Thursday, January 29, 2015

Purdue industrial hemp pilot project fires up

By Erica Quinlan

Dan Timmer (left) talks with Tayler Glover, vice president of the Indiana Hemp Industries Association.
Dan Timmer (left) talks with Tayler Glover, vice president of the Indiana Hemp Industries Association.

INDIANAPOLIS — A milestone in Indiana’s journey toward growing industrial hemp was reached Jan. 5 when officials made plans for hemp research projects to be conducted at Purdue University.

Members of Purdue’s Industrial Hemp Research Team, the Indiana Hemp Industries Association and others discussed the parameters and intent of the 2015 industrial hemp pilot projects, which will be conducted pursuant to the 2014 farm bill.

Jamie Campbell, founder of the hemp association, said the law states that industrial hemp can only be grown by researchers from institutions of higher learning, upon Drug Enforcement Administration approval.

“Although final DEA approval is still pending, the (Office of Indiana State Chemist) anticipates approval very soon. Once the OISC receives this final approval from the DEA, the application process will open to those qualified to conduct research,” Campbell said.
The pilot project unfolding at Purdue will focus on varietal performance, economics of production and regulatory oversight.

Other relevant research projects being considered are related to energy, food, fiber, water quality, processing equipment and protocol, as well as value-added products.
Discussions are underway regarding sustainable development and commercial applications within the state.

In addition to Purdue’s pilot projects, a capstone class is being offered at the Richard G. Lugar Center for Renewable Energy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
“Agricultural and Industrial Business Ecosystem around Hemp” has been approved for spring 2015.

The purpose of the class is to explore, develop and recommend a comprehensive business ecosystem supportive of industrial hemp for use as a source of electricity, biofuels and value-added byproducts from the conversion process.

“The project scope encompasses seed development, agriculture, pre-processing, transport, manufacturing and distribution,” Campbell said.

“Indiana Hemp Industries Association hopes to make Indiana the cradle of this new industry. The Midwest’s successful history with hemp crops is returning at just the right time; it provides a sustainable, low-impact crop at a time when soil and water quality are top concerns within our state.

Further proof of industrial hemp’s progress soon will be evidenced in the American Farm Bureau Federation's policy book.

Delegates at the annual convention in San Diego passed a resolution that will create a new section to the handbook, entitled “Industrial Hemp,” which will include the line, “We support the production, processing, commercialization and utilization of industrial hemp.”

Questions can be directed to Campbell via email at jamie@

Editorial: Time to allow industrial hemp farms?


The following editorial ran in the Corvallis Gazette-Times on Jan. 21 in regard to the economic benefits of industrial hemp farms:
The pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together to allow Oregon’s farmers to start planting what could become their next cash crop: industrial hemp.
It’s about time.
In fact, it’s well past time. Now that Oregon has moved forward with medical marijuana and its voters have approved a measure allowing the use of recreational pot, it seems silly to leave industrial hemp tainted by its long-time association with the drug.
We’re not alone in believing this. In fact, this might well be the only issue on which Oregon’s Democratic U.S. senators, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, agree with their two Republican colleagues from Kentucky, Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell.
The four senators are co-sponsoring a bill, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, which would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. The bill would remove hemp from the federal Schedule I controlled substance list — a frankly ludicrous designation in the first place — and would define it as a nondrug as long as it contained less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.
Once you eliminate the THC, it turns out that hemp itself has a number of uses, including as a fiber. A number of farmers are positively high (sorry; couldn’t resist) on prospects for industrial hemp, including a Salem-area enthusiast who told The Oregonian that it “could save America. I am talking about everything from biodiesel fuel to food to health care products to paper. It’s endless. There are thousands of applications.”
Some problems remain: For starters, even if you’re a farmer in one of the 20 states that has defined industrial hemp as being distinct from marijuana (the list includes Oregon and Kentucky), you still must seek a waiver from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to grow the crop or risk raids by federal agents. You could see how the prospect of having DEA agents tromping around the back 40 might have a chilling effect. The Wyden-Merkley-Paul-McConnell bill (and, yes, it’s weird to place those names in the same sentence) would fix that.
Another piece of the puzzle started to fall into earlier this month in Salem, where the state Agriculture Department held a public hearing on draft rules that could allow farmers to plant industrial hemp crops as early as this spring.
The state rules aren’t perfect_- it’s not clear, for example, why the state is asking producers to pay a $1,500 fee for a three-year license — but they appear to be a solid step forward.
As it turns out, mid-valley farmers have another resource to call upon as they ponder whether to plant hemp: Oregon State University offers an online class exploring industrial hemp. (Interestingly, the class is offered through OSU’s College of Forestry as part of its Wood Science and Engineering Studies.) “Hemp is being rediscovered for the modern world,” OSU professor John Simonsen, who helped organize the class, noted in a Sunday Gazette-Times story.
Clearing the way to plant industrial hemp in the mid-valley may not in itself be sufficient to save America, as some hemp proponents hope. But these developments do seem to be small victories for common sense, and those are rare enough to be worth celebrating.

Deregulation plan to boost hemp industry


FARMERS will have easier access to producing industrial hemp after the state government announced new deregulation measures to aid in growing the industry in the state.

HAPPY OCCASION: Primary Industries and Water Minister Jeremy Rockliff is all smiles after his announcement of changes to industrial hemp regulations. Picture: Jason Hollister.

The measures, which include a pledge to introduce special purpose regulation for the crop, ends a decade-long fight for industrial hemp advocates, who have fought long and hard for a more streamlined regulation process for the industry.
HAPPY OCCASION: Primary Industries and Water Minister Jeremy Rockliff is all smiles after his announcement of changes to industrial hemp regulations. Picture: Jason Hollister.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff announced the measures yesterday, while attending the Kindred farm of Richard Sampson, who has been growing industrial hemp for three seasons.
Industrial hemp is used in textiles, pet food, hand cream and other cosmetics and is a different variety of the crop that is used for medicinal purpose and the illicit substance cannabis.
The measures introduced for the hemp industry include:
■ Introducing special purpose legislation for the cultivation and supply of industrial hemp for commercial production and other legitimate uses;
■ Immediately extending licencing from one year to five years to give farmers more certainty and allow them to get on with the job of growing the crop, and
■ Increasing the allowable THC theshold from 0.35 per cent to 1 per cent to bring the state in line with New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT and allow for easier trade of material.

Mr Rockliff said the new measures would "unlock the potential" of the versatile plant and said it would help to reduce regulation for farmers wishing to grow the product.The new measures introduced by the state government are in response to a parliamentary inquiry into commercial industrial hemp, which was conducted in 2012.
"I would really encourage other farmers to put industrial hemp in the mix and urge them to seriously think about it as a crop option," Mr Rockliff said.
Industrial hemp has been grown in the state commercially since 1991 but Mr Rockliff said since that time the crop had "never really realised its potential" and said it was great value-add crop for farmers looking to add to their rotation.
Other forms of industrial hemp can be used in food products for human consumption, however, it is banned under the Food Standards Australia and New Zealand act (FSANZ).
A decision on whether the ban on industrial hemp being used for human consumption is likely to be made today, but has to be legislated by the federal government.
Yesterday, Mr Rockliff committed to lobbying to have that ban lifted, because he said it would help to diversify the product further and value-add, which would hopefully entice more farmers to use it on their farms.
Industrial hemp has lower THC, which is the active ingredient that makes people high, than its more common counterpart, cannabis, that is an illicit substance.
Street-grade cannabis has THC levels around the eight to 12 per cent mark, industrial hemp only has 0.35 per cent.
Under the new regulations, industrial hemp will be allowed to have a 1 per cent THC level.

Why Some States Will Have a Head Start on Hemp

By Jennifer Grebow

Fresh out the gate of the 114th Congress comes the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, legislation that would widely make industrial hemp growing legal in the United States. With strong bipartisan support for both the Senate and House versions of the bill, it’s highly likely that we’ll see the birth of commercial hemp agriculture in the United States in the near future.
Like the 2014 Farm Bill before it, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 still respects states’ rights to set their own hemp regulations. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 would only authorize growing of industrial help in states that have already made such growing legal. Similarly, the 2014 Farm Bill, which currently allows researchers and state departments of agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research purposes, also authorized growing only in states where growing is legal.
Should the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 pass, there will still be states that do not allow commercial hemp cultivation, at least for the time being. The model says Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD), will be akin to U.S. state and federal laws governing the sale of alcoholic beverages. “It’s not that out of the ordinary where there are federal regulations that govern various elements and state regulations that govern retail distribution. I think that’s fairly standard,” he says.
But states that do not make way for industrial hemp will be missing out on what may soon become a very valuable U.S. cash crop. In essence, these states “will be years behind” states that do allow it, says Chris Boucher, vice president at hemp CBD oil company US Hemp Oil/CannaVest Corp. (San Diego).
“Business is going to go where you can grow and sell your crop,” Boucher adds. Not only that but where business grows, so does research and innovation. The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015’s plans to revoke industrial hemp’s current status as a Class I drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act will “open up the doors of economic investment, industry expansion, and commercialization,” Boucher says. “It opens up investment in the infrastructure of building the processing mills and seed-crushing factories and investment in the harvest equipment. Because right now, what company would want to invest in something if it’s a Schedule I substance?”
Perhaps even more important is the knowledge and know-how states investing in hemp early on will gain. While Boucher says that “it doesn’t take rocket science” to grow hemp, and that hemp scientists at CannaVest have researched the growing of hemp for decades, there’s still the matter of figuring out which are the most promising regions for hemp growing in the United States—the Sun Belt or Imperial Valley, for instance—or which species grow best or how best to obtain high yields
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 will play a pivotal role in determining whether industrial hemp turns into domestic gold. But chances are high that it will. The message, lawmakers say, is that U.S. consumers want industrial hemp. And where constituent demand goes, state laws—and business and research—will eventually follow.

Va. House panel backs bill to allow growing of industrial hemp

By Markus Schmidt

Jim Politis, with the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition, holds hemp stalks as he waits to adress the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources committee at the General Assembly Building in Richmond Wednesday. HB1277, presented by Delegate Joseph R. Yost, R-Giles, allowing for production of industrail hemp, later passed the committee.

RICHMOND, Va. — A House panel on Wednesday passed legislation that would allow industrial hemp to be grown in Virginia.
"If you look at the potential economic advantages that industrial hemp would provide for the state, particularly the Southside and the Southwest, it could be an economic boon in terms of the amount of research we could do on it," said Delegate Joseph R. Yost, R-Montgomery, the measure's sponsor.
House Bill 1277, which cleared the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources by a 13-7 vote, would direct the Department of Agriculture and Consumer services to establish an industrial hemp research program and relevant regulations in the commonwealth.
Last year, the federal Farm Bill had allowed universities and state Departments of Agriculture to grow hemp for research purposes.
"Virginia has a long history of safe industrial hemp production, with the first two drafts of the Declaration of Independence written on hemp paper," Yost said.
"One acre of industrial hemp produces the same amount of paper pulp that 4 acres of forest does. Industrial hemp production would create jobs and economic development, particularly in rural areas in Virginia. Should federal regulations allow for commercial production in the future, this bill would ensure that we are ready to move forward in Virginia," he said.
Bryan Porter, commonwealth's attorney in Alexandria, said that the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys does not oppose the aims of the bill but is concerned with its impact on law enforcement agencies.
"The way industrial hemp is designed in the bill, it refers to a particular level of THC and says that anyone who is a licensed grower and possesses industrial hemp cannot be prosecuted for the possession of marijuana," Porter said. "Prosecutors are concerned that this might have an effect on the backdoor-unintended consequence of legalizing marijuana."
THC - short for tetrahydrocannabinol - is the principal psychoactive component of marijuana and hemp. Under federal law industrial hemp in the United States must have a THC amount note higher than 0.3 percent. The average concentration of cannabis for recreational use is 5 percent and often much higher.
"You don't get high from industrial hemp," Yost said.
George Ogburn, who became a hemp researcher after a roadside accident in 2008 left him permanently injured, told the committee of the industrial advantages of the hemp plant.
"Between 85 to 95 percent of things in the world today could be made out of hemp. In China, they make cars out of hemp. Houses made out of hemp will take away asthma. There are millions of things that hemp does and it is a multi trillion-dollar business," Ogburn said.
Jason Amatucci, founder of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition, said he was recently contacted by a Germany-based company interested in building a hemp manufacturing plant in Virginia.
"Jobs are ready to go into Virginia immediately once we can get this going," Amatucci said.

Yost's proposal is heading to the House floor. Similar legislation is pending in the state Senate.

Tas cuts hemp red tape


"We are making significant reforms, to make things easier for 
farmers" --  Jeremy Rockliff

THE Tasmanian Government has moved to cut red tape around the state's industrial hemp industry.
Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff said special purpose legislation would be introduced to free up the cultivation and supply of industrial hemp.
Responsibility for licensing would be moved to the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, rather than the Department of Health and Human Services.
"We are making significant reforms, to make things easier for farmers, including
extending licensing from one year to five years, to give farmers more and increasing the allowable THC threshold from 0.35 to 1.0pc," Mr Rockliff said.
This would bring the state in line with New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, allowing for the easier trade of material.
Legislation was expected to be introduced to Parliament, later this year.
Mr Rockliff said he would continue to strongly support and lobby for Federal approval for the use of industrial hemp products in food, which had huge potential to open new markets for the industry.
New Zealand permits hemp seed oil to be sold as a food, but Australia does not.
It still has to be approved by all states and the national government under COAG arrangements, despite the fact Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has twice recommended restrictions be lifted.
A decision on this matter is now due to be made at the Australia/ New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation, in Auckland, tomorrow.
The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) applauded what they said was the government's positive approach to the hemp industry.
President Wayne Johnston said that farmers had been trying to grow industrial hemp as fibre for years, but had struggled with the regulatory hurdles, many of which were unique to Tasmania.
"It is pleasing to see the government move forward on the recommendations of the industry inquiry that was tabled in parliament in 2013," Mr Johnston said.
"This will finally allow a potentially profitable and competitive young industry the scope to grow within the State,'' Mr Johnston said.
The move to introduce five-year licenses (currently 1 year) would help the industry to commercially expand.
There were currently 11 licenses covering an area of 116 ha. in Tasmania.
"Our hemp farmers are now gaining a sound reputation as suppliers of consistently high quality hemp fibre," Mr Johnston said.

"We could sell as much hemp as we could grow - this move will give growers more certainty and encourage them to make further investment in the sector."

New special crops round-up

Hemp, quinoa, fababeans, camelina, hairy vetch, carinata and guar bean. Get the inside scoop


hemp crop
A field of hemp. Photo: File

Some farmers love growing the latest “new” crop. Others drive by them in their neighbours’ fields and wonder what they are.
There is no definitive list of “special” crops. Many crops we think of as “new” are actually very old. Some that are “special” in one area are standard in another.
This is not an exhaustive list of special crops that Prairie farmers have been growing in recent years, just a run down on some of the crops you might be running into down your gravel road. Some on this list will seem like old news to you. Maybe there are some on your “maybe I should seed this” list for 2015 (see link to Gallery below).


Hemp is of course famous, or infamous, for its resemblance to Cannabis, the drug. Hemp is part of the Cannabis family, however, it produces little or none of the drug its cousins are known for. Hemp has deep roots in Canadian agriculture (it goes back to 1606), and has been used for both food and fibre.
Health Canada has strictly regulated commercial hemp production since 1994. By 2013 there were 66,671 acres licensed for cultivation. Health Canada does not release the numbers until after harvest, so 2014 acres are not yet known, but some believe there could have been more than 100,000 acres in 2014.
Hemp seed is very nutritious, considered by some to be one of the so-called “superfoods.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids and is also high in magnesium, iron, potassium, fibre and a variety of antioxidants and phytochemicals. We see a range of hemp products in the store, including things such as Hemp Hearts (packaged raw, shelled hemp seeds), nutrient bars, dips, salad dressings and more.
Hemp is seeded mid-May to mid-June at 25 to 35 pounds per acre. Bin run seed is not permitted by federal regulations. Hemp requires about 110 days to mature.
The key to getting hemp off to a good start is to seed it into a clean, firm seedbed that has been pre-tilled or sprayed. Hemp does not like wet feet. Once emerged, hemp is a very competitive crop that quickly forms a dense canopy choking out weeds. At maturity, it reaches five to eight feet in height. Industrial hemp can be straight cut with a draper header and the newer varieties are much easier to thresh than in the past. After harvest, it requires drying to nine per cent moisture for storage.


According to Saskatchewan Agriculture special crops specialist Dale Rizula, quinoa is going off the charts. “Ever since quinoa was featured on Oprah, its popularity has grown,” says Rizula. “That very public clap-on-the-back to quinoa was all consumers needed to jump on the band wagon, and farmers are winners in that it provides them another crop in the rotation.”
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is often referred to as an ancient grain, but it is really a species of goosefoot, not a true grass. It is more closely related to beets, spinach and tumbleweed than to wheat. It is high in protein, has no gluten and performs well on dry soils. As for taste, some rave about its great taste and others liken it to sawdust.
Quinoa was originally cultivated by the Inca in South America, high up in the Andes, and was considered sacred, but now is cultivated in many areas of North America. It works in many areas of the Prairies, but especially in areas where heat stress in the summer is less likely.
Jeff Kostuik is a diversification specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and he is seeing more interest than usual in quinoa. “We started dabbling in quinoa as a demonstration crop in 1997,” says Kostuik. “Recently, interest has definitely picked up giving this niche crop quite a boost. Pricing has gone from 20 to 30 cents per pound to 75 cents per pound.”
Along with this increased demand and higher pricing, there is some quinoa breeding on-going at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to develop varieties better suited to Prairie production.
NorQuin is a processor in Saskatoon that specializes in Canadian grown quinoa and is the only contracting agent on the Prairies for the crop. Find more information about NorQuin online at


Fababeans are grown for both human and animal food markets. The human food market is primarily in the Middle East and Mediterranean area where fababeans are a traditional part of the diet. The human consumption fababean is often referred to as a tannin faba, whereas a zero-tannin or low-tannin faba is required in the animal feed market.
Fababean is a smaller seeded relative of the Chinese broadbean, but it is a large bean. They require a long growing season, 110 to 130 days, to achieve their maximum potential yield. The plant has an upright growth habit and can reach up to almost five feet. It can make an excellent silage for both beef and dairy cattle. The seed is high in protein and can replace soybeans in the ration.
Fababean does best in agricultural areas that receive good moisture and are relatively cool. Much like quinoa, it does not like heat, especially combined with dry conditions. It is a good option for irrigation. It is the most efficient nitrogen-fixing legume available in Western Canada and can be very useful in the rotation to break various pest cycles.


Camelina, or False Flax, has become an oilseed of interest on the Prairies primarily driven by the bio-diesel industry. It can also be used in fish feed, human consumption oils and bio-lubricants. It has very a very stable oil with high levels of omega-3 essential fatty acid and Vitamin E.
There was a high level of interest in 2005-06, when camelina acres peaked, in using camelina in jet fuel. A U.S. company received U.S. military funding to take this project further, but when some U.S. and Canadian farmers didn’t receive any or all of what was owed to them, they were left with a bad taste.
Since then, Three Farmers, a farmer-owned food company in Midale, Saskatchewan has been producing camelina oil and marketing it nationwide.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada also has a joint Camelina breeding program with Linnaeus Plant Sciences Inc. out of Saskatoon. The goal of this program is to breed for qualities that suit industrial oil markets like lubricants, motor oils, hydraulic fluids and polymers including increased oil content and larger seed size.
Camelina is a member of the Brassicaceae family. It’s an annual or winter annual, short-season crop. It responds similarly to Polish canola and mustard and yields somewhat similarly too. Research in Saskatchewan shows that it might be possible to seed camelina in the fall, but further study is needed.

Hairy vetch

Hairy vetch is a nitrogen-fixing legume native to Europe and Western Asia. This new crop is a favourite of Scott Chalmers, diversification specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Melita, Manitoba. “Hairy vetch is impressive because it doesn’t compete with other crops for resources,” explains Chalmers. “It can be successfully double-cropped or intercropped with winter wheat or sunflowers to choke out weeds and fix nitrogen.” Chalmers also noted that hairy vetch appears to share nitrogen with the companion crop through root rhizosphere exudate associations.
Hairy vetch needs to be planted in the fall if it is to produce seed the following year; it will only produce vegetative growth if planted in spring. Chalmers is doing trials intercropping hairy vetch with sunflowers. “So far, it appears to be neutral to profits even taking into account the price of the seed,” says Chalmers. “What was really interesting was that it left 60 pounds of nitrogen in the soil versus only 12 pounds in the sunflowers-only plot.” Chalmers is also looking at the potential to produce hairy vetch seed in a winter wheat crop. “We need to understand if we can support a hairy vetch seed industry in Manitoba,” says Chalmers. “It looks at this point as if we can, and very profitably as well.”
The vegetative growth can be hayed or ensiled just like alfalfa, but the seed can be toxic to animals.
“There’s more research to be done with hairy vetch,” says Chalmers. “At this point, it does look like it has a good fit in a number of situations. We think it will work very well for organic producers as well.”


Brassica carinata is an Ethiopian mustard that can grow on marginal lands and is finding a use in bio-fuels because of its high oil content. Agrisoma Biosciences is commercializing carinata for use in jet fuel. The first flight using jet fuel produced from carinata occurred in 2012 and research and development continues. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has a carinata breeding program with the goal of improving yield, disease resistance and other factors to make it successful for Prairie farmers.
Carinata agronomy is similar to that of canola and mustard making it a relatively easy crop to adopt into the rotation. It is well suited to those areas of southwest Saskatchewan and southern Alberta where canola is not a reliable performer. An important distinction between carinata and canola that may have greater importance in the future is the fact carinata is immune to blackleg and clubroot.

Guar bean

Sometimes a crop comes along that just doesn’t work… maybe more often than not. Guar bean is one of those. Just as consumer demands for healthy foods can drive production, so too can industrial demand.
The fracking oil industry uses guar gum extensively — the guar gum turns water into a very thick, viscous gel. Pumping high viscosity water down a well fractures the subsurface rock and releases the oil and natural gas trapped there. Additionally, sand is mixed with the high viscosity water and gets pumped into the fractures. When the pumping is stopped, the sand grains, known as proppants in the fracking world, hold open the tiny fractures in the rock and allow the oil and gas to continue to flow out of the rock and into the well.
Guar beans are annual legumes that are grown in India and Pakistan, and more recently, Texas. It’s a long season crop suited to hot, dry climates. Diversification specialists tried growing guar bean obtained from Texas in Manitoba — with spectacularly unsuccessful results. The seeds took three weeks to emerge and then remained in the cotyledon stage for three weeks. Six weeks later hardly a plant could be found among the mess of weeds that proliferated. Needless to say, it’s unlikely that Prairie farmers will be able to supply the fracking industry with the guar gum they so desperately need, but it’s interesting to understand how new crops can come to be tested for Prairie production.

Debate on hemp cultivation bill to start next week (Cypress)

By  Constantinos Psillides

Debate on hemp cultivation bill to start next week
Hemp pickers in Akaki harvesting the crop

A DRAFT of the much-hyped hemp cultivation legalisation bill has been finalised and it will be up for discussion before the competent authorities by next week, according to the Greens’ party who have been lobbying to legalise hemp along with medicinal cannabis.
The Greens said in a statement on Wednesday that legalising hemp will open up new possibilities in both the agriculture and industry sectors.
“It is time to shutter taboos and enter a new era. Examples from other countries, that successfully grew an industry surrounding hemp and medicinal cannabis, show us the way forward,” said the statement.
Hemp cultivation should have already been legalised but a bureaucratic mix-up brought the endeavour to a standstill, with the Health ministry permanent secretary claiming that it wasn’t clear whether minister Filippos Patsalis had the legal authority to sign a decree removing hemp from the illegal drugs list.
The bill was sent to Legal Services which was tasked with sorting out the problem.
Hemp, a harmless variety of the cannabis plant that is used mostly in the manufacture of textiles and clothing, has always been classified as illegal in Cyprus, due to the fact that the plant it indistinguishable from marijuana plants.
Hemp has extremely low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the state-altering chemical prevalent in marijuana. Its cultivation is not only legal in the EU, but farmers also receive subsidies. Cyprus is being forced to amend its legislation, since farmers have already planted hemp and have applied for subsidies.
Agriculture minister Nicos Kouyialis had assured that the government has no plans to disregard the EU law, fully intending to harmonise national law but stumbling upon bureaucratic inertia.
The Cyprus Mail contacted both ministers for comment. Kouyialis claimed that his ministry did its part in the process and that the bill is out of its hands, while Patsalis said that he will be awaiting Legal Services to conclude their work on the bill.

UH Gets Federal Approval to Import Hemp Seed

The permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration is a big step for Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Research Project.


The University of Hawaii has received a permit from federal Drug Enforcement Administration to import industrial hemp seeds from Australia.
The seeds will be used for Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Research Project, which was created via a state law in 2014.
“This project is just the first step in establishing Hawaii as a leader in the growth and production of industrial hemp and its products,” Rep. Cynthia Thielen (Kailua-Kaneohe Bay) said in a press release Wednesday.
Thielen, a Republican who has long supported industrial hemp in Hawaii, said there was a delay in the permitting process because hemp seeds are considered Schedule I drugs by the feds and so require DEA approval before being imported, bought or sold.
Flickr: Chas Redmond
Seattle Hemp Fest
Seattle Hemp Fest, 2011.
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, and hemp comes from the same Cannabis sativa plant, but won’t you get you high.
According to Thielen’s office, UH Professor Harry Ako will be the lead researcher on the hemp project investigating the use of industrial hemp as a phytorediator, and as a biofuel. Phytoremediation involves the “direct use of green plants to stabilize or reduce contamination in soils which is needed to rejuvenate contaminated agricultural lands.”
Ako said in a statement, “I am looking forward to planting and cultivating this important crop which has so much potential for Hawaii’s agricultural future. It is exciting knowing that the University of Hawaii, and our state, is at the forefront in bringing industrial hemp back to our farmers as a crop which offers so much for so many.”
Hemp has a variety of uses, according to the Hemp Basics website, including in food products and as fiber for clothing and construction materials.

Industrial hemp advocates lobby to end Australia's ban on hemp foods

By Rose Grant

A packet of industrial hemp seed powder manufactured by Hemp Australia
Sold in health food stores for around $70 a kilo, this industrial 
hemp seed powder is made by Hemp Australia.

Australia's ban on hemp foods could be overturned when the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum meets on Friday.
Currently, low-THC hemp is banned in food in Australia and New Zealand.
However, New Zealand has permitted the consumption of hemp oil since 2002.
Australian industrial hemp growers and a consumer lobby want the forum of state and federal food ministers to overturn the ban.
Farmers say they produce a safe, valuable oilseed with no psychoactive effect.
"This is a harmless product," Tasmanian farmer George Mills said.
He and son Nick Mills are now growing their third annual crop.
They have sown a hemp variety bred to yield seeds that are high in the beneficial omega three and six oils.
But their 28-hectare licensed crop is destined for low-value uses compared with the human food market that some farmers in New Zealand supply.
"I think all of us farmers are getting sick of this red tape and nonsense," Mr Mills said.
"We need the governments to go ahead and allow the human ingestion of hemp, and allow the hemp industry to grow in this state."
This week's meeting is the third where the Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation has considered overturning the ban.
The Forum received advice from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, recommending approval of the sale of hulled and non-viable hemp seeds.
However, the prohibition on hemp foods in Australia is still backed by some states' police.
NSW hemp masonry expert and educator, Klara Marosszeky, said that was out of step with most of the world.
She said Australia was lagging behind most other nations in environmentally sustainable innovation with hemp.
"I find it amazing that we're not developing the food industry," Ms Marosszeky said.
Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek.
AUDIO: Hemp consultant, Klara Marosszeky (ABC Rural)
"The export market is huge and the internal demand within Australia is huge.
"At the moment the [Australian] Government is essentially turning a blind eye to hemp imported for food being sold in health food shops and lots and lots of other venues.
"Of course, it says 'not for human consumption' and there might be something there [on the label] or on the teaspoon in the picture.
"So it's really contradictory information that's being given to the general public.
"People know, or are starting to know, it's incredibly good for you."
In health food shops across Australia, an array of hemp products are sold.
Sticky labels on packets of low THC hemp seeds declare Australia is one of the few places in the world where hemp is banned for human consumption.
But the labels do little to deter committed consumers like Tasmanian, Estelle Ross.
Ms Ross said she regularly buys hemp seed, hemp oil and hemp protein powder in Launceston to use in her cooking at home.
She said industrial hemp had no psychoactive effect, but was great for her overall health.
"There are loads of warnings on the packets [saying] we're the only country in the world that doesn't allow it," Ms Ross said.
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AUDIO: Launceston woman, Estelle Ross, (ABC Rural)
"I figure if they [the US, Canada, Japan and EU] had years and years of research allowing their people to eat it, why shouldn't we do it here?
"And that's what I do, you see.
"Industrial hemp is only allowed to have 0.03 per cent of the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, so you couldn't possibly get high on it."
While consumers like Ms Ross typically pay more than $50 a kilogram for hemp seed and protein powder in retail health food outlets, Tasmanian farmers last year received $3.50 a kilogram for cleaned and dried hemp seed.
George Mills is one of only 11 farmers in Tasmania currently growing the low-THC hemp crops.
He said he was hamstrung by red tape that wasted time and money.
"It's beyond aggravation, because it is beyond all sensible rationale at all," Mr Mills said.
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AUDIO: Industrial hemp farmer, George Mills, (ABC Rural)
"We've been trying to grow hemp now for 15 years to get it legal; that's industrial hemp.
"The last eight years have been severely constrained by government bureaucracy and inter-departmental duck-shoving.
"The politicians won't grasp it.
"No one is prepared to make the stance and realise that growing industrial hemp has got nothing to do with growing high-THC hemp.
"It's a magnificent product and here in Australia we have been constrained by people who have no financial input and will not make a decision.
"We lose money because of these bureaucrats and governments who will not make this sensible decision."
The Tasmanian Government supports the use of industrial hemp products in food and said it would continue to lobby strongly for federal approval.
Last year, it released revised guidelines for the production of industrial hemp in Tasmania.
Meanwhile, in the US, two Democrats from Oregon have teamed up with two Republicans from Kentucky to introduce a bill that would legalise industrial hemp cultivation and production across America.