Image of an industrial hemp field
~
Spring planting season is expected to include at least several hundred acres of industrial hemp, Adam Watson, the state Agriculture Department's hemp program coordinator, said Monday. Statewide hemp plantings totaled about three dozen acres last year, he said.
 
More than 100 farmers and processors —mostly growers — are expected to participate in the next round of pilot projects, he said.
 
Last year's tiny production turned into the state's first legal hemp crop in generations. The crop once thrived in Kentucky, but growing hemp without a federal permit was banned in 1970 due to its classification as a controlled substance related to marijuana.
 
Hemp and marijuana are the same species, but hemp has a negligible amount of the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.
 
Hemp got a limited reprieve with the federal farm bill, which allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp projects for research and development in states such as Kentucky that allow hemp growing. Hemp is prized for its oils, seeds and fiber. The crop was historically used for rope but has many other uses: clothing and mulch from the fiber; hemp milk and cooking oil from the seeds; and soap and lotions.
 
More than 320 applicants sought permission to join pilot projects this year in Kentucky, Watson said.
 
The number of participants was narrowed in hopes farmers would have markets for their hemp, Watson said.
 
"It takes money to grow it and we don't want to leave them with a great crop and nothing to do with it," he said.
 
Researchers from several universities will also have a hand in test plots, he said.
 
This year's projects will build on knowledge gained last year from a crop being reintroduced from scratch, he said.
 
Kentucky has been at the forefront of national efforts to revive hemp production, and its projected hemp acreage this year solidifies that role, said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a group advocating for the plant's legal cultivation.
 
"I think Kentucky will likely be the place where the most acreage is planted this year," he said.
 
He predicted hemp will be planted in a half-dozen states or more this year.
 
Kentucky's hemp crop will sprout from seeds imported from Canada, Europe and Asia.
 
Last year, plantings were delayed when Italian seeds were detained by U.S. customs officials in Louisville. The state's Agriculture Department sued the federal government, and the seeds were released after federal drug officials approved a permit.
 
Kentucky agriculture officials don't expect any such obstacles this year, Watson said.
 
A majority of the state's hemp crop will be processed in Kentucky, he said.
 
Kentucky farmer Michael Lewis said he plans to grow about 15 acres of hemp this year, and is taking the next step by getting into processing.
 
He said he will work with other farmers, converting their hemp and his into processed material for manufacturers.
 
Lewis said he expects "some hiccups" as hemp production and processing get off the ground, but he sees potential.
 
One key, he said, is to guarantee enough production to make it worthwhile for processors or manufacturers.
 
 ~
March 30, 2020

Massachusetts Marijuana Businesses, Struggling To Stay Open,…

Marijuana businesses and advocates are urging Governor Charlie Baker and state legislators to declare recreational marijuana shops "essential," allowing them…
March 30, 2020

Study: CBD Can Improve Effectiveness of Antibiotic…

A new study found that CBD could act as a “helper compound” with traditional antibiotics to more effectively treat staph…
March 30, 2020

Industrial hemp becomes legal in South Dakota…

Industrial hemp and CBD oil are now legal in South Dakota after a yearlong standoff between Gov. Kristi Noem and…
March 27, 2020

Bulking-Up Or Slimming-Down? Here’s How CBD Can…

From easing inflammation to helping with better sleep to ignite more effective workouts, CBD is being used by pro-athletes and…
March 27, 2020

Cannabis Books Worth Socially Isolating With -…

Normally active, social people around the world have been forced to socially isolate themselves in light of the coronavirus pandemic,…
March 27, 2020

‘We’ve been having 4/20 every day’: Oregon…

Take-out for weed? In the wake of coronavirus outbreak, OLCC is temporarily allowing marijuana retailers to do curbside delivery.
March 27, 2020

Illinois: How recreational weed went from illegal…

The state allowing pot shops to stay open despite a “stay-at-home order” that closed other businesses is “a sign of…
March 26, 2020

USDA Approves Iowa Hemp Plan - Cannabis…

Iowa’s industrial hemp plan has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and farmers in the state can begin…
March 26, 2020

Study: Legal marijuana products too strong for…

A new study has revealed that most legal marijuana products supplied to medical dispensaries are significantly higher in strength than…
March 26, 2020

Coronavirus could accelerate U.S. cannabis legalization -…

As the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic piles up, U.S. cities and states are set to face significant lost…
March 26, 2020

Letting VA Doctors Recommend Medical Marijuana To…

A bill that would allow doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to recommend medical marijuana to military…