Ministry of Hemp

Ministry of Hemp

America's leading advocate for hemp

Tag: Agriculture

2018 Hemp Report Reveals Huge Expansion To US Hemp Acres

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMPARING 2018 VS 2017 US HEMP ACRES

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

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

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

TOP 5 HEMP GROWING STATES IN 2018

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

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

#5 – Tennessee – 3,338 Acres

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

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

#4 – Kentucky – 6,700 Acres

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

#3 – Oregon – 7,808 Acres

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

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

#2 – Colorado – 21,578 Acres

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

#1 – Montana – 22,000 Acres

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

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

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

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

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

HEMP CROP REPORT REVEALS TREMENDOUS GROWTH IN US HEMP ACRES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIACON 2018 LOOKS AT THE FUTURE OF HEMP FARMING IN AMERICA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIACON 2018: FROM CBD POPCORN TO HEMP FASHION

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

Kazmira let us sample their delicious CBD vapes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hemp Is Back In America: An Introduction To Ministry Of Hemp (Video)

After decades of prohibition, hemp is back in a big way in America. In 2017, sales of hemp products reached a record-breaking $820 million, and that’s just the beginning

After decades of prohibition, hemp is back in a big way in America.

In 2017, sales of hemp products reached a record-breaking $820 million, and that’s just the beginning. Currently legal under state programs, hemp could soon be fully legal from coast to coast, transforming American agriculture.

From hemp food to hempcrete homes to textiles, the uses of hemp are almost limitless.

Among hemp products, demand for CBD oil has exploded in recent years. Unlike THC or marijuana, CBD won’t make you feel high. Thousands of people report CBD helps them relax, relieves pain and anxiety, promotes deeper sleep, and much more.

A farmer silhouetted in the sunlight in his hemp field. Hemp is back in a big way in America, and Ministry of Hemp is America's leading hemp advocate.

Ministry of Hemp is America’s leading hemp advocate. We’ll help you understand the science of hemp & CBD and pick the right products.

But the CBD industry is still unregulated. Products can be misleadingly labeled, contain toxic heavy metals or dangerous synthetic chemicals. New consumers often give up before they find products that work.

That’s where we come in. Ministry of Hemp is America’s leading hemp advocate. We help you understand the science of CBD and review CBD brands so you can pick the best, safest products for you and your loved ones.

As hemp growing returns nationwide, you can count on Ministry of Hemp to be there. From Vermont hemp farms to hemp research on the International Space Station, we’ll bring you the story.

Be a part of our movement. Join the Ministry of Hemp.

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Expanding US Hemp Acreage Proves Hemp Is The Next Big Cash Crop

Total U.S. hemp acreage is rapidly increasing, as legalization spreads across the country. In 2017, hemp fields expanded by 163 percent across the country. That’s over 25,000 acres of hemp…

Total U.S. hemp acreage is rapidly increasing, as legalization spreads across the country.

In 2017, hemp fields expanded by 163 percent across the country. That’s over 25,000 acres of hemp grown across 19 different states. With more states opening their doors to hemp, the speculation arises, how much further can U.S. hemp acreage grow?

Hemp experts are predicting sales of hemp products could reach $2 billion by 2022. That’s nearly triple the profits from current levels. In order to understand these predictions, it’s important to also look at who is growing hemp, and how much. Through this, we can discover which states are leading the way and inspiring the rest of the country.

U.S. hemp acreage is growing rapidly despite a complicated tapestry of state hemp laws, which vary widely from place to place. Hemp plants grow tall and leafy in a densely packed field.

U.S. hemp acreage is growing rapidly despite a complicated tapestry of state hemp laws, which vary widely from place to place.

Since hemp remains in a legal gray area on a federal level, laws work differently from state to state. A hemp farmer in Colorado might have an easier time growing acres upon acres compared to the recent legalized state of Illinois. Through this information, we’ll begin to understand not only the states where hemp will spread but also how the country as a whole can benefit from progressive hemp laws.

TOP 5 STATES WITH THE MOST HEMP ACREAGE

In comparison to 2016, last year was a huge milestone for the hemp industry. States had doubled and tripled their hemp efforts, more licenses were issued, and more people were beginning to understand the benefits of this next cash crop. The following statistics are from VoteHemp’s 2017 US Hemp Crop Report:

  • 25,713 acres of hemp were grown within 19 states.
  • 32 universities conducted various research projects for hemp.
  • 1,456 state hemp licenses were issued.

In 2017, there were 5 particular states who made huge hemp acreage leaps in comparison to 2016. Knowing of their success within the industry, it’s possible to examine the laws within each of the top five states in order to better understand how other states can increase their production.

#5 – New York – 2,000 Acres

On New York’s official state hemp website, it’s claimed the Governor has taken notable actions to inspire industrial hemp production within the state. It began, in 2015 when New York allowed a select amount of educational institutions to harvest hemp.

A person in a dark hoodie standing in a hemp field gives a thumbs up. In front of them is a huge pile of freshly harvested hemp. Increasing hemp acreage in the United States reveals this crop's immense economic potential.

Increasing hemp acreage in the United States reveals this crop’s immense economic potential.

Part of the reason New York hemp acreage increased in 2017 is due to the removal of the cap on the number of sites allowed to grow hemp. The state’s program expanded to include new farmers and businesses. This allowed for the original 30 acres of hemp in 2016 to grow to 2,000 acres in 2017.

#4 – North Dakota – 3,020 Acres

In 2017, North Dakota had only 34 growers of hemp out of 42 applications. Unlike New York, this state’s 2017 Industrial Hemp Pilot Program requires those who hold a license to either “(1) be part of an agricultural or academic research program conducted by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture or by an institution of higher education; and/or (2) obtain annually a registration issued by the DEA.”

It should be noted that North Dakota made impressive progress with their hemp cultivation. In 2016, they had a mere 70 acres grown. In 2017, total hemp acreage number grew to 3,020. However, part of the reason the state hit such a high number is due to the expanding amount of land each farmer operates on rather than looser regulations.

#3 – Kentucky – 3,271 Acres

Another of the leading states within the hemp industry is Kentucky. Back in 2016, it grew a staggering 2,525 acres. That number grew to 3,271 acres in 2017. Part of the reason Kentucky has been paving way within the industry is due to the early start it had over the majority of the country.

#2 – Oregon – 3,469 Acres

Oregon’s hemp laws are similar to New York and Kentucky. Any farmer or business can apply to grow and/or handle hemp. The price per application is quite hefty at $1,300. Compare that to Vermont’s low application fee of $25!

However, ignoring the price tag of registration, Oregon has less confining laws in terms of growing cannabis in general compared to the rest of the country. Due to this, total industrial hemp acreage jumped from 500 in 2016 to 3,469 in 2017.

#1 – Colorado – 9,700 Acres

For years to come, it seems as though Colorado is going lead the hemp industry. Even in 2016, the state had more hemp acreage compared to any other in 2017 — at 5,921 acres. Yet, they nearly doubled those efforts the following year.

This might not come as a surprise considering Colorado was one of the first states to institute cannabis legalization.

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

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

HEMP ACREAGE: GROWTH MATTERS, TOO

Though the states mentioned above led the way for hemp acreage in 2017, it should be noted that other states made great progress as well. These include:

  • Washington went from 0 acres in 2016 to 175 acres in 2017.
  • Vermont went from 180 acres in 2016 to 575 acres in 2017.
  • Montana went from 0 acres in 2016 to 542 acres in 2017.
  • Minnesota went from 51 acres in 2016 to 1,205 acres in 2017.

These number are crucial in comprehending the future status of the hemp industry and U.S. agriculture as a whole. Since many U.S. hemp products depend on imported hemp, growth in hemp acreage is vital to the overall growth of the hemp industry.

If hemp acreage increased so much just within a year, it’s possible — with further efforts towards hemp legalization — it might reach even higher profits than predicted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW HEMP GROWING RETURNED TO THE USA

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

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

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

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

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

HEMP SALES HIT $820M UNDER STATE HEMP PROGRAMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

WISCONSIN HEMP PROGRAM IS NEW BUT GROWING FAST

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

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

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

Challenges of growing hemp in Wisconsin

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hemp market price in Wisconsin

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

VERMONT HEMP LICENSES INCREASED 3000 PERCENT SINCE 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges of growing hemp in Vermont

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

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

Hemp market price in Vermont

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

‘HEMP IS THE NEW GOLD RUSH’ IN OREGON

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

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

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

Over 3,500 land acres were licensed for cultivation!

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges of growing hemp in Oregon

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

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

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

Hemp parket price in Oregon

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

HEMP IS ‘TAKING OFF LIKE A WEED’ IN NEVADA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges of growing hemp in Nevada

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

Hemp market price in Nevada

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

WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF STATE HEMP PROGRAMS?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VERMONT HEMP LAWS AMONG THE NATION’S MOST PROGRESSIVE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHAT AMERICA CAN LEARN FROM VERMONT HEMP LAWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

VERMONT LOOKS LIKE THE FUTURE OF AMERICAN HEMP

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

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

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

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George Washington’s Hemp Farm: Industrial Hemp Returns to Mount Vernon

Hemp is growing once again at Mount Vernon, thanks to a partnership with the University of Virginia. Industrial hemp was once a vital part of American agriculture.

George Washington’s hemp farm is back, thanks to growers who want to spread the word about this crop and its history.

If we were to go back in time to George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate around 250 years ago, we’d see row upon row of industrial hemp flourishing under the Virginia sun. Washington believed hemp could bring in more profit than tobacco due to its wider variety of uses.

As time progressed and cannabis growing was banned in the U.S., hemp disappeared from Mount Vernon along with the rest of the country. Now, with full hemp legalization on the horizon, George Washington’s hemp farm is back. Hemp is once again being harvested at Mount Vernon.

A hemp field grows in tall, dense bamboo-like clusters. George Washington's hemp farm wasn't unusual: hemp remained a vital American crop until it was banned in the early 20th-century.

George Washington’s hemp farm wasn’t unusual: hemp remained a vital American crop until it was banned in the early 20th-century.

Dean Norton, lead horticulturist at Mount Vernon, partnered with the University of Virginia to bring hemp back. Just like Washington, they see the potential profit in hemp and want to bring attention to the numerous ways it can be used.

“To bring this crop back it just really helps complete our agricultural story,” Norton told NPR.

To understand why George Washington’s hemp is so important, let’s look back at how hemp previously influenced Mount Vernon and the United States.

HEMP HISTORY: GEORGE WASHINGTON’S HEMP EXPERIMENTS BEGAN IN 1760

In the 1760s, Washington explored the profitability of hemp. George Washington’s hemp was used for rope, sail canvas, clothing, and repairing fishing nets (a key necessity for his fishing operations along the Potomac). He had a feeling it could bring in much more money than tobacco. Back then, there were no laws prohibiting growing.

Washington knew hemp could grow in places where other crops withered. With this knowledge, he wrote a letter to William Pierce stating, “ … on my farming plantation(s), I want you to make the most of hemp and plant it everywhere on my farmlands that haven’t been previously reserved for other things.” With that, George Washington’s hemp farm flourished.

During this time, the British Crown also commissioned American farmers to grow hemp. Hemp is highly adaptable and can grow in places that are otherwise left barren. When Washington grew hemp, it would not be surprising if you took a wagon ride down a dirt road only to discover fields of it.

Humans have used hemp as medicine for centuries, but there’s little to no evidence Washington or his contemporaries ever smoked their crop. While both hemp and psychoactive cannabis (‘marijuana’) are forms of the same plant, they’re grown and used in very different ways.

The unfortunate truth is hemp wasn’t as profitable as wheat. The country knew this and so did Washington. Though Washington continued to grow hemp, it wasn’t the sole focus of Mount Vernon.

Hemp remained an important crop until the U.S. banned cannabis in the early 20th-century. American hemp became important again during World War II. Otherwise, hemp remained illegal until the 2014 Farm Bill brought it back to America on a limited basis.

HEMP FLASHBACK: GEORGE WASHINGTON’S HEMP IS A SIGN OF A BRIGHT FUTURE

Hemp’s image is so twisted by unnecessary stigma, visitors are startled to see it on Mount Vernon. Tourists now take selfies with George Washington’s hemp. Some gaze in awe at the sight of the plant, with its distinctive leaves.

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

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

There’s no doubt Washington would’ve found this a bit ridiculous. But the team involved in growing hemp on Mount Vernon want to end the fear attached to the crop.

Brian Walden, a Virginia hemp advocate, helped petition to bring hemp back to Mount Vernon. He told NPR’s Brakkton Booker that he considers himself a “hemp patriot.”

Walden hopes that bringing hemp back to George Washington’s farm will send “the message across that this is an innocuous plant that has real benefits and our Founding Fathers knew that and they planted it.”

Decades of prohibition have brought ignorance, and required us to fight for legalization,but there’s one benefit to this moment. Hemp has yet to become a commodity crop dominated by corporate agriculture. It’s still accessible to smaller farmers and experimental growers like the Mount Vernon team.

George Washington’s hemp is educating new people about this crop, and aiding the push for total legalization, which could soon become a reality at the federal level.

If one of our country’s most historic properties is benefitting from hemp, why shouldn’t the rest of America?

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