Author: PAHIC (page 2 of 4)

Statement on DEA new ‘rule’ on marijuana extract

cbdFriends:

This week, the DEA issued a new rule concerning “marihuana extract” (see attached).

This has raised deep concerns in the hemp industry, particularly concerning the potential impact on CBD. Despite the increasing popularity of things like cbd vape juice, and the use of cbd rich hemp oil for health conditions, the growth of the CBD industry could be severely halted by the DEA. Several news stories have alleged that this rule poses an existential threat to the industry: this widely circulated piece from International Business Times states that DEA “set new cannabis extract laws” and that “CBD and all other extracts derived from the cannabis plant (psychoactive or not) will come under Schedule 1 drugs…and cannot cross state lines.”

This interpretation is manifestly inaccurate.

No doubt, this very confusing new rule raises some serious issues and potentially signals an even more aggressive anti-CBD approach by DEA. The various associations in the industry are carefully studying this rule, and I will share with you their thoughts as soon as I receive them, alternatively if you’d like to stay up to date with everything cannabis, you could visit this marijuana news blog.

But to allay the growing fears that many of you have expressed to me over the past 48 hours – as well as to prevent the gossip and clickbait articles from chilling critical work in the hemp industry — let me share a few initial thoughts:

• Top aides to some of hemp’s most powerful congressional champions have been consulting with DEA, and their preliminary read is that the rule is ministerial in nature: DEA tells them that by introducing a new code into the registry, DEA can better track what’s being done and help the U.S. comply with UN-tracking standards.

• OK, as an attorney who’s fought the DEA in federal court, I know better than take everything the agency says at face value. But whatever the agency’s intent, this is clear:

• DEA cannot make or change the law. That is Congress’ function.

• Federal law – via the 2014 Farm Bill and 2016 Omnibus Law – emphatically mandates that industrial hemp grown as part of state-sanctioned pilot programs is exempted from the Controlled Substances Act, and that federal agencies (such as the DEA) are prohibited from interfering with pilot programs and/or the interstate sale or transport of hemp products that are produced in pilot programs.

• For decades, federal law (as confirmed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals) has permitted the import and U.S. sale of foreign-grown hemp products.

Ultimately, this again counsels the industry to secure passage of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act in the next Congress, a step which would make all of this discussion moot.

I will continue to update you the more we learn details. But in the meantime, if you have any questions or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best,

Jonathan

Jonathan S. Miller
Attorney at Law | Frost Brown Todd LLC

Lexington Financial Center, 250 W. Main Street, Suite 2800 | Lexington, KY 40507-1749
859.244.3218 Direct | 859.231.0000 Main | 859.231.0011 Fax
jmiller@fbtlaw.com | www.frostbrowntodd.com

PA Hemp Program – Epic Fail

disappointmentThis certainly isn’t the post we expected to be making after waiting for months for the Department of Agriculture to release the parameters for participation in the PA Hemp Program.  To say we are disappointed would be an understatement. It is so restrictive and cost prohibitive that we see no clear way for the average farmer or small business to participate. The very people that we fought for to get this legislation passed. It was supposed to be something positive for the farmers, the people, the state, the economy and the environment. What we got does not meet any of those goals.

There are so many flaws in the program its difficult to know where to start. So rather than go into all the details of the inconsistencies, erroneous interpretations of both the state and federal legislation and conflicted statements amongst their supporting documents we will jump straight to the deal breakers.  You can review the application and supporting documents here:

http://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Protect/PlantIndustry/Pages/Industrial-Hemp-.aspx

1)  5 acre maximum, only 30 permits.

We can accept the 30 permits for the first year considering the late date and rapidly approaching planting season.  However the arbitrary 5 acre maximum makes it impossible to see any way a participant could produce enough product to recoup the excessive fee structure especially considering the strict limits on commerce.

2) Excessive fees

$250 application fee. $3000 ‘administrative fee’ for approved applications. $100 per hour, including travel time, for each time the Department deems it necessary to do a site survey or monitor the field. $200 per THC testing with no definition of how often they would intend to do that. There are also provisions for hidden fees that would make it impossible for a participant to be able to know exactly what they were getting themselves into from a financial standpoint. While we do understand that the Department received no funding to support this program, at $3000 per permit and all expenses being born by the participant, for the 30 allowed permits that is $90,000 for the department. We fail to understand how it could possibly be any more work or cost any more money for the Department if a pilot is 5 acres versus 500. One project is one project.

3) Commerce restrictions

While there seems to be some very vague provisions for sale of product it explicitly says no sales for ‘general commerce’ without any definition of what that actually means. What is the difference between commerce and ‘general commerce? But in light of the 5 acre maximum, there is no room for anyone to produce enough product to recover costs let alone make a profit if they should reconsider the strict limits on commerce.

4) No CBD of any kind

They claimed that “CBD for medical purposes is not permissible” – but made no statement about CBD that is used widely today as a daily human and animal supplement.  No matter how you look at it, by making that statement, they have created a bigger problem for Pennsylvanians. Will every CBD product now available in PA stores be removed? They also state that CBD can be converted into THC.  News to us.  The fact is that this Commonwealth allows, today and everyday, CBD products to be sold and distributed from locations within the Commonwealth and,  also allows, separately,  hundreds of bottles, concentrates and other forms of CBD to be imported daily from Europe and other States into all parts of PA.  These sales represent hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.  We just can’t produce it here.

5) Fiber and Seed only

Ok, maybe this one wouldn’t be a complete deal breaker if everything else was acceptable. Yet in their own example of a legitimate research project they use animal bedding. Problem is, they would have to reject their own example considering animal bedding is made from the hurd and not fiber or seed.

Bottom Line

This program is worthless to anyone with perhaps the exception of Penn State.  Pennsylvania has already lost a 5 million dollar investment. Other investors that have been waiting for PA to come out with the program have decided to set up in KY or NY instead. A business in western PA is moving. No one is going to build a processing plant in PA with this program. Without processing, particularly for fiber, we are not sure what product research they expect to be possible. Oh and as an extra little kick, while other states do feel bad for us, they are also high fiving all around as they know they now have several more years before PA is any kind of competition.

tho9fhj4txWe ask that all of you stand with us in rejecting this program.  But it won’t be enough if no one applies and then we all remain silent about it. We ask that everyone contact both the Department of Agriculture and the Governor’s Office and express your disappointment and outrage at this attempt to thwart the will of the people. Please be respectful and professional but be firm.

The Governor’s office is required to respond to every comment made at this link:

www.governor.pa.gov/contact    Phone: 717-787-2500

Secretary Russell Redding – rredding@pa.gov  Phone: 717-772-2853

Please email and call!!

 

 

 

 

Hemp Means Business

We’ve received several requests to make this presentation from last week’s Women Grow event available online. You have to click to move between the slides and some of the animations are a little slow when viewed online versus downloading it, but here it is!

Penn’s Best Mill Company Receives PA Preferred Status

Penn’s Best Mill Company has just been awarded PA Preferred status for their amazing line of cooking oils!

thPA Preferred is a state-supported agricultural marketing program.  The State Department of Agriculture launched the PA Preferred program to identify and promote food and agricultural products grown, produced or processed in Pennsylvania.

Buying local is not just a trend or fad. When a Pennsylvania resident purchases a product grown or made in Pennsylvania, they are directly supporting the state’s economy.  By purchasing local products, you are also encouraging and allowing Pennsylvania business to do what they do best- to continue growing and creating great products. When it comes to produce and other food items, you are guaranteed to have fresher, better tasting products.

66ba143ab54db4581a391388c69e647dPenn’s Best Mill Company’s line of cooking oils, including two hemp blends,  received their PA Preferred status in October. The only exception is their 100% hemp oil, which is currently imported from Canada. This will change next year when we have the first legal crops of industrial hemp grown in the Keystone State in more than 80 years!

Hemp oil is a delicious superfood, containing the ideal 3:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, plus omega-9—all of which are natural fats that can help metabolize fat in the human body. Additionally, hemp oil is rich in vitamin E, acting as an antioxidant. It is also one of the only plant oils containing vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption.

img_4061Penn’s Best Mill Company also just launched their product line in the Wegmans located in Williamsport, PA.

We eagerly await seeing that PA Preferred logo on 100% hemp products produced all over Pennsylvania!

 

A note from our President

State Senators Mike Folmer and Judy Schwank, Gov. Tom Wolf, Geoff Whaling and Bill Evans.

State Senators Mike Folmer and Judy Schwank, Gov. Tom Wolf, Geoff Whaling and Bill Evans.

Thanks to the efforts of many, we’ve passed and Governor Wolf signed act 92, the PA Industrial Hemp Act, into law on July 20, 2016. Since then PAHIC board members and others have been working with PA AG Secretary Redding and his senior staff to discuss and implement permitting so that Pennsylvania farmers, institutes of higher learning and others can begin the process of rebuilding our industrial hemp industry by getting seed into the ground next spring.

I wanted to share what some of the challenges are, so that you do not think that the PA Department of Agriculture is acting in a manner that is counter to our goals.  We have to remember that the authorization for Pennsylvania to enact industrial hemp legislation comes directly from section 7606 of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.  That section was not drafted by Congressional House or Senate AG Committee Staff, it was a member’s motion that was introduced from the floor of the US Senate and, as a result was not a perfect insertion into the Farm Bill. The language in section “7606” only provides for states to introduce legislation to undertake pilot programs and marketing research, without defining industrial hemp as a commodity crop, fiber or even as a specialty crop. Most importantly, “7606” did not remove this crop from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), even though industrial hemp, by virtue of its international definition, must have less than 0.3% THC – the psychoactive element found in marijuana. “7606” also did not give the United States Department of Agriculture any direction as to what the ultimate purpose or goal was for industrial hemp, other than to research it. But that is all about to change.

I have been working with a group of national hemp advocates, that we have nicknamed “THE SUMMIT GROUP”.  We have met in DC on numerous occasions and have bi-monthly calls to update and discuss our legislative activities. It is this group that has worked hard to gain the support of USDA to accept that Section 7606 made industrial hemp legal under federal law, opening up hundreds of millions of USDA NIFA (national institute of food and agriculture) funding. So now legal hemp programs can compete against other crops for USDA funding in addressing our industries need for equipment retrofitting, for new equipment specifically for planting and harvesting industrial hemp. this access to funding may also spur on programs to demonstrate all of the uses and usefulness of this crop. It’s exciting times for all of us!

I know it’s frustrating knowing that other states, like Kentucky, have as much as 5,000 acres approved for production this year. Yet our travels and work with the other state councils and organizations confirm that PA’s department of Agriculture is wise to go slow to get this right. By no means does that suggest PAHIC is not working daily to advance each of these issues. We cannot and will not let our 2017 planting opportunities pass by.

We are here to assist you and to help navigate these challenges!  Let us know how we can help!

Let’s get growing in 2017!

Member_GeoffGeoff Whaling is the President of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council, Board Member of the National Hemp Association and Pennsylvania Farmers Union, Co-Founder of the Coalition for Access Now – America’s largest CBD Advocacy organization and member of the leadership team that produces the Cannabis World Conference and Business Expos in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

Removing the Hemp Blindfold: A Marketer’s Emancipation

14642515_1014680071987327_7196574015882029664_nOur diligent work to persuade legislators to pass pro-industrial hemp legislation paid off this year. With the signing of Act 92, properly registered Pennsylvanians are now able to grow, cultivate, and/or market industrial hemp within the confines of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.

What may come as a surprise, to some of you, is that growing/ cultivating industrial hemp might be the easy part. Marketing industrial hemp—specifically hemp products intended for human consumption—is a challenge that we are only beginning to address.

Note: Hemp farmers, there is nothing easy about your job. Without your efforts, marketers would be pushing cotton products!

The passage of Act 92 and others like it throughout the United States represents our society’s growing demand for socially responsible legislative frameworks. Every day we are exposed to new information that supports industrial hemp cultivation. Whether it is hemp’s positive environmental impact or its extensive industrial applications, the proven benefits of hemp are helping to remove decades old “blindfolds” from the unknowing or disinterested private and public sectors.

Proving industrial hemp’s viability as a replacement for petroleum based plastics or non-renewable fuel for automobiles is simple. Researchers and developers create plastics and fuels from industrial hemp, apply them in real life situations, and if they work—you have a product that is ready for market.

However, while it is legal to create hemp products for human consumption – like the ones found here https://www.frontrangerelief.com/cbd-oil-buy-online/ – it is challenging for marketers to express the true health benefits of these products. Marketers may discuss hemp’s healthy nutrients, proteins, and vitamins, but may not make claims about the health/medical efficacy of hemp’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD).

This challenge is the direct result of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) position on CBD. Because CBD is not approved by the FDA as a drug, marketers of any product designed to deliver CBD to the consumer must tiptoe around the language they use to express its health benefits.

For example, we may not say, “ Hemp oil, rich in CBD, can cure cancer.” But we can say, “ Hemp oil, rich in cannabinoids, can improve your quality of life.” Granted, CBD is not guaranteed to cure cancer but neither are the various man-made medications that your doctor could prescribe. You can buy hemp oil online that can in fact, improve your quality of life.

By saying, “improve your quality of life”, marketers are trying to appeal to your desire to feel better, without referencing the specific disease or condition you might be treating.

You might also notice that we substitute the word “cannabinoids” for the acronym “CBD” in the example. This is to further protect the company or product from violating the FDA position. While this substitution functions as a protection from violating FDA policies, it can dangerously confuse the consumer—(which inherently violates Federal Trade Commission advertising guidelines).

Despite the copious amounts of anecdotal evidence suggesting CBD products can treat, cure, or mitigate diseases and medical conditions, the FDA prohibits marketers of these products from referencing these successes (as a result of using CBD hemp products).

Think about it this way: Make fuel from hemp that can power your car— you can call it fuel. Make hemp products rich in CBD that actually fight disease and medical conditions—you cannot call it medicine nor explain how it works.

blindfold_000007055540smallRegardless of the current landscape surrounding the marketing of hemp and hemp products, we will continue to find creative ways to provide evidence of hemp’s potential to exist as a societal panacea. Just as our diligence paid off with the passage of Act 92, it will eventually payoff by removing the blindfolds from the eyes of hemp’s critics. In the meantime, let’s hope those blindfolds are at least made of hemp.

Lane Radbill is a Pennsylvania native who currently works as an independent marketing, branding and communications consultant in the cannabis industry. He has worked with leading cannabis companies and organizations to mold pro-cannabis legislation and public perception. There are more and more online cannabis retailers, like Purple Tangie, popping up all over the country as states are making the substance legal for medical and recreational use again! Lane is a regular contributor to the cannabis themed publications Herb and Dope.

CBD Hemp Industry

cbdhemphoneyDuring the last presidential campaign in 2012, I was burning the midnight oil seven nights a week trying to advance the careers of the half dozen rock n’ roll bands I managed. It was during that time that one of my clients, Bill Kreutzmann from the Grateful Dead, first introduced me to cannabidiol, better known as CBD. He used it in a lotion to alleviate the tendonitis he had in his elbow after 50 years of drumming and raved over its efficacy. He explained to me that CBD was a compound derived from hemp, one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the plant. This revelation prompted me to do my own research and I soon learned this compound had therapeutic potential for a wide array of neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, as I soon discovered, the US government has held a patent on these cannabinoids as neuroprotectants and antioxidants since 2003 (Patent US6630507). I knew all I needed to know to leave my life as a music manager behind and dive in to the nascent hemp industry.

In the years since, there’s been myriad of media stories about children and adults experiencing near miraculous results in controlling symptoms of neurological disorders through the use of CBD. We have also heard from a number of professional athletes who publicize their use of CBD to mitigate the physical and mental damage they incurred while performing in their high impact sports. Click here to buy this products now and change your life! The word is out now: CBD is helping to improve the quality of life for millions of people.

It seems then, at least anecdotally, that CBD can provide therapeutic benefits for all walks of life; from musicians like Bill to military veterans to professional athletes, from infants to the elderly. Best of all, it is now easier than ever to obtain illinois cbd, with more and more people seeing the great health benefits that CBD has every single day. One could argue this non-toxic, non-psychoactive compound could hold the key to the future of self-care and preventative maintenance for the masses. What then must we do to ensure the success of this exploding industry?

cbdWith such great potential on the horizon, producers of CBD products need a comprehensive regulatory framework for which to operate within. The countless success stories created a huge demand for CBD-rich hemp extracts and as a result, hundreds of companies popped up around the country to get their piece of the growing CBD pie. But where and how is the hemp grown that is ultimately used to manufacture these products? What pesticides are used? What is the condition of the soil these plants were grown in? Beyond just the cultivation practices, what quality control systems are in place throughout the extraction and packaging processes?

For this industry to survive long term, producers of CBD-rich hemp extracts should adopt the CGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices) standards that the US Food and Drug Administration has in place for every other product intended for human consumption. The industry could also greatly benefit from putting systems in place requiring third party testing of raw and finished materials. It is of course too easy for companies to claim that they are the best cbd company, without sufficient regulatory measures in place. An objective, third party testing process would help delineate the competition and ensure customers are getting the best products.

The CBD hemp industry has matured to the point where legitimate consumer safety measures should be in place to ensure the purity, consistency, and quality of the products being sold. Until a federal regulatory agency such as the FDA or USDA step in, the onus will remain on CBD manufacturers to produce their products in a manner that is best for the hemp industry as a whole– not just for their bottom line profits.

Ryan Kingsbury is an independent marketing, branding and communications consultant in the cannabis industry. He spearheaded the ‘When the Bright Lights Fade’ campaign, an ongoing effort that has helped drive a national conversation about responsible cannabis use in professional sports. Prior to his work in the cannabis industry, Kingsbury spent 10 years in the music industry as an artist manager.

PA Senator Bob Casey Adds Support for Federal Hemp Legislation

 caseySenator Casey, who is a member of the Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry committee, today added his sponsorship for S.134 which amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marihuana.

On July 20, 2016, Pennsylvania joined the now 29 other states that have enacted industrial hemp legislation. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is working on implementation of the program and intends to be ready for research trials to be planted this coming spring.

ffffIndustrial Hemp was an important crop and a major industry in Pennsylvania, and was grown in the Commonwealth until the 1940’s.  What was even then a crop with hundreds of uses including textiles, rope, canvass, seed oil and livestock feed is today the most sustainable, nutritious and versatile crop on the planet with far more uses than our ancestors could even imagine.

“The United States is largest importer of hemp products in the world and the only importing nation not to grow the crop”, said Geoff Whaling PAHIC President.  “We import $500 Million+ in hemp products from Canada alone.  Those jobs and those opportunities for farmers need to be in Pennsylvania.”

welcomehomeHaving federal legislation that removes industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act will go a long way in ensuring that Pennsylvania is well poised to capitalize on Act 92 and regain its rightful place as a leader in the industrial hemp industry.

For more information on industrial hemp, please visit www.pahic.org.

The Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council thanks Senator Casey for his support for industrial hemp and the billion dollar industry we intend to build in Pennsylvania!

Hemp Industry Response to Federal Multi-Agency Statement Hemp

Hemp Industry LogosThe five leading organizations in the U.S. industrial hemp industry, Vote Hemp, the Hemp Industries Association, the National Hemp Association, the Kentucky Hemp Industry Council and the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council – together representing hundreds of businesses and thousands of farmers – join to address last week’s publication of a “Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp,” issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration.  We are very grateful to Secretary Tom Vilsack for his leadership in spearheading this inter-agency effort and his strong support for the return of a booming industrial hemp industry.

We are very pleased that, for the first time, federal agencies have confirmed that federal law permits the interstate sale of hemp products made from U.S. cultivated hemp plants, as long as the hemp was grown or cultivated as part of a state agricultural pilot program authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  Such a confirmation sends a strong signal of support to hemp farmers and businesses, and it provides clear assurance to investors and financial institutions that such commerce is legal, in contrast to the murky federal legal regime governing marijuana.  (Industrial hemp comes from the same plant species as its psychoactive counterpart, but by legal definition, it contains a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.)

Also very welcome is the news that authorized hemp pilot program participants will now be eligible for the wide variety of USDA programs made available to other crop farmers and agri-businesses, such as, potentially, loans, grants, certification programs and crop insurance.

However, there are several declarations made within the Statement that raise concern, declarations that we believe could be interpreted in a manner that is inconsistent, or directly contradictory, with federal law.

The Statement clearly notes that it “does not establish any binding legal requirements” and therefore nothing in the Statement compels anyone one in the industry to change any current business practice or operation. We are concerned, however, that selective federal agency enforcement based on these declarations could have a chilling effect on the industry, and might put at risk existing operations that are fully compliant with current federal law.  Our greatest apprehension regards a paragraph in the Statement that could be interpreted to redefine the term “industrial hemp,” contrary to the clear, federally-mandated definition established by Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill.  In addition, we are concerned that, contrary to federal law,  the Statement might suggest that hemp stalk, fiber, seed and oil — long exempt from the Controlled Substances Act — cannot be sold in states without agricultural pilot programs if the hemp was grown in the U.S.; that marketing research activity conducted under a pilot program cannot be “commercial” in scale; that some hemp plant parts cannot be transported across state lines; and that the importation of viable seed even for an approved pilot program requires a DEA import license.

Accordingly, we have sent a letter – attached hereto – to Secretary Vilsack.  The letter outlines our concerns and asks both for clarification and assurances to hemp farmers and businesses who have relied on Farm Bill provisions to expend significant investment dollars on federally-authorized research – that they will not have to be concerned about potential federal interference.

We look forward to continue working with the Secretary and his excellent staff as together we identify new opportunities for farmers and create good jobs in the agriculture industry.

We hope this letter also helps remind Congress that to ultimately protect and empower farmers, as well as to launch a fully productive U.S. industrial hemp industry, it must pass legislation to fully legalize the non-psychoactive crop.  S.134 and H.R. 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Acts of 2015, boast nearly 100 co-sponsors between them, and offer the ideal, permanent boost for a thriving domestic hemp industry.

Hemp-Industry-Letter-to-Secretary-Vilsack

 

What’s Next For Hemp in PA?

welcomehome

Just 8 days after Governor Wolf signed the Industrial Hemp Bill into law, the PA Department of Agriculture held a stakeholders meeting to discuss the roll out of the program. While there wasn’t much they could do before the legislation actually passed, its clear they have been hard at work for a while.

PAHIC board members with the PA Dept of Agriculture.

PAHIC board members with the PA Dept of Agriculture.

We are proud of our Dept. of Agriculture and the enthusiasm they are demonstrating for this program. There is much work to be done, but their openness in listening to ideas, suggestions and hopes for this new industry is very encouraging.

Many aspects of the industry were represented at the meeting. PAHIC, Pennsylvania Farmers Union, PA Preferred, Penn State, lawyers , processors and farmers were among the 20 or so participants in the meeting.

thGSG3ZYXCIt was a great discussion from many different angles but what the defining question that must be answered first and foremost is, “What is the definition of ‘Research’.

We presented the case that there is scientific research that needs to be done which will be best suited for the institutes of higher education with traditional test plots. But marketing research is also legitimate research which would include commerce. Precedence has been set that this is indeed compatible with federal guidelines under section 7606 of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill.

While there are still many unknowns as the process unfolds, the Department felt that they should be ready to start accepting applications for projects by the end of the year and confident we will have seeds in the ground by next planting season!

ffffStay tuned – we will keep you updated as more details for participation are available. We anxiously await seeing emerald fields of hemp again in Pennsylvania next year!

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