hemp

In Bergheim, Texas, just north of San Antonio, there’s a skunky smell in the air.   

New rules prohibiting the retail sale and distribution of "smokable" hemp products are unconstitutional, companies argue in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Travis County.

New rules banning the manufacture of hemp products meant to be smoked or vaporized went into effect Sunday.

The rules are part of the Texas Department of State Health Services' Consumable Hemp Program, which was created after the state passed legislation legalizing the production, manufacture, distribution and sale of hemp. Hemp contains no more than 0.3% concentration of THC, the chemical compound in cannabis that can get people high.

For many farmers, 2019 was the first year of growing hemp, since it became legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. In addition to the normal challenges of farming, hemp growers have had to deal with a different kind of problem: theft.

 

Many farmers are wrapping up a frustrating first year of growing hemp, which was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill.

“It’s kind of a good way to start, in that that’s about as bad as it can get,” said Jeff Cox, Bureau Chief of Medicinal Plants at the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “There’s a lack of expertise, just a general lack of knowledge as to how to grow hemp the best way."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is laying out its plan for hemp production, 10 months after the 2018 farm bill paved the way for farmers to grow it. 

The new federal program, which will be published Thursday in the Federal Register, is an “interim final rule” open to public comment. It would require farmers to secure a license from the USDA or their state if they want to grow hemp. 

As temperatures plummet, some hemp farmers in Southern Colorado are worried about how the first freeze will affect a crop that is especially sensitive to cold. 

Wichita — Sarah Stephens stands over a brightly lit table in a detached garage-turned-grow shed as she trims away unnecessary leaves from a recently harvested hemp plant.

When she’s finished, only the floral material of the plant will be left. The flowers will eventually be processed into CBD oil.

“We started out with not a ton of knowledge about it,” Michael Stephens, Sarah’s brother and partner at Tallgrass Hemp and Cannabis, said. “It’s been a learning experience.”

Texas’ largest law enforcement agency is moving away from arresting people for low-level marijuana offenses. It’s the latest development in the chaos that has surrounded pot prosecution after state lawmakers legalized hemp this year.

LAWRENCE — Before starting his CBD company, Chris Brunin researched the competition, the labs they used, the products they sold.

He checked out ingredient suppliers and organic hemp farmers. He took everyone’s pitches with a heapful of salt.

“The hemp industry is like the Wild West and Wall Street had a baby,” said Brunin. “You have to vet everything and everybody … to make sure you’re not getting messed with or lied to.”

Federal agencies are scrambling to establish regulations for hemp and hemp products as farmers in the Midwest and around the country start growing the crop. 

In the meantime, the government is warning companies not to make health claims about CBD they can’t back up. 

Months before Texas district attorneys started dropping or delaying low-level marijuana cases, state lawmakers were told that a well-liked bill to legalize hemp was going to complicate pot prosecutions.

The warnings fell flat.

After years of government stalemate, there is finally some forward movement on cannabis legislation in the U.S. Congress. 

The lack of federal cannabis laws has affected a slew of issues from criminal justice to small businesses. The banking problem, in particular, has made it difficult for legitimate, licensed business owners. For years, big banks have refused to work with cannabis businesses because marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug on the Controlled Substances Act, on par with heroin and LSD.

The scientists think they’ve come up with a solution to Texas’ pot problem.

Forensic and crime lab experts are optimistic state and local officials will support a new proposal that would allow for a faster, cheaper way to test suspected marijuana under the state’s new definition of the drug.

The state's top leaders are reminding prosecutors that marijuana is still illegal in Texas.

The letter from Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Attorney General Ken Paxton comes after district attorneys in major cities said they have effectively stopped prosecuting low-level marijuana possession cases since House Bill 1325 went into effect on June 10.

The demand for licenses to grow hemp has exceeded state officials' expectations. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses  profitable aspects of the hemp industry and how Oklahoma hopes to model its certification program on states like Colorado. 

TOPEKA — They’re here in Kansas. CBD products with a bit of that oh-so-taboo THC in them. To vape, to put under your tongue.

Some retailers argue those products became legal on July 1 because of tweaks to state regulation of cannabis-related substances in a bill supporting the state’s fledgling industrial hemp program.

There’s millions of dollars to be made from growing hemp, which for years was lumped in and vilified with its sister plant, marijuana. With the government loosening laws around growing hemp for the first time in more than 80 years, some states are charging ahead and letting farmers plant it — even before federal regulations are in place. 

Those states aren’t just getting a head start, though. They’re seeing significant challenges that hemp farmers will face for years to come, things like seed fraud, weather and a lack of machinery.

PLEVNA, Kansas — P.J. Sneed walks through his small greenhouse in central Kansas checking on rows and rows of small hemp plants just waiting to be put into the ground.

The plants inside the greenhouse near Plevna look rather healthy. Problematically, they look better than the plants in the few acres he’s already planted just outside of the greenhouse.

CBD is a key part of a drug that’s used to treat epilepsy in children. A small pilot study by Colorado State University suggests the hemp-derived oil may do the same for dogs suffering from seizures.

The non-psychoactive component of marijuana is the latest craze in alternative medicine. Even Walgreens and CVS plan to sell CBD products. But there's one group that has yet to cash in on the CBD fever: Texas farmers.

Kris Taylor was accepted into medical school. But instead of becoming a doctor, the Texan moved to California to pursue something he was really passionate about. Hemp.

Hemp became a boom crop in Colorado after it was legalized in 2014 alongside its cousin marijuana. CBD, a non-intoxicating cannabis extract that — anecdotally — has been labeled as a cure-all is driving the growth.

Joe Bisogno sees a bright future for industrial hemp in Kansas. The plant is a close relative of marijuana, but it lacks the high-producing chemical THC.

The crop can be used to make everything from textiles to health and food products.

“Industrial hemp is not pot, but it is a pot of gold for Kansas,” Bisogno said before the ribbon cutting on a new hemp training facility in De Soto.

Bisogno founded America’s Hemp Academy to train people on growing hemp, but other state officials hope Kansas can cash in on more than just growing the crop.

There’s a long-forbidden crop on the verge of legalization, one that’s versatile and could open up new markets for farmers: hemp.

Cannabinoid Creations founder Scott Leshman pours samples of his signature soda flavor, Cartoon Cereal Crunch, at his booth for the annual NoCo Hemp Exposition in Loveland, Colorado. It’s an ode to the breakfast cereal, Cap'n Crunch CrunchBerries, with a twist: It contains cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil.  

Colorado One Of The Nation's Top Hemp Producers

Nov 27, 2017
U.S. Department of Agriculture

As U.S. hemp production doubled in 2017, Colorado became one of the country’s top hemp producers.

As The Cannabist reports, Colorado now grows almost 40 percent of all the hemp in the U.S. – more than twice what any other state grows.

Industrial hemp makes tentative headway on High Plains

May 10, 2017
Colorado Department of Agriculture

Industrial hemp is making headlines once again on the High Plains. The versatile plant—which lacks the levels of THC required to get a person high—still suffers from prejudice by association, and hemp growers aren’t able to access the same farm loans and insurance as other crop growers.

It’s time to start growing hemp

May 2, 2017
Jason Probst / The Hutchinson News

Industrial hemp shouldn’t really be something we’re talking about in Kansas.

Yet we are, because of an archaic bureaucratic decision in the 1930s that lumped the inert plant – useful in the manufacture of a variety of products such as paper, rope and plastics – with other drugs, which made it unlawful to grow and use the plant commercially.

Proposed hemp bill gaining support in western Kansas

Apr 25, 2017
Creative Commons

A bill that would allow Kansas farmers to grow hemp and Kansas State University researchers to explore its varieties and identify its industrial uses is gaining support in western Kansas.

As The Garden City Telegram reports, Representatives Russ Jennings of Lakin and John Wheeler of Garden City  both voted for House Bill 2182, as amended. 

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