at the HIA.

Rather than hear their argument, the court ruled that their case was invalid because the HIA hadn’t participated in an official comment period which took place years ago. Keahey pointed out that the comment period was in 2011, while the DEA waited until 2016 to suddenly claim that CBD is illegal.

The HIA vs. DEA decision prompted misleading media stories suggesting CBD was now illegal.

A statue of Lady Justice holding her scales. The HIA vs. DEA decision prompted misleading media stories suggesting CBD was now illegal.

While the hemp industry can chalk the ruling up as a loss, all is not as it seems. In fact, the DEA may have been forced to admit that CBD products derived from hemp are actually legal after all.

CBD AND THE DEA: WHY THE HEMP INDUSTRY LAUNCHED A LAWSUIT

While marijuana, the form of cannabis that makes people feel high, remains illegal at a federal level, most legal experts agree the same isn’t true for industrial hemp.

The 2014 Farm Bill, which Pres. Barack Obama signed in that year, declared industrial hemp legal as long as it’s grown under a state-run hemp program. According to Vote Hemp, 15 states grew hemp last year for a total of over 25,000 acres. One of the most popular products made from this hemp is CBD, or cannabidiol, an extract of hemp which science suggests has numerous healing benefits.

The DEA has tried to claim that all CBD is illegal, even when it’s made from legal hemp. Though CBD remains available, at least online, in almost every part of the U.S., the DEA rule has caused a great deal of legal confusion. States like Wisconsin and Indiana have struggled with the legality of CBD. One Indiana resident narrowly escaped drug possession charges for CBD before a new law passed that declared CBD fully legal in that state.

The HIA were joined in their lawsuit by several other hemp advocates, all of whom hoped that the case could clear up this confusing legal landscape.

HIA VS. DEA DECISION FORCES GOVERNMENT TO UPDATE POLICIES

Another major party to the suit was Hoban Law Group, well-known specialists in cannabis law. In a statement to their clients which was shared with Ministry of Hemp, Hoban Law collectively fired back against the rumors and misconceptions swirling around the HIA vs. DEA decision.

“Contrary to many media reports suggesting otherwise, the Court’s ruling does not find that industrial hemp, or derivatives or extracts of hemp, are illegal,” they wrote. “In fact, this ruling should not be understood to practically impact the hemp industry in an adverse way and does provide some clarity.”

According to the statement, in dismissing the case the court stated that the Farm Bill actually supersedes the Controlled Substances Act. The CSA is the anti-drug law the DEA tried to use to argue that CBD is illegal. Essentially, the court said that when the CSA conflicts the Farm Act, the Farm Act — and legal hemp and CBD — win out.

“This is good news for the hemp industry,” Hoban wrote.

The HIA vs. DEA decision caused confusion, but may actually have forced the government to admit that CBD derived from hemp is legal.

A hemp farmer surveys his crop at sunset. The HIA vs. DEA decision caused confusion, but may actually have forced the government to admit that CBD derived from hemp is legal.

Rod Kight, another well known legal advocate for cannabis, struck a cautious note in his May 2 analysis of the HIA vs. DEA decision.

“The outcome was not entirely awful,” he wrote on his blog Kight on Cannabis.

Kight pointed to a clarification on CBD that the DEA published soon after the court case began. While the DEA’s statement is confusingly written, it states that “CBD is not illegal, per se,” as long as it’s derived from a legal source like hemp. Though the DEA admitted CBD was always legal, it’s clear the question of CBD’s legality is still not settled.

“On the one hand, nothing has changed and life in the wake of this ruling is the same as it was before the ruling,” Kight wrote. “On the other hand, things are more confusing than ever.”

CBD LAWSUIT DECISION HIGHLIGHTS THE NEED FOR LEGAL CHANGE

The lawsuit could be appealed but, according to Keahey, the Hemp Industries Association is keeping their options open.

“As of April 30, we have 45 days to decide and our board of directors and our legal counsel and our co-petitioners are just putting together thoughts and opinions and reviewing potential strategies,” she said. “We’ve got some time so we’re going to take it and make sure we do our due diligence to take the appropriate action.”

Overall, most hemp experts don’t seem to think the results of this lawsuit will have much effect on the industry. CBD supplements continue to sell online and in most states. However, cases like these highlight the need for legal change at the federal level. A Senate bill called the “Hemp Farming Act of 2018” could fully legalize hemp and derivatives like CBD, taking them out of the hands of the DEA once and for all. Originally sponsored by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the bill is rapidly gaining bipartisan support.

Regardless of whether they appeal the court case, Keahey said she’s excited for the upcoming Hemp History Week, which the Hemp Industries Association cosponsors with the nonprofit Vote Hemp and others. Taking place from June 4 through 10 in 2018, Hemp History Week is a major annual grassroots campaign that raises awareness about the benefits of this crop and the many ways it can be used.

This year, the campaign is perfectly timed to draw attention to the need for full hemp legalization and encourage voters to lobby their lawmakers.

“We hope we get more response from constituents to Congress than ever before,” Keahey told us.

 

logo_leaf_dark-grey1

DISCOVER THE TOP CBD BRANDS

The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

No Comments on HIA Vs. DEA Decision: What The Dismissal Means For The Hemp Industry

Largest NoCo Hemp Expo Ever Outgrows Loveland, Colorado

On April 6 and 7, thousands of people flocked to the Ranch Events Center in rural Loveland, Colorado, for the fifth and largest ever annual NoCo Hemp Expo. The sold-out event featured a crowd of 6,000 people in attendance over the two days, according to a press release issued by the event organizers.

Interest in hemp and CBD is growing faster than ever, and the crowds at the NoCo Hemp Expo prove it.

On April 6 and 7, thousands of people flocked to the Ranch Events Center in rural Loveland, Colorado, for the fifth and largest ever annual NoCo Hemp Expo. The sold-out event featured a crowd of 6,000 people in attendance over the two days, according to a press release issued by the event organizers.

The NoCo Hemp Expo outgrew its currrent location in Loveland, Colorado

6,000 people attended the NoCo Hemp Expo over two days, overflowing the space at the Ranch Events Center in Loveland, Colorado. Next year’s event will take place in Denver. (Ministry of Hemp)

With almost 1,500 more people than in 2017 and 150 vendors, the NoCo Hemp Expo has gotten so large that organizers will move it to Denver next year. Vendors ranged from the best of hemp fashion to innovative foods infused with CBD oil, as well as new offerings for hemp farmers.

“The interest level for this plant and all that it can do was overwhelming,” said NoCo Hemp Expo co-founder Morris Beegle.

Ministry of Hemp attended the NoCo Hemp Expo this year, conducting interviews with some of the top figures in the hemp industry, and sampling new products for review. We’ll have much more in upcoming weeks, but below is a short synopsis.

NOCO HEMP EXPO REVEALS EXCITEMENT ABOUT THE FUTURE OF HEMP & CBD

The Expo took place at a virtual “crossroads” for industrial hemp in the United States. Enabled by provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp growers in 19 states produced over 25,000 acres of hemp last year. However, the industry is still plagued by government interference over issues like water rights and the DEA’s interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act as it pertains to CBD.

The Noco Hemp Expo featured hemp goods from around the world.

Hemp products from around the world on display at HempToday’s “global village” booth at the NoCo Hemp Expo. (Ministry of Hemp)

Many attendees, whether hemp advocates, vendors, or representatives of nonprofits, felt that these hurdles could soon be removed, leading to explosive growth for hemp in the U.S. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which was just introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell, could fully legalize hemp, and the industry seems ready to take advantage of this change should it occur in 2018.

“This is really the beginning of a strong new movement,” declared Arran Stephens, co-founder of Nature’s Path Foods and one of the NoCo Hemp Expo’s keynote speakers.

U.S. HEMP IS TAKING OFF LIKE A JETPACK

At the culmination of the NoCo Hemp Expo’s second day, Apollo Flight Labs launched a jetpack for a brief flight around the Ranch Event Center, sponsored by Willpower Products, makers of a new CBD-infused protein powder.

The NoCo Hemp Expo featured parents' guides to educating kids about hemp & cannabis

Kris Morwood, co-author of the Hana Hemp and Callie Cannabis parents’ guidebooks, poses with one of her books at the NoCo Hemp Expo. (Ministry of Hemp)

At the expo, Ministry of Hemp met diverse members of the hemp industry. We interviewed the creators of the Callie and Friends series of parents guides to hemp and cannabis, and representatives of Sana Packaging, creators of sustainable packaging that aims to replace disposable, single use paper and plastic with hemp. We took in panels on indigenous use of hemp and the development of hemp fashion. We even sampled Hempway Foods vegan hemp veggie burgers and queso and Steepfuze CBD-infused coffee.

In all, industrial hemp feels like a jetpack, ready to blast off, if we just can remove the final legal barriers to its success.

Be sure to LIKE the Ministry of Hemp on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter to see up all our upcoming coverage from the NoCo Hemp Expo.

 

logo_leaf_dark-grey1

DISCOVER THE TOP CBD BRANDS

The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

No Comments on Largest NoCo Hemp Expo Ever Outgrows Loveland, Colorado

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.

 

logo_leaf_dark-grey1

DISCOVER THE TOP CBD BRANDS

The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

No Comments on Mitch McConnell Wants To Legalize Hemp With New Farming Bill

Indiana CBD Law Ends Police Raids On Vendors & Months Of Legal Confusion

A new Indiana CBD law makes the supplement legal for all residents without a prescription, ending months of confusion and police raids caused by a previour bill. The new law could also serve as a model for other states looking to address the legality and purity of CBD oil supplements.

A new Indiana CBD law makes the supplement legal for all residents without a prescription, ending months of confusion. It could also serve as a model for other states looking to address the legality and purity of CBD oil.

Last year, Indiana state police interpreted a state law designed to help people with epilepsy access CBD as a mandate to raid vendors who were selling it for other purposes. While CBD is known to relieve symptoms of severe epilepsy, its benefits are numerous and its popularity is growing fast nationwide. Legislators insisted they’d never intended to spur a police crackdown, necessitating the new bill which was signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday.

Now, “any consumer in Indiana by state law can consume hemp products with CBD without any repercussions,” said Brian Furnish, a hemp farmer from Kentucky and the president of the US Hemp Roundtable. Furnish served as a consultant to several Indiana legislators and their staff during the process of writing and passing the bill to legalize CBD.

a new Indiana CBD law makes CBD available to everyone without a prescription

Though the 2014 Farm Bill legalized hemp research and hemp products like CBD oil, the DEA and other federal and state agencies have challenged the supplement’s legality, necessitating the new Indiana CBD law.

While many experts insist that CBD is already legal under the terms of the 2014 Farm Bill, some government agencies have disagreed, leaving the supplement in a gray area. The Indiana CBD law, which is the first in the country like it, also imposes new labeling requirements on CBD which could help consumers make more informed purchases.

FLAWED EPILEPSY LAW LED TO POLICE RAIDS AND CONSUMER ANXIETY

Over the summer, police raided 57 stores across Indiana, seizing over 3,000 products from a variety of vendors from smoke shops to natural food stores, according to a September 2017 investigation by The Indianapolis Star. The Star’s investigation also revealed that the Indiana State Excise Police were using the epilepsy law as their justification for the raids.

It soon became clear that further legislation was necessary, especially after the state attorney general wrote an opinion agreeing that the supplement was illegal under federal law, despite many hemp advocates and lawyers arguments to the contrary.

The 2014 Farm Bill made industrial hemp legal again in the U.S. as part of state research programs. Lawyers for the hemp industry have argued that its language is broad enough to include market research, such as sales of hemp-based products like CBD. Other legal precedents protect the legality of hemp foods. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration insists that CBD remains illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, leading to a recent, ongoing lawsuit by the hemp industry. There have also been a handful of police seizures of CBD products in other states.

While CBD users haven’t faced legal repercussions, consumers in Indiana were understandably anxious about being able to access this beneficial supplement and the raids were extremely costly for vendors. Fortunately, the Governor halted police seizures of CBD once it became clear the legislature intended to address the matter.

HEMP EXPERTS HELP POLICYMAKERS CRAFT NEW INDIANA CBD LAW

An 8th-generation tobacco farmer who has watched the tobacco industry disappear, Brian Furnish helped lobby for both the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill and the hemp research laws in his home state of Kentucky.

“Hemp has allowed us to stay on the farm and its allowed a lot of farmers to stay on the farm, and it’ll continue to do so in all of the agricultural states I hope can get to grow it eventually,” he told us.

Furnish was originally invited to testify to the state senate about his experience as a farmer in support of a bill to legalize hemp growing, which he expects will pass in a future session of the Indiana General Assembly. However, he soon found himself called upon to talk to lawmakers about CBD as well.

Lawmakers at the Indiana General Assembly consulted with hemp experts to craft the new Indiana CBD law

Legislators in both houses of Indiana’s General Assembly consulted with hemp experts like Brian Furnish to help create the new Indiana CBD law.

“I met the Governor’s office, his legislative staff. I met the Senate staff, I met the House staff, and they started commenting and asking a lot of questions about what they should do and shouldn’t do.”

After consulting with experts like Furnish, the result was Senate Enrolled Act 52, a remarkably progressive bill which allows essentially unrestricted access to CBD for residents. After some debate, the final bill doesn’t explicitly legalize CBD manufacture in the state, but a future hemp growing bill could address this.

INDIANA’S CBD LABELING REQUIREMENTS COULD PROTECT CONSUMERS & FARMERS

The Indiana CBD law also imposes new labeling requirements. Every CBD product sold in Indiana stores will be required to have a QR code linking to detailed information about the product’s strength, purity and origins.

According to another IndyStar report, some in the industry called the labeling requirements an undue burden. Furnish had a different opinion. Stressing that he was speaking only as an individual hemp farmer (rather than in his role as president of the Hemp Roundtable), he suggested the requirements will make consumers safer and encourage them to purchase CBD made from U.S-grown hemp.

“A QR code helps protect the American farmer and it highlights the American farmer.” Furnish grows hemp for Ananda Hemp, whose products are “fully traceable from seed to shelf.”

Hemp Harvest. New Indiana CBD law should promote sales of CBD in Indiana.

A farmer harvests hemp with a tractor under a cloudy sky. Clear labeling of CBD products, as required under the new Indiana CBD law, would protect consumers and U.S. hemp farmers.

As an unregulated supplement, the CBD industry has been plagued by low quality CBD products. Reputable vendors already offer third-party lab results and clear information about the purity and strength of their products, so Furnish believes the new requirements will be relatively easy to comply with.

FURNISH: INDIANA CBD LAW WILL MAKE THE STATE A LEADER IN CBD SALES

While CBD sales may have dipped in Indiana during the months of uncertainty, Furnish expects explosive growth in the future.

“Indiana will be the number one CBD selling state in the United States probably pretty soon for most companies,” he said.

Not only will consumers feel confident about the safety of the products they’re buying, but the media coverage likely led many to educate themselves about CBD.

“People start seeing that CBD is in the news and hemp is in the news and it’s not marijuana and it creates an educational process that we couldn’t possibly spend enough money to pay for, and it’s happening for free.”

While the US Hemp Roundtable hopes to assist other states where police have raided CBD vendors, he hopes that won’t be necessary for long. Furnish suggested that Indiana’s CBD law could be a model for other states to adopt, just as Kentucky’s agriculture laws can guide states that are considering hemp growing programs.

“I just think hemp’s the crop of the future especially for farmers in my area of the country,” Furnish concluded.

 

logo_leaf_dark-grey1

DISCOVER THE TOP CBD BRANDS

The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

1 Comment on Indiana CBD Law Ends Police Raids On Vendors & Months Of Legal Confusion

Texas Hemp & Garden Show Educates Austin & SXSW Visitors About Hemp

The Texas hemp industry is booming despite the obstacles faced by Lone Star State entrepreneurs. That’s the message of the Texas Hemp and Garden Show, which took place in March in Austin, Texas, near the heart of the popular SXSW festival and not far from the capitol building.

The Texas hemp industry is booming despite the obstacles faced by Lone Star State entrepreneurs.

That’s the message of the Texas Hemp and Garden Show, which took place on March 13 and 14 in Austin, Texas, at a downtown nightclub near the heart of the popular SXSW festival and not far from the capitol building.

2018 marked the Hemp and Garden Show’s second year, and there were about a dozen different vendors or organizations represented when I dropped in on the second day. Activists helped passersby fill out voter registration cards on the sidewalk, a DJ spun tunes from a small stage outside, and inside a succession of experts spoke about topics ranging from agriculture to the war on drugs. At night, musicians took over for the speakers including a surprise appearance from rapper Lil’ Flip.

“To get the vendors from other states that have legal programs interested in showcasing here in Austin was very exciting,” said Mónica Enriquez, one of the organizers of the event.

Enriquez saw the Texas Hemp and Garden Show as an opportunity to educate locals about this beneficial but misunderstood plant while simultaneously bringing national attention to the state’s burgeoning hemp industry. While Texas hasn’t yet legalized industrial hemp, there are signs of slow progress for cannabis in the region.

‘WE’RE GOING TO BE THE BEST STATE’: A FUTURE FOR TEXAS HEMP

“A lot of people are surprised that Texas does have a medical marijuana program in effect,” explained Enriquez. “Once upon a time, Gov. Greg Abbott said that would never happen under his tenure so that’s already a very promising sign of some change for us.”

the Texas hemp industry faces opposition, but also increasing support at the Texas Capitol

The Texas Capitol building in Austin. The Texas hemp industry is growing despite legal barriers, and there are signs of a slow but positive change in state policy toward cannabis as a whole.

Under the current program in Texas, a very limited number of patients with severe epilepsy are able to access low-THC CBD oil made from cannabis grown in the state, but there’s already talk of expanding the program to include more residents.

While hemp research is legal nationwide under the 2014 Farm Bill, the law left it up to each individual state to create a legal hemp program, something Texas has resisted so far. Enriquez credits groups like the Texas MAMMAs (Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism) with changing attitudes for the better. Another group working on legalization, and one which had a booth at the Hemp and Garden Show, is Foundation For An Informed Texas, which is focusing on educating rural parts of the state about the benefits of cannabis.

The Texas legislature won’t meet again until early 2019, giving advocates like Enriquez time to build a groundswell of support for changing Texas hemp law.

“With the legal program there, we’re not going to be the last state, and hopefully we’re going to be the best state,” she said.

“We’re very hopeful for Texas and obviously if federal law changes than our battle is won.”

TEXAS HEMP AND GARDEN SHOW CREATES EDUCATION & NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

Along with her husband, Enriquez started Lazy Daze Counterculture, an Austin smoke shop that soon expanded to multiple locations around the country. This led the pair to found Texas Green Rusht to help entrepreneurs and other Texas hemp advocates and professionals network and support each other through shared challenges.

“There’s a lot of different issues that come up running a business in this industry even though our business has nothing to do with touching the plant,” she said.

This in turn led to the creation of the Hemp and Garden Show to capitalize on the massive influx of attention and visitors SXSW brings to Austin. “We really wanted to show what Texas has to offer the rest of the country when it comes to this industry.”

One highlight of the show was a panel of Texas veterans advocating for access to medical marijuana. “That was a very exciting panel, my father’s a veteran and the veteran issue is very important, for us to provide that service to those who have served us.”

In addition to several different CBD brands and a pretzel vendor (they were delicious!), the show also featured a booth representing Dr. Bronners and their Hemp History Week organization.

Another unique vendor was Colorado Hemp Honey, which offered CBD oil infused honey in a variety of flavors. I grabbed a jar of the ginger flavor and hope to review it in the future here on Ministry of Hemp.

“It really was like a ‘Field of Dreams’ experience — if you build it they will come — and we were really excited that other people were excited about what we were doing,” Enriquez told me.

If the enthusiastic response to the Hemp and Garden show is any indication, then hemp has a bright future in Texas.

 

logo_leaf_dark-grey1

DISCOVER THE TOP CBD BRANDS

The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

No Comments on Texas Hemp & Garden Show Educates Austin & SXSW Visitors About Hemp

Hemp As Medicine | A History of Hemp As Medicine Since Ancient China

Hemp has been helping people heal for millennia. Like with many plants, we can’t be sure when people first began experimenting with hemp for medicinal purposes, but the first recorded use of hemp as medicine goes back to ancient China.

Hemp has been helping people heal for millennia.

Like with many plants, we can’t be sure when people first began experimenting with hemp for medicinal purposes. That said, Carl Sagan believed hemp was likely one of the first crops cultivated.

Most plants are used first in folk remedies. These aren’t necessarily written down for a long time, passing down via oral traditions. There is a good chance that hemp was used medicinally long before the effects were recorded.

One thing to keep in mind as you read this is that there isn’t necessarily a lot of distinction between hemp and marijuana in historical texts. What is clear, though, is the long history of using hemp for multiple purposes, researching its effectiveness on a variety of symptoms and maladies. While we’ve lost a lot of this knowledge due to research restrictions and the passage of time, we are finally beginning to reclaim and rediscover new things about hemp every day.

HEMP AS MEDICINE IN ANCIENT TIMES

Ancient China is where we first encounter medicinal use of hemp. From around 6000 BCE on, hemp was used in tools, clothing, shoes, and food.

It wasn’t until 2737 BCE that there is written evidence of hemp as medicine. Emperor Shen-Nung developed topical hemp oils and teas to aid in pain relief. He wrote his findings in the first editions of the Pen Ts’ao Ching. Later on, other pharmacopoeias would list the medicinal effects of flowers, leaves, and seeds of the cannabis plant. Hua Tuo was the first person on record to use cannabis as an anesthetic in the second century. He notes that this plant can also aid in the treatment of blood clots, tapeworms, and hair loss.

hemp as medicine in ancient times

Hemp has likely been used as a natural herbal medicine since very ancient times. The first written use of hemp as medicine comes from ancient China.

The Romans had a long history of hemp use. Circa 77 AD, Pliny the Elder noted how helpful hemp was for the extraction of insects from ears and for pain relief. However, he made sure to note excessive use can negatively affect sexual performance. Around the same time, Disocorides wrote a pharmacopeia listing the medical benefits of hemp. These include assisting with ear pain, stomach-related issues, and burns. By 200 AD, Galen mentions again the ability of hemp to relieve pain, but notes that it can cause stomach pain, headaches, and dehydration.

Cannabis use was popular among many people in Middle Eastern regions, especially due to the prohibition on alcohol from Islam. With the abundance of the plant, it’s no surprise that physicians knew hemp well. They were aware of and noted the many benefits of the plant — it was found to be anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, anti-emetic, anti-epileptic, diuretic, and more.

These are far from the only regions known to utilize hemp plants medicinally. In India, the Atharvaveda lists hemp as a sacred grass. They’ve used pastes, drinks, and parts of the plant both medicinally and recreationally for centuries. Hemp has been found buried with Ancient Greeks. Egyptians wrote about using hemp in an eyewash in the Ramesseum III Papyri. Later writing would highlight both pain relief and inflammation.

Across regions and history, one thing seems clear — hemp was being used for pain relief.

THE HISTORY OF HEMP MEDICINE IN THE WESTERN WORLD

Hemp spread across the world through travel and use as fibers. Across Europe, hemp was used to treat tumors and coughs — as well as recreationally. By the sixteenth century, hemp was one of the main crops grown in England. In 1533, Henry VIII commanded farmers to grow hemp or face a fine. During this century, physicians Garcia de Orta and Li Shih-Chen discovered new uses for the plant — to improve appetite and as an antibiotic, respectively.

By the seventeenth century, hemp had made it to North America. It was grown in Jamestown and other colonies for use in clothing, building materials, and sails. In 1619, the Virginia Assembly passed a familiar law mandating each farmer to grow hemp. Similar laws would be passed in Massachusetts and Connecticut, with the plant being accepted as legal tender in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

During this time, Robert Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy” recommends hemp use to improve and treat mental health disorders. In the eighteenth century, two additional pharmacopoeias listed hemp’s many medicinal properties. “The New England Dispensatory” and “Edinburgh New Dispensatory” list hemp as a treatment for pain and skin inflammation, and cough respectively.

Despite hemp’s listing in many medical texts, one man is often credited as the main person to popularize the plant in the West — W.B. O’Shaughnessy. As an surgeon and professor at the Medical College of Calcutta in the 1800s, the Irish O’Shaughnessy was conducting experiments about cannabis indica on animals, children, and adults. He noted the analgesic effects in addition to its ability to relax muscles. Patients with rheumatic diseases, cholera, tetanus, and hydrophobia were all treated with hemp under his care. While it wasn’t necessarily a true treatment for some of these conditions, O’Shaughnessy noted it offered hope and removed some of the negative emotional effects of illness.

Just before the Civil War, the third edition of the U,S. pharmacopeia lists hemp extract. The U.S. Dispensatory does as well, adding medical cannabis. It was known to be intoxicating, yes, but also pain relieving and sleep inducing. Hemp was recommended for a variety of health issues from neuralgia and convulsions to depression and gout. At the end of the nineteenth century, Dr. JR Reynolds’ research showed improvement in tics, migraines, asthma, and dysmenorrhea.

historic pharmacy in Cuba

A historic Colonial-era pharmacy in Cuba. Western countries frequently used hemp as medicine, and extracts of cannabis were found in the standard doctor’s pharmacopeia.

At the turn of the century, hemp’s use medicinally declined thanks to the introduction of opiates and the development of the syringe. Still, medications like Chlorodyne — a cannabis and morphine combination to treat stomach issues — grew in popularity. On top of that, folk remedies and snake oil cures often included cannabis in addition to other drugs and medications.

When the war on drugs began, cannabis was prohibited, leaving patients using it for medical reasons often out of luck. In the 1970s, extracts and synthetic cannabis drugs were developed to help treat nausea associated with chemotherapy use for cancer and autoimmune conditions. Others were used to treat glaucoma as well. During this decade, the U.S. saw the beginnings of medical marijuana legalization ideals in places like New Orleans and New Mexico. While these programs helped patients with glaucoma, cancer, and other conditions, they were often short-lived due to DEA restrictions.

It wasn’t until 1996 that California would legalize medical marijuana for a number of conditions including HIV/AIDS and cancer. Arizona followed quickly. By the early 2000s, Canada legalized MMJ as well. Although research on hemp, cannabis, and marijuana is incredibly restricted in many places, the last decade has seen an increase in medications using these plants. One great example is Nabiximols (or Sativex), a THC/CBD spray used to help ease multiple sclerosis symptoms.

REEFER MADNESS AND THE WAR ON DRUGS

The twentieth century quickly saw changes in attitude towards cannabis, from intrigued to fearful. The Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 began to crack down on cannabis use by imposing restrictions on foreign and interstate traffic. Down the line, this law would also create the FDA. By 1913, California and other states began to prohibit the use of cannabis, often targeting Mexican immigrants in raids use the 1906 act.

The 1914 Harrison Act and the media — like the infamous film “Reefer Madness” — helped to turn much of the public against cannabis. The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act classified hemp and marijuana as the same thing, something that still creates roadblocks today. By this time, marijuana was banned in over twenty states. During World War II, though, regulation of these laws was lessened to aid in the production of hemp materials for the war effort.

By 1970, hemp and marijuana cultivation was banned under the Controlled Substances Act. States could allow cultivation of industrial hemp but, like dispensaries in weed-legal states today, farms could be raided by the DEA. Cannabis was labeled as a Schedule 1 drug, which has heavily restricted research over the last nearly fifty years.

REDISCOVERING HEMP AS A MEDICINE: CBD OIL & BEYOND

Because of the intense limitations posed by the war on drugs, research on cannabis has been conducted at only a few universities across the United States. There are strict rules on who can conduct the research, which funding they can use, and even what forms of cannabis are studied. Successful studies include the effects of cannabis on spinal cord injury pain, HIV neuropathy, MS spasticity, and sleep.

A row of vials of CBD oil, a nutritional extract made from hemp. Only in recent years has science begun to rediscover the benefits of medicinal hemp and cannabis.

In 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill which helped eliminate some of the issues around growing hemp so that, currently, 30 states allow industrial hemp cultivation. That number looks to be growing, too.

This is a great thing for people who rely on CBD to treat their health issues. CBD research has been going on for over two decades. It’s been shown to have incredible effects on seizures, pain, anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, fibromyalgia, cancer, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, and more. There are currently studies being done on CBD’s effects on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, and MS.

Unfortunately for people living with chronic conditions, past and current restrictions on hemp research mean a delay in relief of their symptoms. We have lost a lot of knowledge and information about hemp’s medicinal properties over the years. Many have missed out on the potential benefits hemp could bring them due to restrictions, laws, and stigma.

The good news, though, is that we are starting to rediscover this data and improve our knowledge about hemp’s medical properties.

 

logo_leaf_dark-grey1

DISCOVER THE TOP CBD BRANDS

The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

1 Comment on Hemp As Medicine | A History of Hemp As Medicine Since Ancient China

Eradicating Cannabis In Kansas: A Lost History Of Hemp Uncovered

Many people don’t know that hemp was studied at great length in agriculturally-based states like Kansas. What better location to research crops than one of the largest remaining prairie ecosystems in the world?

Many people know government agencies and private companies influenced the prohibition of cannabis and industrial hemp.

However, something many do not know is that hemp was studied at great length in agriculturally-based states like Kansas. What better location to research crops than one of the largest remaining prairie ecosystems in the world?

Ironically, since Kansas was one of the last places to end hemp prohibition, what ultimately matters most was who funded and guided those studies that helped make it illegal in the first place. Historical information I recently uncovered shows that institutional proof exists about the importance of industrial hemp in Kansas, and why its reintroduction is crucial for numerous reasons.

Farmers care deeply about the environment and decisions are based on markets, therefore understanding these lessons of our past are more important now than ever.

For decades, America’s Heartland was a large contributor to the hemp industry. In fact, according to a state agriculture report, Kansas even ranked first in the U.S. for bushels per acre in 1863. But then, during the beginning of the war on drugs, hemp was banned along with psychoactive cannabis, a.k.a. marijuana.

cannabis in Kansas, a historic image

An illustration of a hemp grower in Kansas harvesting a crop, circa 1901.

Despite prohibition, hemp simply refused to disappear from the Kansas landscape. When I was young, my father told me he participated in a project studying eradication methods of wild hemp in Riley County while earning his biology degree at Kansas State University during the 1970s. After searching for the report on and off for years, I finally found the work my father participated in, along with two others in September of 2017.

UNCOVERING THE FORGOTTEN HISTORY OF HEMP IN KANSAS

While citations can be found on the internet, full versions are restricted except by going through thousand-dollar paywalls requiring login information. After a challenging process, complete with archivists looking through original documents in a vault and sending them electronically, within a couple weeks I had one of the only (if not the first) digitized copies of “Identifying and Controlling Wild Hemp (Marijuana).”

What I found was that these reports helped legitimize the “war on drugs,” which forced millions of people into incarceration, in addition to justifying the use of taxpayer dollars for entering farmers’ lands to eradicate a plant. These efforts however, were not based on thoroughly-vetted evidence. When looking closely, the research projects benefitted competing industries because they were directly funded by chemical and pharmaceutical manufacturers. The authors also gave acknowledgements to the state’s Marijuana Control Steering Committee.

Plus these studies originated from and referenced medical research, even though the intended purpose was agriculture-based. Much of the wording reflected what the aforementioned influencers wanted to categorize the plants as a single, weed-causing infestation that had to be eliminated (since embracing it would decrease their profits and those of other industries like cotton and wood paper).

These conflicts of interest in our country’s hemp history can no longer be ignored by environmentally-conscious farming communities. One of the most important and damaging of all findings claims a farmer could either practice deep plowing, which we know now is economically inefficient, and damaging to soil health. The only other option required farmers to use tons of chemicals “without disturbance of the soil profile.” The work also documented and even encouraged methods of eradicating “wild hemp” including harmful chemicals my father used that are known to cause fertility issues and even cancer, such as 2-4-D.

A final and crucial finding admits the varieties of cannabis that grow throughout Kansas are not only low in potency, but they do not fluctuate in cannabinoid content. This means authorities knew at the time of its ratification there was not an objective or scientific justification to outlaw hemp based on the sole argument that it was thought to be a drug — because of its agricultural origins, you simply could not use this hemp to get high.

An industrial hemp plant grows tall in a densely planted farmers’ field.

A FUTURE FOR CANNABIS IN KANSAS?

Thanks to modern genetics, it is becoming more commonly accepted that cannabis cultivated for medicinal or recreational purposes cannot be grown anywhere near industrial hemp, since cross-pollination is proven to always result in decreased potency. Variations between fiber and ‘drug’ types come in many forms, ranging from physical appearance and time of harvest, to expression of certain traits.

Taking into account limitations and biases during the early years of cannabis research, this data allows us to rediscover the importance of scientific integrity. Together we have the collective responsibility to identify and accept inconsistencies we find, and prevent the suppression of information that does not result in beneficial policies for our citizens or environment.

Farmers know industrial hemp grows well in many climates and requires fewer overall resources compared to other commodities like corn and soybean. Even as a rotational option to improve successive yields of other crops, hemp is proven to help in multiple aspects. Its cultivation promotes ways of regenerative and sustainable agriculture that are desperately needed, especially in places like Kansas after decades of depleting resources for irrigating water-intensive crops. Simultaneously, our soil and ecosystems need remediation from the damage of conventional farming practices.

Through embracing modern science to reduce harm and improve our environment, farmers are in a unique position to right the wrongs of the past. They can lead the way against unfounded restrictions, like the laws restricting hemp growing, that hold back progress for us all.

Original Source:

2 Comments on Eradicating Cannabis In Kansas: A Lost History Of Hemp Uncovered

Why The Hemp Industry Is Suing The DEA Over CBD Oil | HIA vs. DEA

Hemp businesses and consumers could soon be celebrating the end of the DEA’s attempts to prevent Americans from producing or selling cannabidiol (CBD) extracts, depending on the outcome of a new lawsuit. Dozens of members of Congress have expressed their support for legal CBD oil in a brief filed in the case.

Update 5/17/2018: A court dismissed the Hemp Industries Association lawsuit on a technicality. Check out our HIA vs. DEA update for more on what this means for the hemp industry.

Hemp businesses and consumers could soon be celebrating the end of the DEA’s attempts to prevent Americans from producing or selling cannabidiol (CBD) extracts.

On Dec 14, 2016, the DEA published a new rule establishing a new drug code for “marijuana extracts.” The rule states that extracts from the “genus cannabis” plant containing any cannabinoid “will continue to be treated as Schedule I controlled substances.”

This rule poses a significant challenge to hemp producers and consumers in the U.S. who, up to now, have been legally producing and consuming CBD and hemp oil under the Agricultural Act of 2014.

The Hemp Industries Association (HIA), along with other petitioners, has challenged this rule in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In addition, a group of lawmakers have declared their support for CBD, filing a document in the case insisting that Congress already made CBD legal, and that it remains legal, thanks to the Agricultural Act.

While consumers continue to freely access CBD oil, the DEA’s rule has cast a shadow over producers and vendors, and this lawsuit could go a long way towards easing their worries.

A hearing date is set for February 15, 2018 in San Francisco, though the case could last for months.

While consumers haven’t faced any reported legal threats so far, some hemp CBD shops in states with relatively strict controlled substance laws have seen their inventory seized by local law enforcement and their operations shut down.

“The industrial hemp industry has seen exponential growth across the United States since the passage of the Farm Bill in 2014, and this case represents the most significant challenge the U.S. hemp industry has seen to date,” Garrett Graff, an attorney for the petitioners, told Ministry of Hemp.

HIA vs. DEA gavel and scales of justice

A gavel with the scales of justice behind it. The HIA vs. DEA case could have long-lasting repercussions for the hemp industry and CBD consumers.

The outcome of this lawsuit could be crucial not just for the hemp industry, but also for the thousands of people who benefit from taking CBD.

WHY THE HIA VS. DEA LAWSUIT MATTERS TO HEMP PRODUCERS & CONSUMERS

The DEA’s long war on industrial hemp dates back decades, but Congress began in earnest to correct this situation about four years ago. The Agricultural Act of 2014, better known as the 2014 Farm Bill,) created an exemption from the Controlled Substances Act by defining industrial hemp grown in an authorized research program as separate and distinct from marijuana.

Nevertheless, the DEA obstructed farmers from participating in hemp research programs, prompting a lawsuit from the state of Kentucky in 2014. Because of continued DEA obstruction of the Farm Bill, Congress was forced to pass a rider to the Omnibus Appropriations Bill in September of 2016. This rider provided that no funds may be spent by the federal government interfering in legitimate hemp research.

DOJ headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The headquarters of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. The DEA insists the CBD extracts made from hemp are illegal, despite the 2014 Farm Bill which made hemp growing and research legal in the U.S. on a limited basis (Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Sebmol, CC-BY-SA license).

Despite these two provisions of law, the DEA continues to assert publicly that CBD derived from hemp is a Schedule 1 controlled substance, sending a chill over potential hemp business investors. The case is important because the DEA’s overbroad treatment of virtually all CBD as a controlled substance has resulted in uncertainty in the blossoming hemp economy.

WHAT THE DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION GETS WRONG ABOUT CBD & HEMP

The federal Controlled Substance Act creates an exemption for the stalks and seeds of the cannabis plant as legal substances because they only contain traces of THC. Congress, in the 2014 Farm Bill, expanded this exemption of stalks and seeds to include all parts of the industrial hemp plant grown in an authorized research program, only requiring that hemp products contain 0.3 percent THC or less. But the DEA has not acknowledged this fact, as it continues to assert that any CBD extract — even one made from legal industrial hemp — is a controlled substance under federal law.

The petitioners made significant progress in the briefing stage of the case by forcing the DEA to admit that not all cannabinoids are controlled substances under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). The DEA now admits that the source of the CBD determines whether it falls under the CSA. If the source of the CBD is an exempt part of the plant (stalks and seeds), according to the DEA, then the CBD falls outside the CSA and is legal. What the petitioners argue is that the Farm Bill created an additional exemption for Farm Bill-produced hemp, which the DEA’s rule effectively wipes out. An agency cannot rewrite a law in this way, and petitioners seek a court order setting aside the rule on this basis (as well as others).

The DEA attempts to argue, without basis, that the exemption provided by the Farm Bill is a limited exemption only applying to hemp that is being grown or cultivated, and when the hemp leaves the field it magically becomes a controlled substance. This contradicts the plain language of the Farm Bill which protects research hemp “whether growing or not.” It also ignores Congress’s clear intent to grow hemp businesses in interstate commerce through marketing research involving hemp grown in research projects.

28 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR CBD IN HIA VS DEA LAWSUIT

HIA vs. DEA lawsuit could ease worries of hemp farmers

A hemp farmer inspects his crop. The HIA vs. DEA lawsuit aims to end the uncertainty around the legal status of CBD extracts made from industrial hemp.

In fact, the 28 Senators and Representatives who crafted the hemp portion of the Farm Bill emphasize this very point in a recent and potentially very significant “amicus” brief filed in the case in support of the petitioners.

“It is truly remarkable that nearly thirty elected Members of Congress have taken the opportunity to prepare an amicus brief in this matter in support of the Petitioners,” Graff said. “Congress has spoken, yet again.”

These members of Congress assert that CBD and any product derived from Farm Bill hemp is legal, so long as it adheres to only one requirement: that the THC level be 0.3 percent or less as provided in the Farm Bill.

Further, the brief states that “Congress legalized … any commercial marketing of industrial hemp extracts and derivatives, so long as the products fell under the THC threshold level.”

A DAY OF RECKONING FOR THE HEMP INDUSTRY

Hemp industry attorneys representing the petitioners in the case are cautiously optimistic, especially after receiving Congressional support.

Graff told us, “Our clients, the HIA, RMH, and Centuria Foods, are truly humbled by this show of support from Congress concerning this critical matter.”

While consumers continue to freely access CBD oil, the DEA’s rule has cast a shadow over producers and vendors, and this lawsuit could go a long way towards easing their worries.

It would appear that February 15 will be a day of reckoning for the DEA in its quest to defy Congressional intent. Regardless of the outcome of this case, hemp farmers and businesses will continue to push for federal legislation fully legalizing commercial hemp production. But a favorable ruling would bring us much closer to that outcome.

 

logo_leaf_dark-grey1

DISCOVER THE TOP CBD BRANDS

The market is getting saturated with many different CBD brands. We’ve compared the top brands to help you with your decision. Check it out.

No Comments on Why The Hemp Industry Is Suing The DEA Over CBD Oil | HIA vs. DEA

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search