Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

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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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Legal Hemp In The USA: What The 2018 Farm Bill Means For US Hemp & Agriculture

Just signed into law today by Pres. Donald Trump, the 2018 Farm Bill completely removes hemp and anything made from hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. Here’s our first look at what this means for the future of American hemp growing.

The United States just legalized hemp.

Pres. Donald Trump signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, better known as the 2018 Farm Bill, earlier today. This omnibus bill includes numerous programs and policy changes, not all of which are related to agriculture. For hemp supporters and industry professionals, it’s a cause for celebration. Hemp is now out of reach of the Drug Enforcement Administration and, with a few notable exceptions, closer to being treated like any other crop.

“It’s been a long time coming and a lot of people have put a lot of effort in to get [legal hemp] to happen,” said Courtney Moran, founding principle of Earth Law, LLC, a firm that specializes in hemp law.

Spearheaded this year by Sen. Mitch McConnell, the hemp legalization amendment was inspired by previous efforts from Rep. James Comer, and decades of advocacy work by hemp supporters nationwide. Legalizing hemp had bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Legislators softened the most problematic clause in the amendment, which bans some people with felony drug convictions from participating in the hemp industry, during negotiations between the two chambers.

One remaining uncertainty is CBD oil, the massively popular healing supplement made from hemp. Now out of reach of the DEA, negotiations with the Food & Drug Administration over the supplement’s legality could be complex.

A hand holds a hemp leaf up against the backdrop of a partly cloudy blue sky. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, the return of legal hemp in the U.S. could bring massive benefits to the budding hemp industry, to everyday people, and to the planet.

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, the return of legal hemp in the U.S. could bring massive benefits to the
budding hemp industry, to everyday people, and to the planet.

“We’re feeling terrific but the battle is not over,” said Jonathan Miller, general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, an industry advocacy organization. “We’ve got state laws that we need to deal with, we’ve got the FDA issues looming.”

Legalizing hemp in the U.S. marks a major change for American agriculture itself. We expect to cover numerous aspects of this law in the coming days, but this article offers an overview of the major changes and what we can expect next from legal hemp in the United States.

INDUSTRIAL HEMP REMOVED FROM CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT

Hemp in all its forms — whether used as food, medicine, or textile — represents one of the first crops domesticated by humans. Then, the war on drugs brought about negative associations with psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) that spilled over onto hemp, marijuana’s close cousin. The result was decades of prohibition in the U.S., broken only for a brief period of hemp growing during World War II.

The 2018 Farm Bill completely removes hemp and anything made from hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

In 2014, Pres. Barack Obama signed a previous version of the Farm Bill which partially legalized hemp under state-based research programs. In 2017, 19 states grew a total of 25,713 acres of hemp in the U.S. However, laws vary greatly even among hemp growing states. Most hemp is still imported, while a gray cloud of legal uncertainty hung over the industry due to ongoing policies tying hemp to federal drug prohibition.

Until now, the Drug Enforcement Administration argued that industrial hemp is essentially identical to psychoactive cannabis, and therefore a “Schedule I substance” under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I substances face the strictest penalties for use and are considered to have no benefit to humanity, despite the numerous benefits of all forms of cannabis.

The 2018 Farm Bill completely removes hemp and anything made from hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

“They have no right or authorization to ever be involved in this again,” Miller told us.

Advocates hope this will improve numerous policies that hurt the industry. Some vendors, especially those selling CBD oil, face legal threats. Hemp businesses routinely struggle to access banking, advertising, and other services. Ari Sherman, president of Evo Hemp, a leading vendor of U.S.-grown hemp foods, expressed his frustration with the status quo.

“We’re the only product in the grocery store that can’t be advertised,” said Sherman.

Attitudes are already changing. Even before being signed into law, the 2018 Farm Bill inspired the Alabama state attorney general to back off from plans to prosecute CBD stores.

LEGAL HEMP NOW UNDER USDA CONTROL

Regulation of hemp will now fall under the USDA, which will set national policies for the crop.

The Farm Bill does allow states to set more restrictive regulations, including banning hemp growing. It also protects the rights of Native American tribes to grow, or not grow, hemp on their lands. However, neither tribes nor states can interfere with interstate commerce surrounding hemp.

“People have been afraid that if they ship [hemp] from Colorado to Washington, what are they going to do in Idaho?” Miller said. Under the new law, “Idaho will still have to let it come through.”

The sun rises over a huge, densely packed hemp field. The 2018 Farm Bill protects the rights of Native American tribes to grow hemp, and prevents states from interfering with interstate commerce of hemp and hemp products.

The 2018 Farm Bill protects the rights of Native American tribes to grow hemp, and prevents states from interfering with interstate commerce of hemp and hemp products.

The definition of industrial hemp will remain unchanged from the 2014 Farm Bill. Only cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC will qualify as legal industrial hemp. THC, the main cannabinoid in psychoactive cannabis which makes people “feel high,” occurs in all forms of the plant but in very low levels in industrial hemp. Under current regulations, farmers must destroy destroy the entire harvest if their hemp tests at 0.4 percent or higher.

“As a Kentucky hemp farmer and processor, it is very important to me this law has passed; Kentucky farmers, and farmers across the entire U.S. will now have the ability to grow this versatile crop.” said Brian Furnish, Director of Farming & Global Production at Ananda Hemp in Cynthiana, Kentucky, Sen. McConnell’s home state.

Though the Farm Bill is now law, legalizing hemp won’t happen overnight. Until the Department of Agriculture finalizes its hemp policies, the rules of the 2014 Farm Bill will continue to officially apply.

“We hope [the USDA] look to the guidance of well-developed pilot programs, in particular Oregon and also Colorado and Kentucky,” Moran said. “Look to their guidance and [don’t] make it overly restrictive as the goal is to really open up access to farmers throughout the United States.”

LEGAL HEMP INDUSTRY STILL FACES ‘TRAGICALLY UNFAIR’ FELONY BAN

The most controversial part of the hemp legalization amendment to the Farm Bill was a clause which banned people with felony drug convictions from participating in the industry.

The legal hemp amendment originally passed by the Senate banned anyone with a felony drug conviction from participating in the hemp industry. People like Veronica Carpio, who has been a Colorado hemp grower since 2014 but also has a past psychoactive cannabis conviction, could have been forced out of an industry they helped to create.

Ministry of Hemp was one of the first media outlets to report on this hemp felony ban. Carpio told us that attention from reporters, and subsequent pressure from parts of the hemp industry, resulted in an important change to the new law. Moran told us Sen. Ron Wyden was a strong advocate for a compromise. But the felony ban remains in a modified form.

“I think it’s tragically unfair,” Carpio told us. “I’m fairly devastated over it actually.”

Under the compromise, now incorporated into the final law, the felony ban exempts anyone already growing under a 2014 Farm Bill-compliant state hemp program. Additionally, anyone whose conviction took place more than 10 years ago may grow hemp.

“Why should I, and others that were under the 2014 Farm Bill, why are we getting exceptions?”

Carpio is grateful that her business is not likely to face any interruption, but she still condemned what she sees as an unfair restriction on hemp, which makes it unlike any other crop. She’s also concerned that the ban will disproportionately affect black people, and other marginalized groups, who tend to be arrested for drug crimes more often.

“Why should I, and others that were under the 2014 Farm Bill, why are we getting exceptions?” she asked.

“I know I should be happier about [the compromise] but I’m not, it should have been removed completely.”

In addition, she suggested this clause and others in the bill could create unnecessary government surveillance and monitoring of hemp growers.

LEGAL HEMP BUT WHAT ABOUT LEGAL CBD OIL?

The most popular application for hemp in the U.S. is CBD oil. CBD, or cannabidiol, has numerous benefits from easing symptoms of stress to reducing epileptic seizures. U.S. sales of CBD products reached $190 million in 2017. At the same time, the market is currently completely unregulated, making it challenging for consumers to separate quality CBD products from snake oil.

Hemp supporters argued that CBD products were protected by the 2014 Farm Bill and other legal precedents, but the DEA often disagreed. Though 2018 Farm Bill explicitly removes any product made from legal hemp from DEA oversight, the FDA regulates anything intended for human consumption. That includes CBD oil.

Moran noted that under the Farm Bill, “the FDA still has the complete authority that they do under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.”

So far, the FDA has limited itself to targeting CBD vendors that make illegal health claims about their products. The FDA classifies everyday CBD products as nutritional supplements and bans vendors from claiming hemp extract treats any health conditions.

WILL THE FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION WEIGH IN ON CBD OIL?

“The next step for the hemp CBD industry is that we need to self regulate CBD products to ensure they are safe, well tested, and properly labeled,” said Joseph Dowling, CEO of CV Sciences, maker of PlusCBD Oil, in a statement sent by email.

Many industry experts believe the FDA will face pressure to develop regulations around CBD products with the passage of the Farm Bill. Another factor is the recent approval of Epidiolex, a prescription epilepsy drug made from CBD derived from psychoactive cannabis. The approval of Epidiolex marks the first time the FDA officially recognized the medical value of cannabis. Still, some worry that it could lead to a crackdown on access to over-the-counter CBD supplements.

This is a complex and developing aspect of the 2018 Farm Bill and hemp legalization that we intend to cover in more depth in the future. Until then, CBD consumers should rest assured that their favorite supplement is likely to remain available. With CBD generating millions in profits and benefitting thousands of consumers, the FDA faces immense financial and popular pressure to keep this supplement available.

“The wind is at our back,” Miller said. “The public loves hemp-derived CBD so it’s only a matter of time.”

LEGAL HEMP IS A ‘WIN’ FOR PLANET EARTH

While CBD helps people feel better, and hemp can generate immense profits for both farmers and hemp companies, the benefits of legal hemp go deeper. Hemp can heal the soil, requires almost no pesticides and only moderate watering compared to other crops. Hemp fabric is a more sustainable alternative to cotton, and the woody core of industrial hemp plants can be made into hempcrete, a sustainable building material with numerous remarkable qualities.

While Miller cautioned that hemp is “no panacea,” he noted that Europe is already making increasing use of hemp plastic.

“It’s biodegradeable and renewable,” he said. “Just imagine if that can be replicated on a mass scale what that could mean for the environment.”

Moran agreed:

“[The environment] is the most important aspect of all of this. … The reason I have been an advocate for the past 10 years and why I have focused my entire education and career on industrial hemp legalization is because this plant can do amazing things for the earth, for the soil.”

Sherman suggested this could be a moment with international significance. Evo Hemp’s attempts to encourage hemp farming in foreign countries often faced resistance from officials afraid of U.S. government retaliation. That could be on the verge of changing.

“All of these countries around the world are going to open up their hemp policies,” he predicted.

 

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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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Growing Hemp In The UK: Regulations Stand In The Way Of Massive Opportunity

Despite a long history of growing hemp in the UK, by 1928 hemp was outlawed. Legalized again in 1993, organizations like the British Hemp Association are trying to overcome remaining legal barriers to the industry’s success.

There’s a long history of growing hemp in the UK. From Celts that taught women to sew and weave the fibre as early as 373 BC, to its abundance in the Elizabethan era when naval ships relied on hemp sails, rigging ropes and sacks, the crop is a common thread running throughout the history books.

By the twentieth century it had been marginalised, with its many functional uses inextricably tangled up with concerns around the psychoactive parts of the plant. By 1928, hemp was outlawed.

A densely packed hemp field with a forest in the background. It was illegal to grow hemp in the UK from 1928 to 1993, but advocates say strict regulations still stand in the way of a successful hemp industry.

It was illegal to grow hemp in the UK from 1928 to 1993, but advocates say strict regulations still stand in the way of a successful hemp industry.

That ban lasted no less than 65 years with permission to grow industrial hemp only reinstated as a legal activity for license holders in 1993. And crucially, according to members of the newly formed British Hemp Association (BHA), there remain a number of restrictions in place that hamper the huge opportunity for a thriving hemp sector in the country.

HOW MUCH INTEREST IS THERE IN HEMP IN THE UK?

Only launched this year the formation of the BHA coincides with the crop “gaining a lot more traction” in the UK and a growing number of farmers keen to get involved, said one of its directors Rob Kinghan.

A number of factors lie behind this surge in interest, he explained. Not least the rapid growth of the cannabinoid industry in the health and supplement market which has “injected a huge amount of interest back in the industry.” High street retailers, such as health food chain Holland and Barrett, are actively increasing the number of CBD products they stock, while brands such as Coca Cola consider CBD soft drinks and established restaurants market CBD menus.

Added to that is the recent decision by the UK government to legalise ‘cannabis-derived medicinal products’ where prescribed by a registered doctor. Shortly before the legislation was passed a national survey found that 43 percent of people supported the legalisation of all derivatives of the plant, including psychoactive cannabis.

A hand holding a hemp leaf. Prejudices against hemp and all forms of cannabis are beginning to fade in the UK, with 43 percent supporting total legalization of psychoactive cannabis ("marijuana") in a recent survey.

Prejudices against hemp and all forms of cannabis are beginning to fade in the UK, with 43 percent supporting total legalization of psychoactive cannabis (“marijuana”) in a recent survey.

All which is significant — not because growing the arable crop requires any associations with the psychoactive elements of the plant — but because it reflects a growing education and awareness among the UK public toward hemp as a whole, and therefore a removal of the prejudices that led to its criminalisation in the first place.

In short, there is “a general awakening of the benefits of hemp as an agricultural crop,” said Kinghan and, as a result, those interested in growing industrial hemp have grown considerably, with some talk of the UK being a prime location for extraction and processing sites. Only regulation stands in the way of a thriving industry, hemp advocates said.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO GROW HEMP IN THE UK?

The BHA formed “to educate, lobby and commit,” summed up its chair Rebekah Shaman.

“Educate on the importance of hemp, lobby the government for changes and to collect industry together so we become one voice.”

In other words, it was set up to bring the rules around hemp in line with a shift in public consciousness of the crop.

“There’s an incredible shift in public opinion, everyone loves hemp,” said Shaman. “In 2007, I was making a hemp porridge and people thought they could get stoned on it. That was 12 years ago and it was a nightmare trying to get hemp out there, nobody wanted to touch it. Now everyone knows about it.”

Farming hemp in the UK remains a tiny industry though, with an estimated 810 hectares (about 2000 acres) under cultivation currently, compared to 33,000 hectares (over 81,000 acres) across Europe.

That’s largely as the legislation around it remains prohibitive, believe the BHA, with the government trapped in a “conservative and regressive licensing system that isn’t flexible or responsive to this changing demand for the hemp industry,” Kinghan said. Applications for licenses, costing £580 (about $740), are now often limited to one year (where previously it was three) and applicants are even required in some cases to prevent full business plans with potential buyers set out for each part of the legal plant. Unsurprisingly that “creates a huge barrier” to new potential entrants to the market.

WHAT CHANGES ARE UK HEMP ADVOCATES CALLING FOR?

Whole plant hemp processing

One of the major changes being called for by the group is a lifting of the restriction that prevents the leaf and flower of the plant from being processed.

A hemp field, with young green hemp plants growing in many long densely packed rows. Under current regulations on hemp in the UK, farmers are forced to destroy large portions of the plant, while simultaneously the UK imports "millions of pounds worth of CBD" every year.

Under current regulations on hemp in the UK, farmers are forced to destroy large portions of the plant, while simultaneously the UK imports “millions of pounds worth of CBD” every year.

Already confined to farming hemp for the fibre and the seed, a tightening up in procedure last year now requires growers to physically destroy all other “contraband” green materials on site, said Kinghan, while at the same time the UK imports “millions of pounds worth of CBD” from elsewhere in the world, an entirely legal cannabinoid.

“The money is in the leaf and the flower so by removing that opportunity for extractors and processors we’re having to rely on imports without giving our farmers an opportunity to be part of the gain,” said Shaman. As part of its ‘Whole Plant’ campaign the BHA is set to argue that farmers should be able to sell the leaf and flower to licensed processors instead, removing any concerns around selling direct to the public and subsequent confusion.

Who controls UK hemp?

For Shaman there is then the question of which government department should oversee the crop. Currently, with much of the plant still classed as a controlled substance, it is the Home Office rather than the Department for Environmental Farming and Rural Affairs (under which all other arable crops sit) that takes the lead. With experience in agriculture not housed in the Home Office, she argued, “that is crippling the industry.”

Shaman continued:

This is an industrial crop that could be turned into bioplastics, bio-diesel or fuel and yet we’re not given an opportunity because it’s not seen as an industrially agricultural crop, it’s seen as a demon crop. While under auspices of the Home Office we can’t move it forward.

We have to take the whole conspiracy away from what hemp is and see it for what it is, a super environmentally friendly crop that has all sorts of industrial applications, and that can help us with our environmental impact as we choke under the dominance of fossil fuels, plastics and so forth.

A young child with short hair grins while holding a hemp leaf toward the camera. The British Hemp Association believes that hemp can have a massive positive impact on people in the UK and the planet as a whole, if that government will get out of their way.

The British Hemp Association believes that hemp can have a massive positive impact on people in the UK and the planet as a whole, if that government will get out of their way.

That includes, finally, for Shaman and the BHA more stability around acceptable levels of THC, which currently sits at 0.2 percent, down from 0.3 percent previously, following new guidance issued in 2014. “That makes it really difficult to get some varieties grown because the plant naturally produces it,” she said.

IN UK ‘HEMP IS THE NEXT BIG INDUSTRY’

With all this changed both Shaman and Kinghan insist the opportunity for hemp in the UK is huge.

“I think hemp is the next big industry,” said Shaman. “And if we became an industry hub for hemp, creating sustainable products and bioplastics or becoming the supplier for Europe we would start bringing manufacturing back and that creates jobs. Hemp can offer all of that very easily and quickly. And a lot of people want to get involved with it.”

“There’s a real opportunity for UK regulations to lighten with some guidance from experts in the industry to allow many more farmers to grow this crop,” added Kinghan.

“If the government can listen to the needs of the industry we’re chomping at the bit to develop a very wealthy, successful and thriving industry in the UK.”

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CBD Vape Oil For Pain, Anxiety, & More: Why Do People Vape CBD?

Although CBD can be taken in many forms, more and more people are choosing CBD vape oil as their preferred form of cannabidiol. Thanks to fast absorption, vaping CBD may be ideal for fast relief of anxiety, stress, and chronic pain.

More and more people are using CBD vape oil thanks to its convenience and fast acting effects

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana plants. Unlike the mind-altering THC, the cannabinoid associated with marijuana, CBD does not have the ability to make a user high. The hemp and CBD industry have seen immense growth over the last decade due to countless studies that suggest cannabidiol may provide various health benefits.

A person vapes CBD while waiting at a suburban bus stop, wearing headphones, jeans and a hoodie. Due to it's absorption rate, CBD vape oil is a fast, easy way to get relief from numerous troubling symptoms. (Photo: Medix CBD)

Due to its rapid absorption rate, CBD vape oil is a fast, easy way to get relief from numerous troubling symptoms. (Photo: Medix CBD)

CBD may also help with conditions such as anxiety, pain, inflammation, insomnia, and epilepsy. With thousands of CBD consumers praising its effects and a growing body of scientific evidence in support of its safety, even many medical professionals are now recommending CBD. Although CBD can be taken in many forms, more and more people are choosing CBD vape oil as their preferred form of cannabidiol.

Vaping CBD is easy, allows for fast absorption, and is a relaxing experience.

CBD VAPE OIL PROVIDES IMMEDIATE RELIEF

In comparison to cannabidiol oils and gummies, CBD vape oil has a faster absorption rate because the CBD reaches the bloodstream through the lungs instead of having to go through the digestive system. Because of this, it is common for vapers to instantly feel the therapeutic effects of the CBD.

This quick absorption rate is ideal for people that suffer from:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Reoccurring Pain
A person holds a CBD battery and a package holding a CBD vape cartridge. CBD vape oil is a convenient, fast-acting form of cannabidiol that you can use almost anywhere.

CBD vape oil is a convenient, fast-acting form of cannabidiol that you can use almost anywhere. (Photo: Medix CBD)

Some studies also indicate that inhaling CBD can have higher bioavailability as opposed to other methods of consumption.

CBD VAPE OIL ALLOWS FOR CUSTOMIZED DOSING

Certain CBD products such as gummies and capsules contain pre-measured doses of cannabidiol. CBD vape oil provides a way to customize your dosing to your specific needs. You can add your ideal amount of CBD oil to vape juice and create your own CBD vape juice. Mixing CBD oil with your favorite e-liquid is also a tasty way to enjoy your CBD vaping experience.

A person taking a CBD cartridge out of the packaging. Using a CBD vape makes it easy to customize your dosing.

Using a CBD vape makes it easy to customize your dosing. (Photo: Medix CBD)

CBD Vape Oil is also widely available in customized cartridges in a variety of flavors or designed to enhance certain moods. Companies like Medix CBD offer several “mood” cartridges to create the CBD experience you desire. They are available in different dosage amounts as well, so you can always choose how much CBD you want to intake. Medix “Mood” cartridges are also compatible with most vaping devices. Nowadays, vape cartridges are standardized, so you can find a battery you like and use it with almost any brand.

CBD VAPE OIL IS RELAXING

Nothing beats relaxing after a long productive day of work or play. Whether your ideal way of relaxing is reading, napping, or doing homework, CBD can promote focus and balance through its unique effects on the human body. CBD vapers can take a few puffs to help them concentrate, wind down, or have a good night’s sleep. The choice is yours!

A woman uses a vape while working on a laptop at a desk. Tailored CBD vape blends can help promote relaxation, focus, and even sleep.

Tailored CBD vape blends can help promote relaxation, focus, and even sleep. (Photo: Medix CBD)

Rather than artificial flavoring, many modern CBD vape cartridges are flavored with terpenes, which are the main building blocks of essential oils found in hemp plants. They contribute to the aroma, flavors, and even the effects of the plant. The terpenes selected in each respective cartridge can help you curate your experience, whether you want to fall asleep or feel energized.

CBD VAPE OIL IS CONVENIENT & DISCREET

CBD is now used by millions of people in the United States to help them with health conditions or for preventative care. Although it is common to for people to take CBD while at work or in public, some people feel uncomfortable using capsules and tinctures around other people.

A woman leaning against a brick wall exhales after taking CBD vape oil.

Thanks to the widespread use of e-cigs, you won’t look out of place while vaping CBD.

Thanks to the widespread use of e-cigarettes, Vaping CBD is an effective way to use CBD in a discreetly. By not having to carry sublingual tinctures or capsules, you can easily take your dosage of cannabidiol almost anytime and anywhere. Studies have also shown that people who use CBD vape oil are more likely to quit smoking and become less dependent on nicotine.

THE VERDICT: WE THINK EVERYONE SHOULD TRY CBD

There is no wrong method for consuming CBD oil. No matter how you choose to use CBD, almost anyone can benefit from its healing properties. If you are someone that is constantly on the go and wants to focus, relax, or sleep better, the choice is clear. Give CBD a try — and let us know what works best for you!

 

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Investing In Hemp Stocks: Getting Started With Hemp & Cannabis Stocks

After years of stigma around cannabis, suddenly people are talking openly about investing in hemp stocks. We offer some tips for getting started in this volatile, exciting market.

After years of stigma around cannabis, suddenly people are talking openly about investing in hemp stocks.

A couple weeks back, we overheard a local UPS driver shared how his wife just got her medical marijuana card and that he’s been putting money into cannabis stocks and was making a killing. After hearing about the driver’s huge success, two thoughts came to mind. The first was how cool it was talking so casually about cannabis and marijuana stocks, second was how do we get in on this?

Almost immediately, the writer perused some popular marijuana stocks and learned that many investors were in fact making money hand over fist buying marijuana stocks, but not everyone was. The cannabis market as a whole is extremely volatile, which means it’s very easy to quickly make and lose money.

However, this doesn’t mean one should shy away from these stocks. Ask a stock broker and they will most likely tell you that a diverse portfolio of mixed stocks performs best on average. Meaning, it’s about risk tolerance and balance and volatile cannabis stocks should be a small part of a stock portfolio, not the other way around.

The Wall Street road sign in New York City, New York. In this article, we lay out some basics of investing in hemp stocks. Be careful: We're not investment experts, and can only get you started doing your own research!

In this article, we lay out some basics of investing in hemp stocks. Be careful: We’re not investment experts, and can only get you started doing your own research!

In this article we’re going to share some “hot stocks” in the marketplace, including details on our UPS driver’s stock and share some important market information, as well as things to look out for should one decide to invest. Remember, all investments carry risk and investors need to weigh any and all risks before investing in the stock market.

INVESTING IN HEMP STOCKS: UNDERSTANDING CANNABIS MARKETS

To start, it’s important to first take a look at the entire cannabis market as a whole. This can help answer some very basic questions for investors. For example, is the industry moving in the right direction? Are certain industry sectors doing better than others? Is one more risky than another? Of course, these are just a few questions one should be asking, there are many more.

Let’s take a look at the cannabis market information as reported by Grandview Research.In 2016 the U.S. Legal marijuana market size was estimated at 7.06 billion and expected to grow at CAGR of 24.9 percent from 2017 to 2025. Globally the industry is expected to reach $32 billion.

Of the two marijuana segments, medical marijuana was the largest segment and estimated to be valued at USD 100.03 billion by 2025.

When it came to products, the marijuana buds segment was estimated to be the dominant type and is estimated to be valued at USD $82.9 billion by 2025.

Cannabis Industry Sectors

Marijuana sector breakdowns were not easy to come by and choices were few. Of all the ones perused, Bloomberg’s chart was the most detailed. Even though these numbers are a few years old and market share has probably shifted some, most likely it hasn’t changed enough to significantly change the order.

    1. Pharma/Research USD $1.5b
    2. Producer USD $645m
    3. Consumer USD $302m
    4. Real Estate USD $216m
    5. Consulting USD $170m
    6. Tech USD $162m
    7. Industrials USD $54m

LOOKING AT CANNABIS STOCK INDICES

We’ve all heard of the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 stock indices. These major stock indices consist of groups of stocks whose combined daily performance is an indicator of how a market is doing without having to track individual stocks. According to Investopedia, “investors and other market participants use indexes to track the performance of the stock market.”

Cannabis stocks have their own stock indexes and there are plenty to choose from. Each index will have their own set of guidelines outlining the requirements a company must meet in order to be listed on that particular index. Below are three major cannabis indices.

Global Cannabis Stock Index (GCSI)

GCSI has been in existence since 2013 and they represent the overall publicly traded market for the medical and legal marijuana sector. There are currently 61 cannabis related companies listed on the index and is rebalanced every quarter.  The last rebalance took place in September and each stock was required to have an average daily trading value in excess of $600,000 and a minimum price of at least $0.25 (10-day average). Lastly, Canadian and Australian companies must have a U.S. listing in order to be included in the index.

North American Marijuana Index (NAMI)

The NAMI tracks leading stocks in the legal cannabis industry in the United States and Canada.  The North American Marijuana Index is broken down by 2 sub-indices: The U.S. Marijuana Index and the Canadian Marijuana Index.  Where a company is primarily operating determines which sub-index they’ll be listed.

The NAMI began on January 2, 2015 with an inception of 100 points.  Both indices are rebalanced quarterly on the last day of March, June, September, and December of each year.

To be included, companies must meet minimum trading requirements. They must have a market capitalization of $80 million, daily trading volume of $2million and a share price of at least $1.00. Companies with $5 million of revenues over the prior years are exempt from the above trading requirements.

The Green Market Report Index

This is the newest of the cannabis indices. The Green Market Report Index officially launched January 31, 2018.  This index consists of 30 stocks selected based on market capitalization, revenue production, plus high standards of company operations. They focus solely on pure cannabis companies with a rebalance review each quarter.

HOW TO INVEST IN HEMP

Now before you go calling your local stockbroker, it’s important to remember that while some investors make money buying cannabis stocks, many others do not. As with any investing, it’s important that you do your own research. The Motley Fool recently published an article on investing in marijuana stocks. Below is a synapsis of some key points.

Understand The Different Markets

There are basically two markets when it comes to cannabis: medical and recreational marijuana.  Medical marijuana is legal in 30 U.S. states and recreational legal in nine states. One of the most commonly used medical marijuana products is cannabidiol (CBD).

Know the marketplace you want to invest in

When it comes to cannabis, there are three type of cannabis stocks

  1. Marijuana growers — These companies cultivate, harvest and distribute to the end customer.
  2. Cannabis biotech’s — These companies focus on developing cannabinoid drugs.
  3. Providers or ancillary products and services — These companies provide products and services to growers, such as; lighting, hydroponic systems, etc.

Understand the risks and what you’re willing to lose

For cannabis stocks, the biggest risk is the legal and political issue facing the industry. While some states have approved either both recreational and medical marijuana, or simply for medical use, but regardless cannabis is still federally illegal.

Supply/Demand imbalance

Imbalances can happen for a variety of reasons. With regards to the marijuana industry, many cannabis stock prices are valued higher than they’re worth. For example, a stock price might be overinflated because of potential future growth that analyst’s price into the present day stock price.

This can pose huge risks to the marketplace later on once the huge growth is achieved. It’s very likely the growth targets will cause a supply gut.

HOT STOCK PICKS: CANNABIS STOCKS

To give you an idea of how hot the cannabis market is, just take a look at the United States Marijuana Index.

According to Investopedia,As of June 29, 2018 the United States Marijuana Index, despite a lot of uncertainty around regulations, has over the past 1 year gained 71.49 percent, as compared to about 12 percent gain seen by the S&P 500. Given that is not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but it does make a case to at least investigate investments in marijuana stocks.”

Tilray (TLRY)

Tilray is listed on NASDAQ. This stock is interesting because the stock was only issued to the public this past July and has already jumped over 600 percent from it’s first day IPO price. This was the first marijuana stock to go public with only 9 million shares being offered.

Many believe that Tilray could see a steep decline in the future, but for now, it’s being used to speculate the future of legalized marijuana in Canada.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 8,175,928
  2. Market Cap: 9.406B
  3. Price/Earnings Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. Earning Per Share (TTM): -.030

Canopy Growth (CGC)

Canopy Growth is listed on the NYSE. So far in 2018 this stock has climbed 100 percent. This cannabis producer has received multiple rounds of investments from beverage specialist Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ). Many are speculating Constellation Brands will eventually buy them outright and add cannabis to its lines of brands like Corona and Svedka.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 1,984,482
  2. Market Cap: $5.98B
  3. P/E ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): $.0950

Aurora Cannabis (ACBFF)

Aurora Cannabis, Inc. is listed on the OTC market. ACBFF is another big Canadian pot company. Last March, Aurora Cannabis acquired rival MedReleaf in a .25 billion all stock deal.  According to the original press release, combined, these two companies expect to produce over 570kg per year of cannabis.

Chart Basics:

  1. Average Trade Volume: 1,857,787
  2. Market Cap: $4.101B
  3. P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): -$.03

GW Pharmaceuticals (GWPH)***

GW Pharmaceuticals is listed on the NASDAQ as an American Depository Receipt (ADR)This UK Company had a huge win this past June when the FDA approved the first drug of its kind derived from pure hemp plant CBD called Epidiolex. This drug is approved for CBD treatment of epileptic seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

Chart Basics:

  1. Average Daily Trading Volume: 463,151
  2. Market Cap: $3.918B
  3. P/E Ratio (TTM): N/A
  4. EPS (TTM): -$9.67

Stock information provided by Investopedia.

HEMP STOCKS TO WATCH

While these two stocks haven’t experienced huge jumps like Tilray and Canopy Growth, both of these hemp companies are poised for breakouts. Also, both have stock prices near $1 per share, which may be a good opportunity for newbie investors to start with.

Global Hemp Group, Inc (OTCMKTS:GBHPF)

Global Hemp Group is listed on the over-the-counter market. GBHPF is a Canada-based company with operations in Montreal, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Currently Global Hemp Group is completing it’s hemp cultivation projects in New Brunswick, Canada, Oregon and the United States.

Global Hemp plans to develop value-added industrial hemp-based CBD products next.

Chart Basics

  1. Average Trade Volume: 192.17k
  2. Market Cap: NA
  3. P/E ratio: NA
  4. EPS: NA

Hempco Food and Fiber (OTCMKTS:HEMP)

Hemp, Inc is listed on the over-the-counter market. Hempco Food and Fiver is a producer and distributor of hemp-based products. They have a 56,000 sq. ft processing facility in Alberta, Canada, where they produce hemp-based foods. With the legalization of cannabis, Hempco plans to utilize the hemp stalk as a fiber source for industrial building and textile uses.

In 2019, Hempco expects hemp production capacity of 240,000 lbs/month.

  1. Average Trade Volume: 32.13M
  2. Market Cap: 6.68M
  3. P/E Ratio: NA
  4. EPS: $ -0.02

Stock information provided by 420intel.com.

A person uses a laptop keyboard while books on investing sit nearby. While investing in hemp stocks is appealing for many reasons, it can be hard to get started. We've offered some hot cannabis stocks and resource for continued learning.

While investing in hemp stocks is appealing for many reasons, it can be hard to get started. We’ve offered some hot cannabis stocks and resource for continued learning.

WHERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT INVESTING IN HEMP

Hopefully this article has whet your appetite to the huge potential hemp and cannabis stocks have right now and in the foreseeable future. As already stated, it’s very important that investors do their homework and due diligence before taking on any investment. To help get you started, below are some educational resources that offer valuable content.

IN CONCLUSION: HEMP STOCKS REPRESENT AN EXCITING, VOLATILE INDUSTRY

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve there will bound to be more volatility in the marketplace just like we see today, as well as new hot-stocks to buy. We’ve included links throughout this article to help you learn more. It’s the perfect time to learn about this exciting industry. And who knows, you might end up sharing the killing you made trading cannabis stocks just like our UPS driver!

Happy trading!

Disclosure: Rob Railis owns stock positions in various industries. He does not own any positions in the stocks outlined in this article. Our Editor in Chief Kit O’Connell owns two shares of CGC, one of the stocks mentioned in this article, in addition to stock positions in various industries including a small number of shares of other cannabis stocks.

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Hemp Craft Beer & The Breweries That Make It

Hemp craft beer is making a name for itself, with the help of a handful of pioneering American breweries. It began with New Belgium’s “The Hemperor,” but now other breweries both large and small are entering the hemp and cannabis market.

Hemp craft beer is making a name for itself, with the help of a handful of pioneering American breweries.

There are many products that utilize hemp; clothing, skincare products, CBD oils & tinctures, and hemp-enhanced edibles, but there remains a noticeable absence of hemp in the alcohol industry. Most notably, the craft beer market, a market that’s notorious for experimentation to produce unique flavors.

Thanks to unmet market needs and the relaxing regulations towards hemp & cannabis products, breweries such as New Belgium have initiated their foray into the hemp craft beer market. Upon their release of “The Hemperor,” the Colorado brewery gained nationwide media attention due to this trailblazing and delicious beverage.

A pint glass of dark beer sits on a rustic bar top in a darkened bar. While hemp makes an enticing beer ingredient, craft hemp beer brewers face legal and regulatory hurdles before they can bring their brews to market.

While hemp makes an enticing beer ingredient, craft hemp beer brewers face legal and regulatory hurdles before they can bring their brews to market.

Previously, we reviewed The Hemperor and interviewed a local maker of hemp wine. The recent growth of hemp craft beer left us eager to look deeper into this enticing topic.

THE CURRENT STATE OF THE HEMP CRAFT BEER MARKET

Other breweries looking to imitate New Belgium’s success must fight a gauntlet of obstacles.

Thanks to the difficulty of state and federal regulations, New Belgium had to experiment with many iterations of The Hemperor. This is because the use of hemp flowers & leaves in products is forbidden by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The use of CBD is also forbidden in alcohol products with national distribution.

Eventually, the brewery landed on hulled hemp seeds as the base for The Hemperor. Hulled hemp seeds, better known as hemp hearts, are an ingredient that can be found in your local supermarket. Hemp hearts are versatile, and can be used in many applications such as making hemp milk. Now, The Hemperor is available in all states except Kansas (party poopers if you ask us).

With the success of New Belgium, major beer companies are looking to get a slice of the pie. Corona & Modelo manufacturer Constellation Brands, Blue Moon founder Keith Villa, and Molson Coors are some of the notable names looking to dip their toes into hemp and cannabis beer. Constellation Brands and Molson Coors partnered with Canadian cannabis producers, while Keith Villa is working with a producer in his home state of Colorado.

BREWERIES THAT MAKE HEMP CRAFT BEER

New Belgium's The Hemperor hemp craft beerNew Belgium Brewing: The Hemperor

New Belgium are experiencing a moment as the most recognized hemp craft beer trailblazer. Released in April of this year, New Belgium have already experienced an instant success with The Hemperor. While they haven’t released a statement with future plans, one can almost be sure that they will release more hemp infused products.

Sweetwater Brewing Company 420 Strain G13 IPA craft hemp beerSweetwater Brewing Company: 420 Strain G13 IPA

This Atlanta based brewery has long been a fan of cannabis culture. Their best seller is the aptly named “420 Extra Pale Ale.” This past June, the brewery finally released their first (of seemingly many to come) hemp-enhanced beers. Their new beverage, “420 Strain G13 IPA,” mimics the famous G13 strain of psychoactive cannabis in terms of smell and taste, without the high. Sweetwater achieves this by infusing the pale ale with hemp, hops, terpenes, and other organic materials.

In a statement in the New York Times, co-founder Freddy Bensch says: “We think the drinker and the cannabis consumer are the same person.”

Bensch means that by releasing their G13 product, the brewery is tapping into a market that’s already connected to their traditional target-market. It’s worth noting that in just a couple of months, the G13 IPA has become their 2nd highest selling product.

Lagunitas Hi Fi Hops Cannabis Craft BeerLagunitas Brewing: Hi-Fi Hops

With the recreational use of psychoactive cannabis becoming legal, California-based Lagunitas Brewery pounced on the new market. Releasing their “Hi-Fi Hops” product line, in collaboration with CannaCraft (a cannabis-extract manufacturer), they offer cannabis-infused sparkling water drinks. Hi-Fi Hops products can only be found in medical marijuana dispensaries in California. While a little more left-field, the introduction of a cannabis-infused sparkling water opens the conversation up from merely a beer product, into a whole slew of hemp, CBD & THC-infused beverages.

Lagunitas is at the forefront of the fusion of cannabis into traditional drinks.

WHERE HEMP CRAFT BEER FITS INTO CRAFT BEER CULTURE

So where does hemp craft beer stand within existing craft beer culture?

Craft beer culture is already at the forefront of counterculture. Craft beers began with mad-scientist brewers looking for new flavors in unconventional ingredients. Long synonymous with bearded, beanie-wearing hipsters, craft beer culture is comfortable standing out. In fact, being different is the greatest asset of a craft beer. One needs only to look at the ingredients and artwork on their bottles to recognize this.

A photo showing three different beers of different colors in pint glasses. The success of New Belgium is bringing a host of new hemp craft beer to market, as well as entries from some larger brewers too.

The success of New Belgium is bringing a host of new hemp craft beer to market, as well as entries from some larger brewers too.

Cannabis and hemp belong to the same family of plants as hops. Breweries such as New Belgium and Sweetwater are using the green & herbal notes of the hemp plant to enhance their IPAs, which already tout flavors of bitterness, freshness and hoppiness.

So, we think that hemp craft beers will fit right in! In fact, we believe it’ll do more than fit in, we think they will thrive. The same hipster beanie-wearing dudes who drink IPAs are probably already using hemp in their breakfasts or daily supplements; so why not have hemp with their beer?

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