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Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul push legalizing hemp growth

Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul push legalizing hemp growth

By JENNY HOPKINSON 2/5/15 5:38 AM EST From Politico.com Forget legalizing pot: Two of the most powerful Republicans in the Senate believe there’s a much stronger chance to legalize growing hemp in the U.S., opening up an entirely new market for crops, health food, oil, shirts, towels and even dog toys. Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul and Rep. Thomas Massie are pushing legislation in both chambers of Congress that would remove the less-potent member of the cannabis family from the federal list of controlled substances, allowing its return to America’s farmland after more than 40 years. It’s a states’ rights and economic growth issue, the Republican lawmakers argue. Legalizing hemp would create jobs. “People used to downplay the number of jobs industrial hemp might create and say, ‘Well it’s a few thousand jobs and a couple million in commerce,’” Massie said. But all told, legalizing the crop has the potential to create 10 times as many jobs “as the Keystone XL pipeline will create 10 years from now.” Hemp legalization legislation has been considered in Congress since 2005, when then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) pushed the issue. But the current bills have champions in positions of power, including the Senate majority leader and a potential White House contender. Read...
HIA issues statement about differences between hemp and cannabis oils

HIA issues statement about differences between hemp and cannabis oils

Confusion amongst the public on how exactly hemp oil differs from cannabidiol, or CBD, oil, has prompted the nonprofit Hemp Industries Association to issue a statement explaining the difference between the oils in order to ensure that consumers — specifically, medical marijuana patients — are not misled about the intended uses. Hemp is often mistaken for its cannabis cousin, marijuana, even though smoking an entire garbage bag of hemp would not produce an altered state of consciousness, as hemp contains low levels of THC. Confusion between hemp oil and marijuana oil has spiked recently, as states have passed medical marijuana laws that allow for the use of strains of marijuana that are low in THC and high in CBD. Consumers often confuse hemp oil with CBD oil because both are low in THC and contain CBD. “With hemp research and development pilot programs taking off this spring, and the hemp retail market growing at an incredible rate, it’s crucial that consumers and retailers alike understand the difference between hemp oil and CBD extracts,” Eric Steenstra, executive director of Hemp Industries Association, said in a separate statement. “Our Hemp Industries Association position regarding this distinction calls on makers of CBD products to brand and market their products truthfully and clearly, so as to not further the confusion surrounding CBD products in the marketplace.” Though hemp oil does contain low levels of CBD, typically less than 25 parts per million (ppm), CBD extracts “are produced either directly from cannabis flowers that are up to 15 percent CBD (150,000 ppm), or indirectly as a co-product of the flowers and leaves that are mixed in...
“Registration to grow hemp in Colorado open again”

“Registration to grow hemp in Colorado open again”

Farmers who missed the deadline to register to legally grow industrial hemp in Colorado are getting another chance. The state commissioner of agriculture, John Salazar, signed an emergency rule, effective this past Wednesday, to open the registration process again. The rule change was prompted by a bill the legislature passed this year and that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law recently. “In order to conform our rules with the new law, we had to eliminate that deadline,” said Ron Carleton, deputy commissioner for the Department of Agriculture. Now farmers just have to register their hemp crop 30 days before planting. The new rules will require applicants to provide a proposed harvest date. Initially, residents interested in growing hemp had until May 1 to register with the agriculture department. The process requires that applicants say whether their crop will be for commercial or research purposes. Final counts from the May 1 deadline show 1,543 acres across the state were approved to grow hemp this year. According to the department, 1,309 of those acres were designated for commercial purposes, while 234 acres were registered for research and development. Read the full article in the Denver Post...
“High Times for Hemp in Senate Vote” by Rob Hotakainen

“High Times for Hemp in Senate Vote” by Rob Hotakainen

BY ROB HOTAKAINEN McClatchy Washington Bureau June 5, 2014 in the “Ledger-Enquirer” By any measure, the U.S. hemp industry is playing a hot hand these days. Retail sales of hemp products jumped by a whopping 24 percent last year, with Americans gobbling up a record amount of food, lotions, soaps, clothing, paper products and even auto parts made from hemp fiber. While growing hemp remains illegal as a drug banned by the federal government, experimental plots have been planted in Kentucky and Colorado since Congress approved them for research purposes earlier this year. And a bipartisan coalition is growing, with Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky boasting last year that he owns a hemp shirt and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack suggesting in March that Ukraine might ultimately provide the United States with a good supply of industrial hemp seeds. On Thursday, the hemp industry showed its new muscle on Capitol Hill, convincing the Senate Appropriations Committee to approve a plan that would block federal agencies from spending any money to enforce anti-hemp laws in states that have received permission to grow the plant. The vote, on an amendment to a larger spending bill, was 22-8. The proposal emerged after the Drug Enforcement Administration last month seized a shipment of Italian hemp seeds destined for Kentucky. Eventually, the state got its seeds back, but only after filing a lawsuit against the federal government. “DEA is a bit of a lost rogue agency. They just don’t get it,” said Eric Steenstra, the executive director of the Hemp Industries Association, a trade group that represents hundreds of hemp businesses. “They’ve been continuing to...