Hemp Growers Push for CBD Standards
Hemp as a fully legalized agricultural commodity in the U.S. doesn’t have an official name for a single unit of hempseed – just the way we have bushel for a unit of wheat and the rest. Even with all the ‘noise’ following its legalization, hemp still doesn’t have a name for an agreed-upon quantity.
This should tell you about the lack of accountability and uniformity for an industry that suddenly sprung up from no where after its removal from the controlled substance list in 2018.
In June 13, 2019, A global hemp research laboratory in Oregon in conjunction with an emerging national review board for a host of seed certification programs including hemp varieties addressed these concerns about lack of standardization for the U.S. hemp global market. This is one of the major attempts at addressing this issue and effort being made in creating accountability for the U.S. hemp market.
Jay Noller, the director of the new Global Hemp Innovation Center in Oregon has this to say; “If you look at a lot of financial markets, they're all saying, 'People are investing in this, and we have no idea what to divide it by. “We have hemp fiber. What is it? What's the standard length?”
This research hub in Oregon will certainly be one of the largest in the U.S. and will surely provide legitimate and legal hempseeds to grower farmers. According to Noller, this is important because individual hempseeds are selling anywhere from $1.20 to $1.40 per seed and 2,000 seeds covers an acre.
According to Vote Hemp, an advocate of the hemp industry, there has been an increase in the number of licensed acreages in Oregon because the climate is just perfect for growing the crop. This has earned Oregon the No.3 spot in the growing of hemp in the state, following Montaña and Colorado.
Other states with hempseed certification programs include Tennessee, Colorado, North Carolina and North Dakota. Although there are other U.S. Universities that have the hemp research programs such as Cornell in Ithaca, New York, the research center in Oregon will be the biggest, backed up with years of hemp research done in test fields in Bosnia, China, and Serbia, and also the 10 research centers scattered across the state. Researchers at Oregon state started growing their third crop in a field in Aurora in June 13.
The new research center intends to create a national infrastructure around the hemp market as it grows. On a global scale, hemp supply is less than 10% of the demand, which is what is making research centers like that of Oregon increase their effort as they try to stake a claim in the global marketplace.
Vote Hemp has it that the number of licensed hemp acres in U.S. hit 204% from 2017 to 2018. And that the market for CBD (hemp-derived cannabidiol) is expected to increase to $22 billion in 2022 from the previous $618 million in 2018 as more people recognize it as a health aid.
Growers who want to claim credit for specific genetic varieties of hemp should be able to do so by fall 2019 at the U.S. National Review Board for Hemp Varieties. If the board approves designation to the growers, then they can apply for a patent with the United State government, so that no other grower can grow that type of hemp.
A meeting held in Harbin, China on July 2018 is another attempt at standardizing the hemp global market. Here, members of the global hemp industry were brought together to map out important details such as the name to be called the standard length of hemp fiber or a unit of hemp. Even though countries like China has been growing hemps for years, there is yet to be an acceptable universal standard for the hemp trade.
According to Noller; “This is the first time in U.S. history where we have a new crop that's suddenly gone from prohibited to no longer prohibited. We have never had something like this.”
He also said that some sellers have taken advantage of novice farmers by selling seeds that grows into cannabis plants with high THC levels and can’t be marketed legally as hemp.
Know that marijuana and hemp are both cannabis plants but with different levels of THC. Illegal marijuana refers to cannabis plants with more than the required amount of THC. Hemp on the other hand contains only 0.3% THC, which is the accepted standard under the U.S. government.
Most states with hemp programs only test the amount of THC in crops after they have grown and nearing harvest. Any crop that tested over the required limit is destroyed. This makes farmers that bought bad seeds not to know until it’s too late.
There is a case in 2018, where a seed seller in Oregon sold seeds with high THC levels without the farmers knowing any better. Several emerging farms that bought the seeds went under when it was discovered. And the bad thing was the seeds look identical to the real seeds and you can’t tell them apart until few months later.
According to Willison, who left his cannabis growing business to start Unique Botanicals in Springfield, a lot of sellers were increasing the cost of what he referred to as “garbage seed” by as much as 100 times.
He continues that there is no such thing as a certified seed now – no guarantee where the seeds are coming from. However, he states that the U.S. government is really trying to remedy this mess as everything is still at the beginning.