Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Meet San Diego’s ‘Johnny Hempseed’

By David Wagner
Source: kpbs.org

Hemp is taking root again in the United States after decades of prohibition. Congress' latest farm bill green-lighted hemp on farms that haven't been able to grow the crop since World War II. 
But in order to plant legal hemp, farmers need legal hemp seeds. Hemp booster Chris Boucher is happy to provide them, free of charge. The only problem is that his seeds keep getting seized.
Boucher is the kind of hemp advocate who's always wearing at least one item of hemp clothing. When I met him at the San Diego office of U.S. Hemp Oil, he was wearing a hemp shirt with a helpful "hemp" label right on the pocket.
"It's actually very comfortable," he assured me.
Boucher brought out a bucket full of seeds, which he hopes will be used to make many many more hemp shirts — plus cosmetics, foods, car materials and other products.
But the Drug Enforcement Agency considers the seeds in his bucket a controlled substance.
Boucher said: "You could probably go to prison for about 10 years having this bucket of seed, depending on who interpreted the law." 
The DEA interprets the law by lumping hemp in with marijuana. The way the feds see it, both plants belong to the cannabis family. Both contain the psychoactive ingredient THC. Both are illegal. Nevermind that the level of THC in hemp is miniscule.
"There was an old saying back in the '20s: Only dopes smoke rope." 
Planting hemp seeds in the U.S. has been illegal for most of Boucher's career. But selling hemp-based products has been mostly fine. Boucher built his first business, Hempstead Co., entirely around those products.
"We sold hemp to the Beatles Anthology for music merchandise. We sold hemp hats to Disney for the Indiana Jones hat."
He had to import everything.
But this year, Congress gave states the go-ahead to approve hemp cultivation for research. Plenty of farmers have now obtained hemp-growing permits from the Department of Agriculture. But when it came time to buy seeds, these farmers scrambled to find a reliable supplier.
"There have basically been under-the-table transactions," Boucher says. "No one's really publicized where they got their seeds."
Boucher tries to do business above board. He doesn't mislabel shipments to trick customs. And he doesn't sell his coveted seeds at high mark-up. He donates them; and he's become very popular lately.
"We've had hundreds and hundreds of calls," he said. "I mean our phones ring every day about people wanting to grow hemp." 
The bucket in Boucher's office pales in comparison to his total seed supply.  
"We've got about 7 metric tons — I believe somewhere around 14,000 or 15,000 pounds of seed."  
But recently, two of those metric tons were seized by the DEA in Los Angeles.
"We had these seeds promised to people in Colorado, in Kentucky," Boucher said. "They cleared their fields, they were ready to plant. And they're not going to get their seed."
That means they'll have to wait another year to plant a viable crop. 
The seizure wasn't exactly a surprise. Earlier this year, the DEA tried to prevent seeds from getting to farmers in Kentucky. Lawmakers there, even Republicans like Rep. Thomas Massie, weren't happy. 
The DEA eventually gave up the seeds in Kentucky. Some of Boucher's donations are now in the soil at Murray State University.
Boucher has been fighting this fight long enough to know nothing goes smoothly with hemp. Twenty years ago, he made hemp history in the Imperial Valley. 

Hemp Farming Imperial County, California Seed Food and Fiber 2012

Above: Chris Boucher surveys his acre of legal hemp in Brawley, California, April 19, 1994.
Boucher says...
"This field you see behind me here, is a hemp field," Boucher says in grainy VHS footage from 1994. "The location you're looking at is Brawley, California."
He got permission from the local USDA Research Center to grow a test crop on a 1-acre plot. The tapes show tall green plants towering over Boucher's head.
But the crop didn't last long. 
Local drug enforcement agents came out and tested the plants. When they returned positive for THC — even just trace amounts — the crop was plowed under.
"Believe it or not, I thought within two years we would have a factory up and running, there would be 10,000 acres. And here it is, 20 years later; you know, marijuana's legal but industrial hemp isn't."
Boucher plans to challenge the DEA's latest seizure of his hemp seeds in court. Despite all the legal tangles, Boucher said there's hope for hemp. He said there's been more forward momentum in the last six months than in the last 25 years. 
He hopes to one day get his company's hemp not from Canada or France or China, but from a few miles away, in the Imperial Valley.

Chill out with hemp ice cream

Source: themalaymailonline.com

Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams hemp ice cream. ― AFP pic

LONDON, July 21 ― From hemp-laced ice cream to champagne popsicles spiked with an eye-popping 37 per cent alcohol, this summer frozen treats are going R-Rated. 

In a roundup of artisanal and craft ice creams, research firm Euromonitor has highlighted a few innovative, adults-only treats that are poised to shake up the market.
In the same vein as relaxation drinks ― beverages like Marley’s Mellow Mood and Mary Jane Soda that contain sleep-inducing melatonin ― Relaxation Solutions is set to launch a line of ice cream that contains 5g of hemp per half pint serving.
Fronting the brand will be 1980s comedy duo Cheech and Chong, a pair of cannabis-loving hippies. In their film “Nice Dreams,” the pair find fame and fortune selling marijuana out of an ice cream truck.
The Cheech and Chong’s Nice Dreams Ice Cream is set to hit US shelves in August. The launch comes as parts of the US have begun to relax their drug policies. The states of Colorado and Washington, for instance, have decriminalized the recreational use of marijuana.
While alcohol-themed popsicles and ice creams aren’t new, manufacturers are infusing the frozen treats with more booze than ever ― sometimes in eyebrow-raising quantities.
Mahiki Lic, for example, has spiked its cocktail-flavoured popsicles like Mojito and Pina Colada with 20 ml of rum ― equal to drinking a glass of wine.
The champagne popsicles made by POPS, meanwhile, contain 37 per cent alcohol and are pitched as a premium treat with a suggested retail price of £100 (RM544) for a box of 24 popsicles. Look for the frozen bubbly on a stick in upscale retailers like Waitrose, Harrods or Selfridges in the UK.
American ice cream maker Mercer’s also produces wine-infused ice creams containing 5 per cent alcohol in flavours like Cherry Merlot, Chocolate Cabernet and Red Raspberry Cabernet. ― AFP-Relaxnews

Hemp seed food debate: Government urged to back lucrative industry

By Sean Murphy
Source: abc.net.au

The politics of pot continue to cloud the debate about hemp seed food in Australia despite the national food standards authority finding the product is safe to eat and a health food.
It is the second green light hemp seed food has received from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) in a decade but state and Commonwealth food ministers have again baulked at legalising what is already widely consumed elsewhere in the world.
Last month the Council of Australian Governments' National Forum on Food Regulation deferred a decision until at least next January.
NSW Agriculture Minister Katrina Hodgkinson chaired the latest forum and said there was still concern about hemp seed food sending mixed messages over drug use.
"Is this a message saying hemp is OK and marijuana is OK? There are young and impressionable minds out there," she said. 
The minister accepted the FSANZ finding in 2011 that hemp seed food was different to marijuana and did not contain enough of the psychoactive ingredient known as THC to make consumers high.
However, Ms Hodgkinson maintained the NSW Government needed convincing on the point of legalisation.
The Government believed this would be inconsistent with existing drug policies and may have an adverse impact on police drug testing.
Australian police agencies test for THC in drivers with roadside saliva swabs.
The swab testing method was rejected by a major European Union study that found them to be unreliable.
But police agencies say the tests are extremely sensitive and legal hemp seed food could burden the courts with people challenging positive results.

Producers challenge restrictions

Australia's biggest industrial hemp grower Phil Warner says this is not a problem in parts of the world where urine and blood tests are used to measure impairment in drivers.
"There's [hemp seed] food all throughout Europe, all throughout North America and they have a similar police capacity as we do but they don't have a problem," Mr Warner said.
"What haven't they researched or what don't they have at their disposal to be able to detect the difference?"
Mr Warner's company Ecofibre has farms and facilities in three states and produces about 2000 tonnes of raw material a year.
The thing missing at the moment is the political will to explain to the community that it is safe, good for you and healthy.
Independent MP Andrew Wilkie
He lodged the first application for legalising hemp seed food in 1999 but its rejection meant his company was forced to produce a range of low-value products such as horse bedding and garden mulch rather than more lucrative hemp seed food and oil products.
"When we started off in this business Canada had about a $50,000 market into the United States for hemp seed products - now the retail sales in the US are worth $500 million," Mr Warner said.
"We could have been on that bandwagon."

Political push for public education

Tasmanian independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie says governments continue to mislead the Australian public about a safe and healthy product which could also be a lucrative new industry for farmers.
"The thing missing at the moment is the political will to explain to the community that it is safe and that it's good for you and healthy, but for some reason leading politicians nationally and here in Tasmania, when it comes to potentially for medicinal use, they're being weak," Mr Wilkie said.
Despite the legal restrictions hemp seed food products are being produced and sold in Australia.
Hemp Foods Australia is milling hundreds of tonnes of mostly imported seed in a factory at Bangalow in northern NSW.
The company exports to Europe, North America and Asia but also sells its seed and oil products to nearly 4,000 Australian retailers.
According to managing director Paul Banhaim the company is not breaking the law because it has a clear warning on products sold in Australia that they should not be consumed as food.
"Anyone who purchases these products must use them for external purposes only - to rub on their skin," Mr Banhaim said.
It us a legal loophole that has helped the company grow its domestic market but there has been a recent surge in imported hemp seed food products without any such disclaimers.

Fears Australia missing out on lucrative trade

Nimbin-based industrial hemp grower Andrew Kavasilas said it was unfair imports were being sold while he could lose his license if his seed found its way into the food chain.
"That's the problem - I can't grow seed to export to those countries who do consume hemp food because our food code doesn't allow it," Mr Kavasilas said.
"I would be selling an illegal product and none of our trade partners would want to buy a product which isn't meeting any sort of food code."
Mr Kavisilas said it was ironic that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was recently talking up trade with Canada which is a major hemp seed producer and importer to Australia.
"They've got a huge hemp seed industry, huge export industry growing double digit every year," he said.
"I'm sure [Mr Abbott] didn't say 'hey we're open for business but we don't want any more of your hemp seed food'."
We're going to have to look at some point where we take our business overseas, take our production facilities [overseas] to supply these overseas markets closer to market.
Paul Banhaim
Last year the NSW Food Authority warned some retailers that selling hemp seed food was a breach of the state's 2003 Food Act but it has decided not to take any action until the National Forum on Food Regulation makes a final determination.
In the meantime Hemp Foods Australia is expanding production to cope with booming export sales particularly in Asia.
But it has warned that it may move offshore if Australia rejects legalisation again.
"We're going to have to look at some point where we take our business overseas, take our production facilities [overseas] to supply these overseas markets closer to market," Mr Banhaim said.
"We are based here because we believe the COAG will make the right decision for the Australian public."
Mr Wilkie said it was inevitable that Australians would eventually be allowed to consume legal hemp seed foods and that farmers would gain access to this market.
"There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation swirling around and when it comes to industrial hemp for human consumption there is simply not a single good reason for holding off approving it for human consumption," he said.
"It is a healthy oil, it is a safe plant to grow and it will be very very lucrative for farmers - particularly in my home state of Tasmania."

Hemp in our future

California and federal laws pave the way for research growing while advocates push for looser restrictions

By David Downs
source: newsreview.com

Hemp, unlike marijuana, is planted in dense rows that resemble bamboo fields.

Green, 20-foot-tall fields of research hemp might be waving in the Davis breeze by next year in a startling breakthrough for California hemp advocates who have been working for decades to grow the plant.

The California Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, combined with the 2014 federal farm bill, has unlocked the possibility of legally growing the ancient food, fuel and fiber crop. “It’s remarkable. I’m quite thrilled,” said longtime San Francisco hemp lawyer Patrick Goggin. “We had no idea it would come this fast, to be honest.”

Championed by state Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, the California Hemp Act of 2013 authorized hemp farming in California, but only if the federal government allowed it. When the bill passed last year, it seemed likely that hell would freeze over before the feds would ever legalize hemp farming.
The federal government banned hemp along with its cousin marijuana in the ’30s, even though the plants differ in a number of key ways. Hemp, for example, has less than 1 percent THC, the psychoactive molecule in cannabis. Modern marijuana, by contrast, can contain 15 percent to 22 percent THC. But law enforcement officials have nonetheless fought to keep hemp illegal, arguing that cops can’t tell the difference between hemp and pot.

But then on Feb. 7, hell froze over. A far-left-far-right contingent in Congress added an amendment to the massive U.S. farm bill exempting research hemp from the federal Drug War if states also allowed hemp. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a centrist and a longtime opponent of marijuana, opposed the amendment. But “she lost big time,” Goggin noted.

Far-right Republican senators like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul (both from Kentucky) voted for the measure. “Hemp has strange bedfellows,” Goggin said. “I call it a wraparound coalition—you have a far-left and far-right and their interests do coincide on some issues and hemp is one of them. It’s very symbolic of these types of coalitions.”

When President Obama signed the farm bill—known as the Agricultural Act of 2014—on Feb. 7, it activated existing-but-dormant laws that allowed for the growing of hemp in about a dozen states. (Washington and Colorado straight-up legalized hemp in defiance of federal law when they passed adult-use marijuana legalization in 2012.)

Then on June 6, California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued a legal opinion on what the federal farm bill meant for Leno’s California Industrial Hemp Act. “[W]e conclude that federal law authorizes, and the Hemp Act permits, institutions of higher education and the CDFA [California Department of Food and Agriculture] to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for purposes of agricultural or academic research,” the opinion stated.

Goggin said the law requires CDFA to draft rules for research hemp pilot programs at colleges and universities. A hemp board is to be impaneled. County agricultural commissioners also will have to agree to participate. It could take “six months or 18 months” to get hemp rules done at the CDFA, according to Goggin. “More than likely, 18 months.”

“They are eager to move forward on this, but it is a matter of, ‘OK, where are we going to get the funding for it?’” Goggin continued. “We’re dealing with a state the size of a big country relative to the rest of the world.”

In an interview, Leno said California needs to snap out of it, straight-up legalize commercial hemp, let farmers grow it, and create jobs and revenue now. A CDFA research program could cost the state $20 million. The veteran legislator is irritated that legalizing hemp is still an issue.

Thirty nations grow hemp and it’s found in thousands of consumer products—from Converse sneakers to BMW interior panels. “It’s apparently only illegal when it’s growing in the ground,” Leno said. “Every one of our Western trading partners, plus China, grows it today. What do we need to spend millions of research dollars to find out?

“It still grows wild in California: It’s known as ‘ditch weed,’” he continued. “This is irrational and that’s been my point for 10 years.”

Leno said the state should ask U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to confirm that the Justice Department’s hands-off approach to legal marijuana also applies to nonpsychoactive hemp. But even if Holder did so, California farmers wouldn’t be able to get a hemp-growing permit. The CDFA hasn’t created one yet.

Leno said additional hemp legalization measures won’t be passed this year in the state Legislature. As a result, California voters are going to have to step up and legalize hemp as a part of adult-use marijuana legalization in the 2016 election.

As for Feinstein’s claims that police can’t distinguish between hemp and a drug crop of marijuana, “I don’t know that [Feinstein] has ever seen a hemp field,” Leno said. “Hemp grows to over 20 feet in height. Marijuana doesn’t grow much taller than 12 feet. Hemp is planted in rows six inches apart like bamboo. They look like bamboo fields it’s grown so densely. Marijuana is grown in rows 4 feet apart. How could they not tell the difference? It’s a false argument, and it always was.

“Hemp never was and never will be a drug, so it’s unfortunate that in the last 60 years it has been confused with one,” he continued. “Why can California farmers—especially in a time of drought, when they are desperate for a good, safe, drought-resistant cash crop—be denied the benefit of a national legal hemp trade? We should be growing it.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Truth About Hemp and Your Health

Source: onegreenplanet.org

If you’ve been following a plant-based diet for any time, you may have by now come across hemp as a food source while perusing the seed selections. Now, you can buy hemp seeds and hemp oil in many natural food stores and/or online. And you may even incorporate hemp into your diet already, or perhaps you have just become curious.
But, nonetheless, you’ve all probably also heard the jokes…or made them yourself. You have likely seen the hemp vendors at various fairs and festivals, with their pot leaf patterns covering everything in sight. You might wonder if hemp is a legitimate food source or a gimmick that has a bit of naughty fun attached to it. The answer would be that it’s food…a valuable source of nutrients not to be ignored.
Of course, hemp as food is not a new idea. For thousands of years, it has staved off hunger for peasants whose hard work required strong nutrition or endurance. Widely used to this day in Asia and Europe, hemp seeds still bear the stigma of being illicit here in the U.S. because of misunderstandings, politics and special interests.
Hemp seeds, in my view, should be as valued by today’s health enthusiasts as any other ‘super food’ because it is more than 30 percent complete protein, with all the essential amino acids needed for digestion and assimilation of nutrients. It is a rich source of the elusive essential fatty acid, omega-3, vital to human health, and in the perfect proportion with omega-6 to keep us vital.  Hemp seeds are also a rich and unusual source of the polyunsaturated fatty acid gamma linolenic acid, or GLA
On top of that, the use of hemp as food is good for the planet as it helps to re-invigorate soil where it grows. The natural fibers that exist in hemp have proven to be invaluable to us in manufacturing (George HW Bush’s life was saved by a parachute made from hemp…just sayin.’).
The use of America’s most misunderstood food, the seed of the hemp plant, could be a key component in healing the planet as we discover that the nutrients we get from animal food, a major source of pollution, could be obtained from the very seed that, during World War II, the USDA literally begged farmers to grow!
From as far back as Buddha to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to modern day advocates like actor Woody Harrelson, hemp has proven to be a valuable plant to be enjoyed and used to change our health and the health of the planet.
Do you use hemp as a part of your plant-based diet? In what ways do you use it? In an oil? Do you eat the seeds? Do you use it as a source of omega-3s? Be sure to let us know in the comments how you’ve incorporated hemp into your own diet, as well as any health benefits you’ve seen or felt as a result.  We’re always looking to delve through the misconceptions people may have about foods, especially those of plant-based nature that can be of benefit to so many! Please share your own comments and experiences with us!

Global Hemp Group Issues Alberta Crop Report

Press Release
Source: digitaljournal.com

SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 16, 2014) - Global Hemp Group ("GHG" or the "Company") (CSE:GHG)(OTCQB:GBHPF)(FRANKFURT:GHG) is pleased to report that the 1,500 acres seeded in June are healthy and at varying stages of growth. Some fields were stalled by excessive rain, but are recovering nicely with recent good weather and warm sunshine. All other fields are in excellent shape with minimal weed control necessary. Irrigation and additional fertilizing will take place this week on designated fields, while the dry land fields will be left to Mother Nature.

GHG crops are on target to produce an estimated 1.5 million pounds of hemp seed in October of this year, which management expects will translate into profitable revenues and cash flow for the Company in 2014.

GHG and the Alberta farmers have mutually agreed upon a restructuring of the contractual agreements for the 1,500 acres of hemp. $150,000 has already been paid into the farmers' trust, with additional payments of $225,000 and $375,000 due on July 30 and Sept. 15, respectively, and a final payment of $750,000 due on delivery. The revised agreement includes 1,500,000 warrants to purchase GHG stock at $0.15 for two years, subject to regulatory approval.

"This revised agreement shows that GHG and our agriculture partners remain closely aligned in working to achieve a common goal: restoring hemp's place as a major North American commodity," said Charles Larsen, CEO of Global Hemp Group Inc. "We are encouraged by the both the strength of the hemp crop so far, and the enduring strength of our farming partnership, and hope both represent only the beginning of greater things to come."

U.S. investors can find current financial disclosures and Real-Time Level 2 quotes for GHG at http://www.otcmarkets.com/stock/GBHPF/quote.

On behalf of the Board of Directors
Charles Larsen, Chairman & CEO
To view Global Hemp Group Inc. on the Canadian Securities Exchange under symbol GHG click HERE.
To view Global Hemp Group Inc. on the Boerse-Frankfurt Exchange/XETRA exchange under symbol GHG click HERE.
To view Global Hemp Group Inc. on the OTC Markets in the United States under symbol GBHPF click HERE.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2058582#ixzz37hbiA7Kc

These Sunglasses Are Made of... Hemp?

By Jamie Condliffe
Source: gizmodo.com

These Sunglasses Are Made of... Hemp?

These sunglasses may make you look good, but they could make the planet look better, too—because rather than plastic, their frames are made from flax and hemp.
The brainchild of Sam Whitten, these shades are part of a new line called Hemp Eyewear and are made from a hemp-flax fiber composite. Whitten explains that his 'research into hemp and its possible applications led to the discovery of hemp and flax fibre composite sheet material which are impregnated with an eco friendly binder.'
Perfect, it turns out, for making sunglasses (as well as, uh, scooters). The frames are simply compressed and molded under heat, then cured and treated with an eco-friendly bio resin to add waterproofing and a little extra strength. You can register your interest in snagging a pair here, but there's currently no word on pricing. [Hemp Eyewear via Design Boom]

Industrial Hemp Research And Production On The Rise After New Legislation

Source: ibtimes.com

An American hemp farmer at the turn of the 20th century. The hemp plant 
was widely used in the production of rope, sails and clothing until the 1930s.

Legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use is capturing most of the headlines about the plant's growing acceptance in the United States, but industry is also experimenting with other ways to use the cannabis plant, which could be even more lucrative for producers.
Hemp, for instance, contains almost no buzz-inducing THC and can be used to make anything from clothes and rope to medicine and cosmetics, all of which are getting more popular. But since U.S. farmers weren’t allowed to grow it, all the proceeds went abroad until recently.
“U.S. policy is finally acknowledging that hemp can help restore our agricultural economy,” wrote Doug Fine, author of “Hemp Bound: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution,” in a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times.
“[It will also] play a key role in dealing with climate change and, best of all, allow American family farmers to get in on a hemp market that, just north of us in Canada, is verging on $1 billion a year.”
The Kentucky Agriculture Department announced Monday more than 905 pounds of Canadian hemp seeds were planted last week to help farmers and researchers learn more about growing industrial hemp, thanks to legislation signed into law few months ago.
“We’ve got a really good process with the [Drug Enforcement Administration] now,” state Rep. Holly Harris VonLuehrte told the Associated Press, noting even customs officials weren’t aware of the new rules allowing the importation of hemp seeds.
Many American companies have been making moves toward this growing sector. 
Craig Ellins, chairman and CEO of GrowBLOX Sciences, a Nevada medical marijuana biotech company, said GrowBLOX has a few hemp-based products in the works and new regulations have made things easier.
“One of our largest legal barriers is the licensing procedures, which vary from state to state,” he said. “But more states have joined in and the process has become more fluid.
Growing hemp isn’t a novel idea. The plants were once widely cultivated in the United States. By 1943 farmers were harvesting 146,200 acres, but production fell in the years after that, with no records of it in after the late 1950s, a Congressional Research Service report said.
But that hasn’t diminished demand.
“The fact that the commercial production of hemp has been legally prohibited in the United States has not deterred substantial interest in the feasibility of U.S.-grown industrial hemp,” wrote analysts from the University of Kentucky in a May report.
The U.S. market for hemp products is worth nearly $500 million annually, the Hemp Industries Association says, and domestic businesses are hoping to break in.
However, stringent regulations have made this harder. 
"A grower needs to get permission from the DEA to grow hemp or faces the possibility of federal charges or property confiscation, regardless of whether the grower has a state-issued permit," wrote agricultural policy specialist Renee Johnson in the 2013 Congressional Research Service report.  
But in February, President Barack Obama signed section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill, which authorized 15 states to start growing hemp and study its commercial potential, which is a positive move for those looking to get into the business. 
But as the industry ramps up, some small-time farmers aren’t as excited, fearing corporations will take over the emerging niche business that may not be niche much longer, as well as genetic modification and other issues.
“Their plans to create industrial hemp, for example, could effectively cause a huge ripple effect in the marijuana industry if they get approval to bring [GMO] plants to the United States,” said Ata Gonzalez, chief executive of GFarmaLabs of Washington state, a cultivator and distributor of marijuana-based products.
He added many fear “Big Agra” companies will “effectively push out smaller operations that have prided themselves on having natural plants that they’ve put countless hours into perfecting and making sure are safe.”
However, there are few official reports of genetically modified marijuana or hemp strains. International agricultural company Monsanto denied rumors it was developing such a project.
“Monsanto has not and is not working on GMO marijuana,” a public statement on their website says, dismissing the allegation as “Internet rumors.”

Hemp food maker grows a new industry

By Paul Attfield
Source: theglobeandmail.com

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods co-founder Mike Fata has worked around perceptions of hemp by pitching a simple message: ‘Our products taste good, are easy to use and are good for you.’ (JOHN WOODS For the GLOBE AND MAIL)

For many people, innovation can be defined as expediting processes, breaking through barriers or developing new technology. For Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods co-founder and chief executive officer Mike Fata, though, innovation has a far broader reach.

“Ultimate innovation for us is creating something out of nothing, and we speak to a number of points of how we’ve done that, and the big one is creating a new industry out of nothing,” he says. “We take that into every single day of new product creations bringing world firsts to people, like hemp protein powder, or hemp hearts or hemp milk .”
In its 16th year of operation, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, based out of Winnipeg, owns approximately 65 per cent of the Canadian market share for hemp food products, and is the first hemp food manufacturer to achieve British Retail Consortium certification in recognition of the products’ quality. Mr. Fata attributes the company’s dominance to its continued investment in innovation.
“We’ve developed proprietary processing technology specific for hemp that wasn’t available before, so that’s another one of our strengths from a scale of operation,” says the 38-year-old Mr. Fata. “We just finished an expansion, putting another $6.5-million of equipment in our facilities, so we’ve made the investment over the years, both in technology, from the PhDs and the other research scientists that are involved in the company developing process, and then in testing that equipment.”
Mr. Fata, who was born in Thunder Bay before moving to Winnipeg at a young age, is fully invested in the products he sells, having used the benefits of hemp foods and the good fats they provide to get a grip on his own health and weight, which reached 300 pounds as a teenager. But the word hemp still produces many negative connotations to a lot of would-be consumers, and so awareness is still key to the company’s long-term business plans.
“Changing a consumer’s perception is very challenging, so over and above introducing something new to them, we had that as an obstacle because hemp and marijuana are both relatives in the cannabis family,” Mr. Fata says. “So our technique has been pure education and making sure that people really knew and that’s why we simplified it down to: our products taste good, are easy to use and are good for you.”
Those selling points weren’t enough to persuade U.S. authorities of hemp’s merits when Manitoba Harvest started exporting south of the border in 2001, and the Drug Enforcement Agency moved to ban hemp altogether. But, along with the Hemp Industries Association and another couple of manufacturers, Manitoba Harvest took the DEA to court and 2 1/2 years later finally won its case to sell product south of the border in 2004.
“It’s really opened up the marketplace, or at least made it okay to talk about hemp foods,” Mr. Fata says. “So that was a big milestone, and over the last 10 years it has really paved the way for the U.S. just to continue to open their doors from a trade standpoint and also from a consumer standpoint to welcome hemp foods into their businesses and into their diet.”

Test hemp crop grows with arrival of more seeds

Source: miamiherald.com

Another shipment of imported seeds is bolstering Kentucky's experimental hemp crop, this time with none of the drama that surrounded an earlier shipment that set off a legal fight between the state's Agriculture Department and the federal government.
Nearly 950 pounds of Canadian hemp seeds cleared customs recently without a hitch, and the seeds were planted last week to give researchers and farmers more test plots, state Agriculture Department officials said Monday.
"We've got a really good process with the DEA now," said Holly Harris VonLuehrte, chief of staff to state Agriculture Commissioner James Comer.
Comer, a Republican who is considering a run for governor next year, was at the forefront of efforts to reintroduce the non-intoxicating plant that was banned for decades due to its family ties to marijuana.
Comer's department sued the federal government in May to free a 286-pound shipment of seeds from Italy that was detained by U.S. customs officials in Louisville. The seeds eventually were released and planted in late May as part of pilot projects in the Bluegrass state.
"We're probably to the point now where we may end up just dismissing our lawsuit because we've gotten everything we want," VonLuehrte said.
The Canadian hemp seeds recently planted in Kentucky soil have a lot of catching up to do.
Some plots planted in late spring now have leafy hemp plants towering six feet high or taller, said Adam Watson, the state ag department's industrial hemp program coordinator. Some plants will reach 12 feet tall or higher before the fall harvest.
The experimental plots are spread out in western, central and eastern Kentucky.
"The crop is doing great in all three regions," VonLuehrte said.
The ag department is still awaiting a small seed shipment from Australia, Watson said.
VonLuehrte predicted that buyers will be found for all the available hemp from this year's minuscule crop. Hemp has historically been 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.
In Rockcastle County, a 2-acre crop has sprouted to about 8 feet tall, said Michael Lewis, a farmer helping lead that project.
Part of that crop will be used in making some U.S. flags, he said. Another goal is to develop a clothing line from hemp, he said.
The experimental project has drawn visits from area farmers and local political and business leaders curious about the crop's potential, he said.
"I think people are starting to really understand what this is and what it's about," Lewis said. "I'm a little shocked at how far we've come with it this quickly. It's a good sign that we're heading in the right direction."
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, Cannabis sativa, but hemp has a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.
The new federal farm bill allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research. Several Kentucky universities are involved in the research.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky crafted the hemp language inserted into the farm bill.
Despite the late planting, organizers are pleased with the crop's development, and the plots will provide useful information, Watson said.
"Our researchers went into this with virtually zero knowledge of hemp, at least from a production side," he said. "And even though these are very rudimentary plots this year ... they're still answering questions."

Hemp CBD Oil Is Different From 'Hemp Oil'

By Robby Gardner
Source: nutritionaloutlook.com

As interest grows in industrial hemp, thanks in large part to some U.S. states pushing for locally grown hemp, industry advocates are warning interested manufacturers not to get certain hemp products confused with others. In particular, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA; Summerland, CA) is advising against the marketing of hemp cannabidiol (CBD) extracts as ‘hemp oil.’
Hemp oil has enjoyed a long history of use for culinary applications and even cosmetic ones, such as the production of lotions, soaps, and balms. The ingredient is derived from the crushing of hemp seeds. Hemp CBD, on the other hand, is a whole different animal. While also available in oil format, the HIA says that hemp CBD extracts  should not be confused with the former ingredient, which consumers around the world already know commonly as ‘hemp oil.’
CBD is one of dozens of cannabinoids found in both hemp and its close relative marijuana. The compound is similar in chemical structure to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), for which there exists the medicinal marijuana market, but it does not have THC’s psychotropic effects. A health supplement market is, thus, opening up for CBD-rich extracts and their potential health benefits.
“While CBD has thus far skirted control by the FDA, it holds promise for several neuropsychiatric disorders,” says Wesley Ryan, MD, a board-eligible psychiatrist in Los Angeles. “Studies have demonstrated successful treatment of intractable epilepsy, as well as short-term treatment of psychotic disorders. Current studies are largely preliminary, but these initial favorable results beg further investigation, especially given the better safety profile of CBD over both THC and many of the accepted first-line prescription drug treatments.”
The differences between ‘hemp oil’ and CBD oil are quite clear. While hemp oil is obtained from crushed hemp seeds, CBD-rich oil extracts are best obtained from hemp flowers, leaves, and stalks. The HIA notes that hemp seeds typically contain less than 25 parts per million of CBD, whereas these other parts of the hemp plant may be rife with as much as 150,000 parts per million of CBD. Fortunately, both CBD oil and conventional hemp oil can be made without a real presence of THC. Manufacturers can go on safely making hemp oil, and they can also venture into CBD oil, an ingredient for which there is great market potential. The HIA, however, warns that marketing of CBD extracts is still a “legal gray area” under federal law, and manufacturers should be careful in making any health claims.
So far, 39 U.S. states have introduced pro-hemp legislation of which 22 have already passed theirs.
[UPDATE: Existing federal regulations for industrial hemp production do not address CBD content in finished hemp oil. A distinction is made, however, for a THC threshold under 0.3%. Both CBD-rich and CBD-poor hemp oils can be procured with very little THC, so either hemp oil from seeds should be called 'hemp seed oil' or CBD-rich oil from elsewhere in the plant should be called 'CBD oil.' Something should be done to clarify the two from each other.]