Hemp Amendment




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Congressional Omnibus Appropriations Bill
Includes Hemp Amendment
Hemp Amendment Restricts Spending By DOJ and DEA in
Contravention of Farm Bill Hemp Provision

Washington, DC — Vote Hemp, the nation’s leading grassroots hemp advocacy organization working to change state and federal laws to allow commercial hemp farming, supports the inclusion of a hemp amendment in the Congressional omnibus budget bill. Passed by both the House and the Senate Appropriations Committee, the 2014 Commerce, Justice and Sciences (CJS) appropriations bill includes an historic amendment to prohibit the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from spending funds “in contravention of Section 7606” of the 2014 Farm Bill. Originally offered in May of 2014 by Rep. Massie, the hemp amendment was introduced in the House and passed by a vote of 246-162. A similar amendment was offered by Rep. Bonamici (D-OR) and passed by a vote of 237-170. Subsequently, in June of 2014, complementary language co-written by Sen. McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Merkley (D-OR), was offered to the Senate Appropriations Committee in June of 2014 and passed by a vote of 22-8.

Section 7606 of the Farm Bill, also known as The Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research amendment, defines industrial hemp and authorizes research and pilot programs in states that have legalized the crop.

The passage of this CJS hemp amendment and its inclusion in the final omnibus bill was a result of support from a number of members including Senators McConnell, Merkley, Leahy and Tester, as well as Representatives Massie and Bonamici. The omnibus budget bill now heads to President Obama’s desk where he is expected to sign it.

“This measure will help prevent our legal hemp seeds secured by state Departments of Agriculture and used for legal pilot programs from being blocked by DEA or other federal agencies in the future,” Senator McConnell said. “These legal pilot programs authorized by my legislation could help boost our state’s economy and lead to future jobs.”

“Last spring the DEA wasted precious taxpayer resources when it confiscated a shipment of hemp seeds intended for a pilot project in Kentucky,” said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY).  “By defunding further DEA interference, this amendment saves taxpayer dollars and gives states and research institutions the freedom to pursue hemp pilot programs.”

“We applaud this Congress for protecting the rights of states that seek to begin or have already implemented hemp pilot programs,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “By approving this measure, Congress is sending a clear message to DEA that it should respect the law and work cooperatively with states to allow them to conduct hemp research and pilot programs.”

To date, eighteen states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. These states are able to take immediate advantage of the industrial hemp research and pilot program provision, Section 7606 of the Farm Bill: California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. In 2014, three states, Colorado, Kentucky, and Vermont, planted hemp research crops.

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Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and a free market for low-THC industrial hemp and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to once again grow the agricultural crop. More information about hemp legislation and the crop’s many uses may be found at www.VoteHemp.com or www.TheHIA.org. Video footage of hemp farming in other countries is available upon request by contacting Ryan Fletcher at 202-641-0277 or ryan@votehemp.com.

States Poised to Take Advantage of US Farm Bill

States Poised to Take Advantage of US Farm Bill
By: Arthur Hanks

The 2014 US Farm Bill signed last week by President Obama has a provision for the cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes at the state level. This provision will be in effect for the next five years.
The provision builds on years of lobbying efforts by activists, advocates, hemp business and farming associations and the championship of the bills by elected representatives at the state and federal level.
Here is the full text of Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill in PDF format.
Ten states have appropriate legislation that will allow them to grow hemp for research in 2014. In order to take advantage of this new opportunity, other states will have to either create new research-orientated legislation, amend legislation that is already on the table or to derive research guidelines from existing statues. Since legislative calendars vary state by state local advocates will have to determine what tactics makes sense.


Ten states: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia (depicted in green) have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production, while two states: Nebraska and Indiana (depicted in grey) are on the verge of passing industrial hemp legislation.
Research Brings Real Opportunities

In general, states that have passed commercial hemp laws have a form of licensing/registration. With this new federal provision, researchers affiliated with the state Ag department or relevant college or university would be the holders of the hemp license. Farmer co-operators can participate in these trials as long as their work falls under the umbrella of the licensed research.
There are many forms research could take, ranging from modest variety trials to more ambitious commercial scale pilot projects including start up processing and market development initiatives. Conceivably if there is enough public and private sector funding, many hundreds of acres could be seeded, hundreds of bales of fiber and thousands of bushels of grain could be harvested in the next few years. That’s a comfortable ceiling.
Farmers and businesses hoping to grow hemp on a commercial basis still have to contend with barriers at the Federal level. The success of research projects over the next half decade will help make the case and go a long way towards aiding the passage of legal commercial regulations federally. Without those regulations, would-be commercial farmers could still be subject to such nonsense as crop raids, civil asset forfeiture of property, charges that could lead to jail time, and legal expenses. That said, there is now some oxygen in the room. Hopefully some clear thinking will follow.

The Big Ten
Ten states (California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia) have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production.
Governor Jerry Brown signed a Commercial Hemp Bill in the fall of 2013. California has valuable and rich farmland chock full of diverse crops. Land costs may be high and water could be an issue. There are many enviable large urban markets in the state. Dr. Bronner’s and Nutiva are both vociferous hemp advocate and current volume hempseed importer and processors.
An early leader. State legislation efforts began under State Senator Lloyd Casey back in the 1990’s. Changes to Drug Policy in 2012 through ballot initiative led to an obvious opportunity for hemp. Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin planted 60 acres in 2013, as part of a proposed remediation trial, despite the fact that farmers were not yet allowed to register to grow the crop. Colorado State regulations are here: www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/ag_Plants/CBON/1251644613180. Note that there is a 10 acre ceiling for research and May 1st, 2014 is the registration deadline.
Senator minority leader Mitch McConnell was instrumental in arranging for the hemp research provision to be included in this year’s Farm Bill. Bluegrass state of Kentucky has been a home for many advocates of industrial hemp for the past two decades. A strong grassroots lobbying effort helped send hemp to the Capital. Kentucky has a rich hemp fiber heritage and the reintroduction of this new crop will be regulations developed by the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission
Hemp regulations in Maine were passed in 2009, with proponents looking to grow hemp as an alternative fiber. Licenses would be issued by Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. A provision for research was developed in 2003. Climate and soils are seen as appropriate. Will hemp find a place among wheat, cheese, hops, and blueberries?
Thirty thousand farms in Montana and more cattle than people, big crops include beef, wheat, oilseeds and legumes. Hemp legislation was passed in 2001. A US leader in organic production, there probably is a strong niches for hemp to get started in. Close proximity to major Canadian hemp production region means ease of technology and knowledge transfer.
North Dakota
State legislator Dave Monson and farmer Wayne Hague once sued the federal government in an effort to overturn the prohibition on hemp. The state is well positioned to take advantage of existing and current business knowledge due to close proximity to Canada. Large acres of hemp’s bast fiber cousin flax are known and grown here. A $200 million dollar sunflower seed industry shows that ND has high volume seed oil crushing capacity.
Oregon passed a commercial hemp law in 2009 and recently formed a rules advisory that is in the process of developing regulations for industrial hemp that will now be expected to have a research component. Many businesses in Oregon manufacture, market and sell hemp products, including The Merry Hempsters and Living Harvest. Oregon is home to diverse ecologies and terrain so research should be very fruitful.
So nice they passed it twice. Vermont’s legislative passed regulations in 2008 and the state’s then governor declined to veto the bill saying “The consequence of this bill is so low, so insignificant, that it doesn’t rise to the level of a gubernatorial veto.” Time moves forward, and the legislature passed a second more progressive law in 2013 that cuts away some of the regulatory hurdles and hassles. See the simple registration form at www.ruralvermont.org/issues-main/agricultural-hemp
A 2012 ballot initiative decriminalized marijuana in small quantities and have authorized the Washington to license, regulate and tax production. Hemp regulations have not yet been issued, but there is authority to do so. Long time hemp watchers can note with some irony that marijuana has become the stalking horse for hemp, but there it is. The state senate is deliberating over a bill that would allow Washington State University (WSU) to study the feasibility and possible value of an industrial hemp industry in Washington. Both the State Ag department and WSU seem keen.
West Virginia
Passed its hemp Act back in 2002 and has been patiently waiting for the federal regulations to change or clear up. In recent years, work has been put to remove the federal licensing barriers from applying to state law. Interestingly, WV’s original hemp law recognized industrial hemp as having no more than 1 percent THC, rather than 0.3%, which is the usual standard found internationally.
And Then There Was More…?
The Farm Bill continues to stimulate legislative action on industrial hemp. More states are in hurry up mode and getting legislation ready. Breakin’ and of note:
The State Senate recently voted to for a bill, that would enable farmers to legally grow industrial hemp. There would be a proposed annual fee of $150 in addition to $2 for every acre of hemp planted. Crop inspections would be part of the regulatory regime. This bill now moves to the House for a vote. Indiana advocates cited the Kentucky example and did not want to miss out on a competitive opportunity. Of course, commercial farming would still be subject to Federal licensing and restrictions.
A hemp bill was recently introduced to the state legislature. Proposed regulations would require an annual $150 permit from the Department of Agriculture, a legal description of the land and criminal background checks. Because of agricultural history, feral hemp grows widely across Nebraska. Any regulation would have to account for that agronomic reality. It is also a potential genetic gift. No final decision has yet been taken on the state bill.
More states to come…

Farmers high on hemp as returns beat canola

Farmers high on hemp as returns beat canola

Strong prices have led to ‘unprecedented’ interest in the crop, says Hemp Oil Canada rep

Man speaking in front of viewscreen.
Kevin Friesen, seed production manager for Hemp Oil Canada and a hemp grower himself, explains how to grow the Prairie’s newest crop at a recent agronomy workshop at the Food Development Centre in Portage la Prairie.
photo: Daniel Winters

Hemp acres in Manitoba are set to shatter records again this year as interest in the crop rises to an unprecedented level, the seed production manager for Hemp Oil Canada said last week.

Kevin Friesen told about 30 farmers meeting at the Food Development Centre here that he anticipates 90,000 acres of contracted production this spring, up from about 67,000 last year, and way, way up from just 8,000 acres in 2007. The crop was approved for production in Canada in 1998.

“Normally, people migrate towards hemp when it’s about twice as profitable as canola,” said Friesen, who estimated that a good crop of conventional hemp, at about 40 bushels to the acre contracted at 70 cents per pound will rake in gross revenue of $700/acre compared to about $240/acre for canola.

“It is an easy crop to grow, but you have to be willing to put in extra time and management to be successful,” he added.

In Manitoba, the most popular variety is CRS-1, but Finola and CFX-1 and 2 are the mainstays in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Finola, brought in from Finland in 1998, has the smallest seed, with 1,000 seeds tipping the scale at 13 grams compared to CRS-1 at 17 g/1,000. Finola matures in 100 days, CFX-1 and 2 at 103-105 days, and CRS-1 at 110 days.

Finola is the shortest variety, but with hemp, “height expression” varies according to the latitude where it is planted. The higher the latitude, the taller hemp grows, and vice versa, said Friesen, noting that in southern Ontario, Finola only grows knee-high, but 800 km north of Edmonton, it can reach eight to 10 feet.

Shorter plants are easier to harvest, but taller plants cope better with weeds. It matures according to hours of daylight, so pushing back the seeding date can ensure a shorter crop at harvest.

The herbicide Assure II, already allowed in Eastern Canada, may be approved for use here by spring, becoming the first herbicide registered for use on the crop.

A handful of dual-purpose, grain and fibre varieties have also been developed by the Parkland Industrial Hemp Growers (PIHG), but a market for hemp fibre may still be a few years away due to delays at the Gilbert Plains processing plant.

Jeff Kostiuk, acting diversification specialist with the Parkland Crop Diversification Foundation based in Roblin and provincial hemp agronomy contact, said that it’s still not too late to apply for permission from Health Canada.

Permits are good for one year, and growers need only submit field GPS co-ordinates from Google Earth, proof of consent from the landowner, and agree to a criminal record check.

Only pedigreed seed is allowed because farm-saved seed can spontaneously boost THC levels — the compound that gives marijuana its buzz. Crop samples must be submitted for testing by an approved sampler at a cost of $300 per field, but some hemp varieties such as CRS-1 are exempt from that requirement due to consistently low THC levels.

Seeding is best at half-inch depth into well-drained, warm, moist soil at 8-10 C at a rate of 25 pounds per acre at low fan speed to avoid seed damage. Research shows seed mortality averages 50-70 per cent regardless of seeding density or variety, and best results for grain come with two to 12 plants per square foot due to the crop’s ability to fill in thin spots. Row cropping hemp at 22-inch spacing works well, too.

Hemp is a big plant that is “very hungry” for nutrients, especially potash which goes mainly into the stalks, said Kostiuk. It loves nitrogen, and especially well-manured fields.

Some of the best hemp growers are organic farmers who grow alfalfa for hay for three years followed by silage peas and hemp. The crop, which pays $1.25 per bushel for organic, does well for them because a mid-June seeding date allows for a few weeks of tillage to control weeds.

Disease issues with hemp are minimal. Gophers are the most serious pest.

Harvest is best done while the plants are still a bit green, and many have found that a John Deere 9600 combine with a draper header works best. Knives must be new or in good shape, and setting the apron three to four feet high to avoid the fibrous stalks prevents plugging.

“Don’t put hemp fibre through the combine if you don’t have to,” said Friesen.

Residue can be a headache, he added, but some farmers use a forage harvester to chop up the stalks, which are then harrowed into piles and burned.