Hemp Industries Association (HIA), a non-profit trade association consisting of hundreds of hemp businesses and farmers, has announced will host its annual conference Sunday, September 27 through Tuesday, September 29, at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.
The three-day conference will feature keynote speaker James Comer, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner, and expert speakers David Mitlin, professor at Clarkson University, David Williams, agronomist at University of Kentucky, Mike Fata, CEO of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods, Ethan Russo, MD, medical director at Phytecs, John Roulac, CEO of Nutiva, plus many others.
Focusing on the expansion of the hemp industry and market in North America, the conference will also feature hemp exhibits, networking opportunities, and a hemp farm tour.
WHAT: Hemp Industries Association 22nd Annual Conference
WHEN: Sunday, September 27 – Tuesday, September 29, 2015
WHERE: Hilton Hotel, Downtown Lexington
369 West Vine Street
Lexington, KY 40507
Held for the first time in Kentucky, the 22nd annual conference occurs at a bright moment in hemp history, as hemp is cultivated in numerous research projects and farms throughout the state.
Exceeding $620 million in retail sales, according to SPINS data and HIA estimates, hemp products are demonstrating significant market growth; with 21.2 percent year over year growth for the category of hemp foods and body care products alone.
By Steve Elliott
Is it the American way? A sheriff's office in Kentucky is encouraging drug dealers to turn in their rivals, counting on old-fashioned greed to help them make arrests.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office on August 3 posted a flyer on its Facebook page, reports the Associated Press. "Attention Drug Dealers," the flyer, which features a marijuana leaf, reads. "Is your Drug Dealing Competition Costing You Money?"
"We offer a free service to help you eliminate your drug competition!" the flyer reads. "Report your Competition to Us!
Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton claimed the post was funny, but the sheriff's department isn't joking.
At the bottom, people are asked to fill out information about the drug dealer they are reporting, including the dealer's name and vehicle.
"It is a great idea and hopefully spurs some more action on our tip line," posted the Franklin County Sheriff Facebook account.
The post had gotten 941 Facebook "Likes" and 3,079 shares as of Friday afternoon.
Sheriff Melton claimed he got the idea from the McIntosh County Sheriff's Office in Georgia.
By Steve Elliott
Support for a federal medical marijuana bill is building. The momentum is almost palpable from one day to the next, and the wave perhaps hasn't crested -- but the bill still isn't getting the Republican support it needs in the U.S. Senate.
Two more influential Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer of New York and Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland (both states recently legalized medicinal cannabis) announced their support for the bill that would reschedule marijuana and let states set their own medical marijuana policies. But the bill needs more Republicans, reports Matthew Fleming at Roll Call.
The bill has just two Republican cosponsors, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, an original cosponsor, and Dean Heller of Nevada. Getting any more has been difficult.
"It's a slow process and we're trying," Paul said last week, adding there are "several" other Republicans considered possibilities -- but none are officially onboard yet.
Sixteen senators support the bill, including Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey, the original sponsor, and Kirsten Gillebrand of New York an original cosponsor. Booker referred questions about Republican outreach to his office, which didn't respond to requests for comment.
By Steve Elliott
Kentucky's industrial hemp crop is growing and bringing new investors to the state, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer announced at a Tuesday news conference in Lexington.
According to Comer, 121 participants have been selected to grow hemp this year, including seven universities across the state, reports Janet Patton at the Herald-Leader. Thirty-six groups and projects will grow 1,742 acres of hemp this year, he said.
Last year, the first in decades that a legal hemp crop was grown in Kentucky, saw 20 farmers growing just over 33 acres.
The re-emerging industry has attracted 24 licensed hemp processors who are investing in the state, according to Comer.
"With their investment, jobs have been created, jobs are going to be created, and they've signed contracts with family farmers," Comer said. "Hemp equals jobs and true economic growth, which is what we predicted when we launched Senate Bill 50 two years ago."
Among the investors are Colorado's Stanley Brothers, who said on Tuesday they plan to grow hemp in Kentucky for their Charlotte's Web CBD oil, used to treat seizures in children. Joel Stanley, CEO of Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises, said they plan to invest at least $500,000 this year.
Algae International Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiary American Seed & Oil Company, on Friday announced an expansion of the previously announced distribution agreement of the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot in Texas and Kentucky. American Seed & Oil will now be selling the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot in Colorado, New Hampshire and Vermont.
"The response to the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot from our distribution network has been extremely positive," said Steven Rash, CEO of Algae International Group and American Seed & Oil. "We went back and asked to expand our distribution network into the additional states because we had unsolicited demand from those states.
"In addition to expanding our retail distribution network, we will soon be adding ecommerce to our website and selling the DuBe Hemp Energy Shot online with other organically certified hemp infused consumer products," Rash said.
The DuBe Hemp Energy Shot is a berry-flavored, all natural, zero calorie, sugar free, gluten free, GMO free energy shot infused with Hemp Pro 70 Protein Powder, "providing smooth energy for hours," according to the company. A DuBe CBD Energy Shot is coming soon, according to the company.
DuBe Hemp Energy Shot Products are herbicide and pesticide free, peanut-free, vegetarian approved, kosher certified, THC-free (NO THC, 100 percent Legal), and tryspin inhibitor free, the company said.
By Steve Elliott
Kentucky Baptists may have won a major legislative victory by helping to defeat a measure in the General Assembly that would have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, but they managed to give themselves a public relations black eye in the process, showing themselves to both be out of touch with modern medical research, and severely lacking in compassion, as well.
Almost as distressing as the fact that they were able to stop this compassionate legislation in its tracks is the fact that these heaven-dazed idiots were proud of themselves for doing it.
Legislators finished the 2015 session early Wednesday morning without passing a bill which would have made cannabis available for medical purposes.
Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood, who apparently was determined to flaunt his ignorance in front of large numbers of people, had called on lawmakers to reject the proposal, claiming Kentucky shouldn't follow the lead of other states that have done the same.
The KBC is Kentucky's largest religious organization, and as such has a powerful voice in the state, where 1 million of the state's 4.4 million residents self identify as Southern Baptists. Those demographics -- which correlate strongly with conservative political positions -- filter into the Legislature, where almost half the Senate and a third of the House identify themselves as Baptists.
The DuBe Hemp Energy Shot will be distributed in Texas and Kentucky, Algae International Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiary American Seed & Oil Company, announced on Tuesday.
The DuBe Hemp Energy Shot is a berry flavored, all natural, zero calorie, sugar free, gluten free, GMO free energy shot infused with Hemp Pro 70 Protein Powder "providing smooth energy for hours," claims a company press release. A DuBe CBD Energy Shot is coming soon.
DuBe Hemp Energy Shot Products are herbicide and pesticide free, peanut-free, vegetarian approved, kosher certified, THC-free (NO THC, 100 percent Legal), and tryspin inhibitor free, according to the company.
American Seed & Oil Company said it is developing a comprehensive line of cannabis infused products targeting the health and fitness conscious consumer. "The product line is expected to include products developed in house as well as products from partners like DuBe that compliment the overall product line," according to a prepared statement from the company.
In partnership with an established health and fitness recognized brand name partner, American Seed & Oil plans to open later this year, a pilot retail store in Dallas to market cannabis infused beverages and food. The initial products will be infused with hemp to include CBD which the company said is legal in all 50 states.
Cannabis including THC is also planned for when and where laws permit, according to the company.
By Steve Elliott
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he plans to file a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session to allow medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State, but he says its chances are slim.
Outright opposition to medicinal cannabis among lawmakers has softened, reports Gregory A. Hall at The Courier-Journal, but many lawmakers just haven't yet discovered the courage to vote for it.
"I think it's going to get some play this session; I don't know how much," said Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg).
The steady progress of medical marijuana legislation in other states is seen as increasing the likelihood for positive change in Kentucky. State residents expressed support for medical marijuana in Bluegrass Polls for the past two years.
Last session, timid lawmakers passed a no-risk "CBD-only" law that allows non-psychoactive cannabidiol oil to be used to control seizures. Two bills to allow broader medical marijuana use died, including one in the House that made it out of the Health and Welfare Committee before dying in the Judiciary Committee.
By Steve Elliott
Kentucky farmers and processors who want to grow industrial hemp for research in 2015 should apply now.
Several Kentucky universities, including Western Kentucky University, grew hemp this year for the first time in decades, reports Lisa Autry at WKU Public Radio.
That first round of pilot grows yielded data about production methods, seed varieties, and processing techniques, according to researchers.
"This past year we were as far west as Murray and as far east as Bath County," said Adam Watson, industrial hemp program coordinator at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. "We'd like to see that continuation or even expan sion on either end. Definitely we have different growing environments in Kentucky."
Applications to grow hemp are available on the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's website at www.kyagr/hemp. Applicants selected will undergo background checks and site visits.
Photo: Western Kentucky University assistant gardener Jenny Conner helps agriculture student Corinn Sprigler cut down hemp plants on the WKU farm (Lisa Autry/WKU)
By Steve Elliott
U.S. Senator and likely 2016 Presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) all but admitted in a Friday interview that he smoked marijuana in his youth, but called it a "mistake."
Paul said voters shouldn't confuse his push for reducing criminal penalties for drugs as an endorsement of drug use, reports the Associated Press.
"I think drugs, marijuana included, aren't good for you," Paul said in an interview with Louisville television station WHAS. "I don't want to be someone who is seen as being this person advocating for drug use. I think they're not a good idea."
"Let's just say I wasn't a choir boy when I was in college and that I can recognize that kids make mistakes, and I can say that I made mistakes when I was a kid," Paul said in the interview, broadcast Friday night.
Paul told a group of Northern Kentucky University law students last month that he wouldn't support lifting the federal ban on marijuana use, but said he didn't want the federal government to overturn state laws that legalize it.
The Hemp Industries Association (HIA) and Vote Hemp have announced that the sixth annual Hemp History Week will be held June 1-7, 2015. Surging with momentum following a monumental year in 2014, wherein hemp was both legally cultivated and harvested in Kentucky, Colorado and Vermont, this year's campaign will focus on the increased acreage of hemp on U.S. farms with the theme Sow the Seed.
Throughout all 50 states, more than 1,100 grassroots events will bring documentary film screenings, cooking demonstrations, retail promotions, educational outreach, spring plantings and hemp home building courses to the public, catalyzing movement on the issue of hemp legalization nationwide.
To learn more about Hemp History Week, visit: www.HempHistoryWeek.com.
Spring Hemp Plantings
HIA and Vote Hemp will work with farmers in states that have legalized the cultivation of hemp, to coordinate events this spring to celebrate the planting of hemp crops. The events will be open to both community and media attendance.
An environmentally sustainable crop, hemp helps restore nutrients to soil via phytoremediation, and does not require chemical inputs of pesticides and herbicides to flourish. As farmers open their hemp fields to the public, grassroots activists will offer educational events about industrial hemp—its history, agronomy, health and ecological benefits—as we join together to sow the seed.
The Health Benefits of Hemp
For the first time in two generations, the Industrial Hemp crop has been legally harvested in Kentucky. The hemp plots were grown in compliance with Kentucky state law and in accordance with Sec. 7606 of the 2014 US Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) that authorized hemp cultivation for research purposes in states that permit Hemp farming.
The agricultural excitement spurred some of Ohio's long-time hemp advocates to travel south to meet the farmers and gain first-hand experience with the plant that cannabis prohibition has kept out of American fields until very recently.
In votes often favoring Hemp by wide margins, 20 states have legalized the crop, defining it as Cannabis Sativa L., having .03 percent THC or less (no drug/narcotic value). The reforms are welcome in Kentucky, where tobacco growers are hurting for alternative crops.
Even with the non-drug status being declared federally, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized viable hemp seed en route to Kentucky from Italy, as outdated policy under the Controlled Substances Act doesn't recognize the scientifically-demonstrated chemical distinctions between "marihuana," a Schedule I narcotic, and hemp, a viable agricultural cash crop commodity. Kentucky sued the DEA to release the seeds, and prevailed in federal court, allowing the research plots to proceed.
By Steve Elliott
The first legal hemp harvest in Kentucky in 70 years has begun at the University of Kentucky. Researchers on Tuesday cut their test plot, which will now remain in the field for two weeks.
The 10-foot stalks will remain on the ground at Spindletop Farm for "retting," the process through which they break apart, said David Williams, an agronomist at the UK College of Agriculture, reports Janet Patton at the Herald-Leader.
"Microbes break down the tissues of the stem," Williams said. "The outside tissues form the bast fibers and the inside form the hurd fibers."
Thirteen varieties of hemp were sown this spring at the University; each will be evaluated for fiber and seed production. More test plots are at other universities in the state, including Murray State.
"It was a good growing season for many crops, not just hemp," Williams said. "Precipitation was excellent this year and more than adequate for growth.
"The only downside to the growing season was that we planted a little bit late, but I don't think that had much effect on the crop," he said.
The seeds had been held up for two weeks in Louisville by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which blocked them because the Kentucky Department of Agriculture didn't have a controlled substance import permit.
The 21st annual conference of the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) will be held Sunday, September 21 and Monday, September 22 at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC.
Business leaders and farmers in the hemp industry in North America and from abroad will meet during the two-day event to discuss strategies and plans to legalize industrial hemp and return hemp to the American agrarian landscape once again.
The conference will include expert speakers, hemp exhibits and sales, luncheon, silent auction, networking dinner, presentations, panel discussion and updates on industry developments and expanding markets for hemp products.
Speakers from the hemp industry and movement will present at the conference including Doug Fine, author of Hemp Bound, John Roulac, President of Nutiva, Steve Allin, featured speaker and author of Building with Hemp, Christina Volgyesi, Marketing Director of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, and other leaders in the hemp industry.
The 21st conference occurs at a significant moment in hemp history, as the first legal hemp harvests in the U.S. in decades will be taking place in Colorado, Kentucky and Vermont this fall. Exceeding $581 million in 2013 annual sales according to SPINS market data and HIA estimates, hemp is among the fastest growing categories for food and consumer products in the U.S.
In addition to presentations on hemp manufacturing, agronomy, and other industry issues, a special panel discussion focusing on new cannabidiol (CBD) research and its market potential will take place on Sunday.
REDEEM Act Helps Formerly Incarcerated Seal Conviction Records, Eliminates Barriers to Employment, Public Assistance, and Re-Entry
Drug Policy Alliance: Criminal Justice Reform is Good Policy and Good Politics
Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY) on Tuesday will introduce the REDEEM Act, groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that makes it easier for formerly incarcerated individuals to reintegrate into society and provides greater rights to juvenile offenders.
The amendment comes on the heels of an amendment offered several weeks ago by Senators Booker and Paul that would prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from arresting and prosecuting people in compliance with their state medical marijuana laws. Senator Paul also has a bill with Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that would provide federal judges more discretion in sentencing.
A bipartisan bill reforming mandatory minimums introduced by Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is awaiting floor action.
“The fact that two young and rising stars of both parties, both rumored to be considering future White House runs, are so passionately embracing criminal justice reform shows how politically popular these issues have become,” said Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Voters want reform and smart elected officials know that. This legislation is good policy and good politics.”