Industrial Hemp

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West Virginia: Governor Signs Industrial Hemp Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has signed a bill expanding the availability of licenses for the state's hemp production, reports the Register-Herald. The measure will allow the Commissioner of Agriculture to approve a license for any individual rather than just state colleges and universities.

First-time license applicants will be required to submit their fingerprints and undergo state and federal background checks at their own expense. Individuals granted a license will be “presumed to be growing industrial hemp for commercial purposes,” according to the bill text. Licenses will expire annually on December 31.

The measure passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.

Crescent Gallagher, communications director for the Department of Agriculture, said industrial hemp could play a role in improving the state’s economy.

“The department is looking forward to working with individuals who are interested in growing industrial hemp,” he said in an April 5 Gazette-Mail report. “The hope is that hemp becomes a niche crop that helps grow our agriculture industries and spur economic growth to help diversify our economy.”

Oregon: Hemp Bills Would Move Crop Into Mainstream

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two bills would bring hemp more into the mainstream of Oregon's agriculture by creating a commodity commission and seed certification process for the crop.

“Industrial hemp has a huge potential in Oregon, we just need a few tweaks to help move it forward,” said Matt Cyrus, a hemp grower in Deschutes County, during a March 28 legislative hearing.

House Bill 2372 would allow Oregon's hemp industry to join 23 other crop, seafood, and livestock sectors with a state commission meant to promote and research a commodity through fees raised from producers.

House Bill 2371 would establish a system to get the purity of hemp seeds certified through a system overseen by Oregon State University.

“It’s truly about a certified seed, one we know Oregon can count on,” said Jerry Norton, a hemp grower.

HB 2371 would also establish a hemp pilot program at OSU to comply with federal provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill that allow hemp research.

Commercial hemp production is still illegal under federal drug laws which place hemp in the same category as marijuana, its psychoactive cousin.

New Mexico: Governor Vetoes Industrial Hemp Bill

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico, has vetoed a bill that would have created a research program for industrial hemp.

The Democrat-sponsored bill was vetoed by the second-term Republican governor on Wednesday without comment.

The bill would have required the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to set up an industrial hemp research program for cultivation and marketing.

Democratic Sen. Cisco McSorley of Albuquerque has authored a more restrictive bill which is on its way to the governor's desk right now. McSorley says it addresses concerns raised by Martinez two years ago about potential conflicts with federal law and provides for police training.

Thirty-one states have authorized hemp research. The 2014 federal farm bill allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp projects for research and development.

North Carolina: Industrial Hemp Pilot Program To Expand in 2017

Hemp House Ashville

For centuries, industrial hemp (plant species Cannabis sativa) has been a source of fiber and oilseed used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Applications are being accepted for a pilot program to grow industrial hemp for research in North Carolina.

Under the rules, farmers will need to apply for a license to plant, harvest and market the crop. There will be licenses for one or three years available. Applications will be reviewed and approved or denied by the Industrial Hemp Commission. There is no deadline to apply for the program.

Qualified applicants will need to pay an annual fee, provide evidence of income from a farming operation, provide a written statement of their research objective and allow access to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Plant Industry Division and state law enforcement to sample the field.

"Our aim is to see some industrial hemp growing in North Carolina this year and the only way you can grow it is thru a pilot research program," said Brian Long, of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. "Actually, so it will coincide with federal law, it was another thing that was in the last farm bill, opening the door to industrial hemp research across the United States."

Kentucky: Senate Approves Bill Expanding Industrial Hemp Program (SB 218)

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The bill will improve the framework for the growth of the industrial hemp farming in Kentucky.

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

With a 35-0 vote, the Kentucky Senate approved legislation (SB 218) to expand Kentucky law, establishing rules for hemp production in the Commonwealth.

If passed by the House, the bill will authorize the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to publicize administrative regulations for the program and replaces the Hemp Commission with an Industrial Hemp Advisory Board.

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles said, "The bill will improve the framework of a growing industrial hemp program in Kentucky.”

"As many as 12,000 acres of hemp could be planted this season. That compares to 4000 acres approved for hemp production last year," according to Commissioner Quarles.

In 2014, the program began in Kentucky with a minor 33 acres. By 2016, 137 growers were approved to plant up to 4,500 acres. With more than 12,800 acres approved to be grown, 2017 will mark the state’s largest industrial hemp crop under the program.

“We are proud to have 40 processors with brick-and-mortar locations in Kentucky, the highest ever, that are turning this raw product into intermediate or final materials. Its potential uses are unlimited,” said Commissioner Quarles.

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