The recent federal Farm Bill, which included an industrial hemp provision, has slowed down the process of rule-making by state officials. The provision gives colleges, universities and state agriculture programs legal right to grow hemp for research purposes. Individual farms are not included in this provision and, therefore, are not protected under this new bill.
Jim Cramer, director of market access and certification for The Department of Agriculture, says they are not going to be implementing an industrial hemp program – nor is Oregon State University.
Russ Karow, head of Oregon State University’s crop soil science department, says there is too much risk involved, due to the federal prohibition on marijuana. The university’s lawyers fear that implementing a hemp program would put the school at risk of losing the federal funding it currently receives.
Cramer brought attention an additional challenge in growing industrial hemp – how to obtain verified hemp seeds that are low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). State law requires handlers to be licensed in processing the plant from harvest to usable products, and there are currently no such handlers in the state of Oregon.
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