North Carolina

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North Carolina: Farmers Think Hemp Offers Great Potential for State's Economy


Hemp farmers believe the crop has great potential for North Carolina's economy

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

The North Carolina General Assembly passed industrial hemp legislation in 2015, which was signed into law by former Gov. Pat McCrory. After two years of establishing bureaucratic rules, which include licenses to import hemp seed, a license to plant the hemp seed and consent to THC testing and GPS tracking from the Department of Agriculture, farmers are growing the crop in 2017.

Mann Mullen, a Franklin County farmer, is turning to industrial hemp. Mullen's business, Mullen View Farms, one of 75 farms in North Carolina that recently earned state approval to test the crop's viability, is looking forward to the new crop's potential.

North Carolina: Industrial Hemp May Replace Tobacco As Cash Crop

NC Hemp

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

In North Carolina this summer, farmers are experimenting with industrial hemp as a potential cash crop as an option to replace tobacco.

On Monday, Jay Foushee, a fourth-generation farmer, planted more than 6,000 industrial hemp plants. In 2014, a change in the law made the agricultural production of industrial hemp a reality.

"We call it Carolina Gold," Foushee said. "The potential income we can make on this crop is more than we can make on grain right now."

North Carolina: N.C. Hemp Commission Considers Joining Lawsuit Against DEA

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission is considering joining a lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Association.

The commission announced its support of the lawsuit verbally last week and plans to announce Thursday whether it will become a party to it.

The lawsuit would be filed by Founder’s Hemp of Asheboro – the first company to register in North Carolina as an industrial hemp producer. Founder's Hemp said that it intends to sue the DEA over its ruling that products made with CBD or cannabidiol hemp, which are in the same cannabis family as marijuana, are illegal and cannot be transported across state lines.

“We cannot let this stand as an industry,” Bob Crumley, president of Founder’s Hemp, said during a meeting of the Industrial Hemp Commission last week. “If we let what the DEA is currently doing stand, we need to fold our tents and give everybody their money back.”

Through the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, Congress allowed universities and state departments of agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research, and more than 30 states, including North Carolina, have passed laws allowing hemp research and pilot programs.

However, the DEA has maintained that the transportation of hemp seeds across state lines is illegal, and that it is illegal for farmers to sell their finished hemp products in other states within the U.S.

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."

North Carolina: Greensboro Woman Receives 4 Pounds Of Marijuana In Mail by Mistake

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Greensboro Police Department says it has seen an influx of marijuana deliveries by mail since it was legalized in California. Mrs. Watson of Greensboro found this out first-hand Monday afternoon when 4 pounds of marijuana were delivered to her home by mistake.

“I just cannot believe that someone would send that amount of drugs to my house! I just cannot believe it,” Watson told WFMY News2. “I'm very frightened. I still am a little.”

Watson said she was decorating her Christmas tree and expecting her husband home from work when she saw the package.

“I glanced out the side door because I always look out before I open the door,” said Watson. “And I noticed this big package was sitting here on my porch. So I opened the box up and my first thought was somebody was sending me a Christmas gift.”

The package was addressed to Watson's house, but it had someone else's name on it.

“I unwrapped it and there was this big round ball of something that was in a vacuum sealed bag with duct tape on it and then I started to wonder,” said Watson.

Police said that amount had a street value of $2,000 to $6,000, depending on the potency.

North Carolina: Man Found With 32 Pounds of Marijuana, Multiple Weapons and Thousands of Rounds of Ammunition

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A man was arrested in Lexington, NC Wednesday after police found him with 25 pounds of marijuana, multiple firearms and more than 18,000 rounds of ammunition.

The Davidson County Sheriff's Office Vice/Narcotics Unit conducted a drug investigation at the residence of Casey Shane Spears at 387 Bill Lohr Road in Lexington.

Spears was stopped while driving a vehicle during the investigation and he was found in possession of five pounds of marijuana. He was wanted in Florida for probation violation.

The investigation revealed that Spears was using a storage unit to possibly store marijuana.

Investigators obtained search warrants for the storage unit and his residence. In the storage unit, investigators found 25 pounds of marijuana packaged for sale, four rifles, three handguns, multiple weapon sighting systems, more than 18,000 rounds of ammunition and items of drug paraphernalia.

While searching the residence, investigators found 2 pounds of marijuana, three rifles, one handgun, $14,010 in cash, seven marijuana plants, additional ammunition, digital scales and items of drug paraphernalia.

North Carolina: House Gives OK For Industrial Hemp Research

NC hemp.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The North Carolina House on Monday gave approval to a bill allowing state land grant universities to grow industrial hemp through pilot programs.

Growers could be charged with a low-level felony for growing marijuana on property designated for hemp.

Industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis with low levels of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC. It has high nutritional value and can be used to make biodegradable plastics, fuels, clothing, construction materials, and rope.

Last year a bill was passed that legalized the crop and created the Industrial Hemp Commission. This new bill builds on that.

Federal law opened the door to industrial hemp research in 2014, and 28 states have since enacted laws for similar research or pilot programs.

Dr. Ron Heiniger, professor of crop science at North Carolina State University, said the school is eager to facilitate the programs.

“We feel very confident that the land grant universities here in North Carolina, above and beyond all the other land grant universities across the United States, can actually implement this plan in a responsible and productive manner with help to farmers of this state, as well as the citizens, and grow the economy in rural areas,” Heineger said.

North Carolina: House Committee Approves Industrial Hemp Research Study

NC hemp.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

North Carolina lawmakers are aiming to allow researchers to begin planting industrial hemp next spring.

The House Agriculture Committee approved a bill Thursday that will allow state land grant universities to grow hemp under the guidance of a nine-member commission and the Department of Agriculture.

Hemp is a variety of cannabis with low levels of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC. It has high nutritional value and can be used to make biodegradable plastics, fuels, clothing, construction materials, and rope. In 1937, before hemp was banned, Popular Science magazine called hemp "the new billion dollar crop."

The bill would allow the commission to fine growers up to $2,500 for growing marijuana on property designated for hemp.

Rep. Mark Brody, R-Union, assured the committee hemp grows differently than medical or recreational marijuana plants, and growers are unlikely to mix the two.

North Carolina: Bill Seeks Medical Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

North Carolina legislators have introduced a bill which would legalize medical marijuana in the state.

In 2014, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law an act that made CBD oil legal for use in treating epilepsy. The measure included a sunset clause to end the program in 2021 if studies failed to prove the effectiveness of the oil.

Representatives say it's time to make medical marijuana available to patients.

House Bill 983 is solely focused on making marijuana legal for medical purposes. Many are optimistic that it will pass this time around.

“I think we’re at a point where we need to start looking at alternative methods,” said Annie Hernandez, a medical marijuana advocate whose mother has multiple sclerosis.

Pitt County Representative Greg Murphy, a Republican and a medical doctor, is co-sponsoring the bill.

“What I would like to see happen is the ability of a small number of certified physicians be able to prescribe medical marijuana when other interventions have failed,” said Murphy.

He said marijuana can be used as a tool to help patients suffering with chronic pain from certain cancers and diseases.

“When it gets to the point when there’s not anything else you can do, I think she’d definitely be open to the idea,” Hernandez added.

She said the legalization of medical marijuana could help her family.

North Carolina: Marijuana Activist Charged With Giving Drug To Child

Monroe Gordon Piland III

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A former North Carolina physician and marijuana activist was served Wednesday with nine drug-related charges, several of which involved him giving marijuana to his child, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported.

Monroe Gordon Piland III, 69, of Candler, NC, has called marijuana an "essential nutrient" for health. He obtained a North Carolina medical license in 1979, but was convicted in 1981 in Dare County of felony manufacturing a controlled substance and possession of marijuana. His license was formerly revoked in 1984, according to records filed with the Board of Medical Examiners.

The Board decided to revoke his license after finding Piland was growing marijuana for a cancer patient, who had not asked him to grow the plant and had not expressed any desire for him to grow it. The Board also concluded he did not attempt to transfer the patient to Duke University Medical School, which then had an experimental, legal program to treat nausea in cancer patients caused by chemotherapy.

Piland has called laws against the plant blasphemous and has been a medical marijuana activist since that time.

One indictment charge him with "repeatedly blowing tetrahydrocannabinol in the face of [the child],” delivering a controlled substance to a child age 13 or younger.

Another indictment alleges Piland had mixed marijuana with goat's milk and given it to the child over a three-year period.

Steve Lindsay, Piland's attorney in Asheville, said the child abuse allegations stem from a child custody case and dispute.

North Carolina: Charlotte Restaurant Bans Hoodies And Customers Who Smell Like Weed

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The manager of Kabuto Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Charlotte, North Carolina believes his customers should show respect for one another. His restaurant displays a sign excluding people who wear baggy pants and hoodies and who smell like marijuana.

TV station WSOC reported that some customers are unhappy with the sign. One nearby resident who did not want to be named told a reporter, "It looks like they are trying to say something about some kind of race."

The restaurant has displayed the sign for three years. Manager Martin Tanaka feels strong enough about his opinions that he recently had the sign enlarged so people wold definitely notice it.

The sign reads: “Take your hood down. Pull your pants up. Finish your phone conversation. Marijuana smell not allowed. We will be glad to assist you.”

Tanaka said he recently had to ask some customers to leave when others complained of the smell of marijuana. “I know in some states marijuana is legal, but you are sitting with other parties at our restaurant and I don’t think it’s respectful.”

Some complain that the references to "hoodies" and "baggy pants" are racially driven. Tanaka denies that and said he will continue to turn away people of all races for violating his standards. “I just don’t like to see anybody’s underwear while I’m eating,” he said.

U.S.: Thursday Webinar To Address Quality Control In Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Thursday press briefing via Webinar will address the need for better quality control in medical marijuana products.

The briefing, hosted by RTI International, will address the public health risks arising in this unregulated market due to factors such as:

• Product types and formulations that vary from state to state, store to store, even product to product;
• Inaccurate product labeling and marketing claims;
• Limited testing of medical marijuana products for safety and efficacy; and
• Lack of professional guidelines and governmental regulations. This places the burden on the consumers and providers to be aware of the above factors and how they affect dosing and ultimately, safety.

This briefing comes at a time when the number of medical marijuana users is on the rise in the U.S. and even presidential candidates on the campaign trail are calling for more research.

Marijuana itself, of course, is as safe as it ever was. But as big corporate money and big corporate mass production methods have come to the medicinal cannabis world, the mom-and-pop atmosphere of trust and safety which had distinguished the industry from the rest of the cut-throat economy is fading away. Production is increased by using chemical fertilizers and harsh pesticides, and those who are focused only on profit and not on healing are looking only at the bottom line.

North Carolina: Marijuana Could Be Legal Soon On Cherokee Reservation


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana could soon be legal on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, just three hours from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Tribal leaders recently passed a resolution to allow a study on how cannabis could be legalized and used on the reservation, reports Brittany Nicholson at News Channel 9. The study will examine using marijuana for medical and recreational purposes in Cherokee, North Carolina, which is considered its own sovereign nation.

"When what's been referred to as the Cole Memorandum was released by the Department of Justice in October of 2014, this really kick-started the whole conversation," said Joey Owle, a a member of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and also an organizer of the group Common Sense Cannabis.

Owle presented the feasibility study to the tribal council in October.

"We're talking about a plant, cannabis, marijuana, whether it's a medical application or it's industrial hemp, it's a plant," Owle said. "It has a variety of uses and we shouldn't be neglecting that. We as Cherokee people always used plants for medicine, so that's where were playing into, is our culture."

Cherokee County Sheriff Derrick Palmer, predictably enough, is freaking out about "the future of North Carolina" if marijuana becomes legal. The county contains almost 6,000 acres of tribal land.

North Carolina: Cherokee Leaders Call For Marijuana Study


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in Cherokee, North Carolina, is investigating the possibility of allowing marijuana on the reservation.

Tribal Council members unanimously approved a resolution to conduct a feasibility study, to see if legalizing cannabis for medical, recreational, or industrial purposes would benefit the tribe, reports Rex Hodge at WLOS.

Joseph Owle of Common Sense Cannabis said it could bring in revenue and help those with health issues.

"With our feasibility study we're going to come back with numbers on what can be produced economically for our tribe here ... how it could impact our patients that we see through our health care system."

"There's currently no plan to legalize marijuana on the reservation," said Cherokee Vice Chief Richard Sneed. "That's not even being talked about. There's a feasibility study to gather information."

Residents said they like the idea of medicinal cannabis. "To help people with ... cancer or people with epilepsy," said Denise Welch.

"I think we should get it," said Doug Catt. "It would be good for ... like she said ... medical use ... not for recreational use."

Any kind of marijuana legalization would still have to be decided by a referendum and be voted on by the people.

North Carolina: Industrial Hemp Poised To Become Newest Legal Crop


By Steve Elliott

North Carolina farmers will wake up Saturday morning with a new option for crops. Industrial hemp production is expected to become legal at midnight.

Lawmakers passed the hemp legalization bill in September, in the final days of the session, reports Colin Campbell at The Charlotte Observer. The bill has been on the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory for weeks, and unless he vetoes it on Friday, it will become law without his signature at midnight.

"Hemp really gives us a crop during the summertime that is a viable cash crop to us," said Lee Edwards of Sugar Hill Farms in Kinston, who hopes to add industrial hemp to his fields. "We're in a perfect geographical location for the production of hemp with our climate.

Even the North Carolina Sheriff's Association supports the bill, because industrial hemp farmers would need a permit, administered by the new North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission under federal rules.

“Getting a permit would make it easy for law enforcement to know where the legitimate growers were,” association director Eddie Caldwell said. “If you don’t have a permit, then the assumption is going to be it’s the smoking kind.”

North Carolina is also home to one of the country’s only decortication plants, a facility that processes hemp to sell to textile manufacturers and other users. The multimillion-dollar facility is set to start production soon at a huge warehouse outside the small Nash County town of Spring Hope.

North Carolina: Former Physician Charged For Growing Marijuana In Garage


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A former physician in North Carolina said he is unapologetic about the changes he faces after cannabis plants were seized from his garage.

Gordon Piland is looking at five felonies and one misdemeanor charge after a raid by Buncombe County Sheriff's investigators, reports Kimberly M. King at WLOS.

Piland admits he had about 30 cannabis plants growing in his garage in his rented home in Candler, N.C. "It's a plant given to us by the creator," he said.

One felony charge is for possession of psilocybin mushrooms; another is for possessing what Piland said is an old bottle of his late brother's prescription Percocet to remind him of his brother's tragic addiction to pain medication.

The rest of the charges are for Piland's possession and and alleged sale of marijuana.

Piland has a medical degree from Wake Forest, but his license to practice was revoked in the 1980s, he said, when cops found more than 100 marijuana plants in his home on the North Carolina coast.

Piland said he considers himself a naturopath, and said he helps ill people who get relief from smoking cannabis. "I'm not doing anything but basically fulfilling my oath as a physician," he said.

"People who have cancer and are trying to treat themselves, some people who are on chemotherapy have looked to me for various forms of cannabis,” Piland said.

North Carolina: Governor Expected To Sign Hemp Bill


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Farmers in North Carolina may soon be able to enter the booming worldwide industrial hemp market, if and when Gov. Pat McCrory signs Senate Bill 313, which would legalize is cultivation in the state.

SB 313 originally had to do with license plates and registers of deeds -- that is, until an addition from sponsor Sen. Jeff Collins (R-Nash County), who added industrial hemp, reports Kat McReynolds at the Mountain Xpress. Gov. McCrory's signature is the last thing needed after overwhelming approval of the bill in both the North Carolina House (101-7) and Senate 42-2).

"From all indications, the governor is going to sign it," said hemp advocate Blake Butler, organizer of Asheville's recent HempX festival. "He's in support of it."

If McCrory signs the bill, an industrial hemp commission will be in charge of managing a statewide pilot program involving commercial growers and researchers. Industrial hemp is used to make thousands of products, from hempseed oil, to rope, to clothing, paper, plastics, and building materials.

The 2014 U.S. Farm Bill allows states to enact their own regulatory systems on industrial hemp cultivation. Twenty states have now adopted Farm Bill-compliant laws to accommodate hemp cultivation under various conditions. North Carolina law had remained silent on the subject until now.

North Carolina: Medical Marijuana Advocate Found Guilty; Headed To Prison


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A North Carolina jury took less than an hour on Thursday to find a man who openly ran a medical marijuana operation guilty of drug trafficking.

The jury of six men and six women found Todd Stimson, 44, guilty of two counts of marijuana trafficking in an emotional conclusion to the trial in Henderson County Superior Court, reports Sabian Warren at the Citizen-Times.

Judge Mark Powell sentenced a visibly shaken Stimson to a minimum of 25 months in federal prison, and a maximum of 39 months. Stimson was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

Addressing the court in a final plea, his voice shaking as his daughter cried, Stimson said, "I'm sorry that I've taken up your time ... It's not meant to be this way," reports Emily Weaver at the Hendersonville Times-News.

"What I did this time was to stand out and try to be accepted by society and ... work with the state along with the police department, along with the Department of Revenue and everybody (to show the state) that we can work together and get along," Stimson said. "And that's all I set out to do.

"Even though the situation is bad for me, I've done exactly what I wanted to do to raise awareness to ... what happens to people in this situation," Stimson said.

North Carolina: 94-Year-Old Man Arrested On Felony Marijuana Charges


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

From time to time, a particular arrest serves to highlight the absurd nature of cannabis prohibition.

Such an arrest took place on Monday in North Carolina, where a 94-year-old man was charged with felony possession of marijuana, reports Elisabeth Arriero at The Charlotte Observer.

Douglas Floyd Ponischil, 94, was arrested at 6:36 a.m. on Monday by the Mecklenberg County Sheriff's Office, according to arrest records.

Ponischil -- a World War II veteran, according to Hempyreum -- doesn't appear to have much of a criminal history in the state; a background check revealed only minor traffic violations.

North Carolina: Legislature Approves CBD Only Bill; Governor To Sign


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The North Carolina Senate unanimously passed a CBD-only medical marijuana bill on Thursday; the bill had already cleared the House 112 to 1 last week, and now awaits the signature of Governor Pat McCrory, who said he plans to sign the bill into law.

"This law will help ease the suffering endured by children from whom no other treatments are effective against seizures," Gov. McCrory said, reports Matthew Burns at WRAL. "I want to congratulate the General Assembly for crafting a bill that not only improves the lives of many North Carolina children and their parents, but also provides common-sense regulation and facilitates clinical research at our major research universities."

"This is helpful to a lot of kids where nothing else seems to help," said state Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson). "This will put North Carolina on the cutting edge of this type of epilepsy."

The "Hope 4 Haley and Friends" bill, named for six-year-old Haley Ward of Newport, who suffers from daily seizures, allows the medicinal use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil derived from the marijuana plant for the treatment of seizure disorders, particularly those afflicting children, reports Chad Silber at WFMY. Cannabidiol -- unlike THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis -- doesn't produce a "high."

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