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.
 
 ~
April 22, 2019

MjMicro Conference

MjMicro is the next level in cannabis investment. Set to take place on June 25, 2019, at the Westin Grand…
April 22, 2019

Generation Z Americans will be the Ultimate…

“They’re growing up in a world where cannabis is completely normal.”
April 22, 2019

Vancouver’s 60,000-strong 4/20 event still an outlaw…

The city’s first 4/20 event since Canada’s legalization of recreational cannabis drew a record turnout on Saturday despite more pushback…
April 22, 2019

Michigan County says no to drug tests…

The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners voted down a proposal to add the word “marijuana” to its drug testing policy,…
April 22, 2019

Carl’s Jr. CBD Burgers Go Over Big…

In case you had any doubt about how mainstream and corporate 4/20 has become, you only had to attend the…
April 22, 2019

Mass. veterans want to expand marijuana access…

As the state’s opioid epidemic claims the lives of veterans at three times the rate of other Massachusetts residents, some…
April 19, 2019

US corporations embracing 420 as pot legalization…

Potheads have for decades celebrated their love of marijuana on April 20, but the once counter-culture celebration that was all…
April 19, 2019

USDA Clarifies That Farmers Can Import Hemp…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) clarified on Friday that hemp seeds can be imported into the U.S., and that…
April 19, 2019

4/21 Organizers Want to Reclaim Cannabis From…

On April 21, a coalition of justice and reform-minded organizations are launching what they’re calling the 421 For All campaign…
April 19, 2019

Support for marijuana legalization hits new high,…

Sixty-five percent of Americans now think marijuana should be legal — a record high in CBS News polling.
April 18, 2019

For a Better Cannabis-Shopping Experience, Focus on…

If you haven’t purchased pot since high school or college, going to a dispensary can be equal parts delightful and…