Selection of which cultivar(s) to grow is perhaps the single most-critical part of the growing hemp puzzle. Choosing the wrong cultivar can be a disaster, losing your crop after expensive inputs due to flowering issues, lack of market, lack of cannabinoids (CBDa and CBGa), or high THC level (0.3% max THC in US and Canada, 0.2% in EU, 1% most everywhere else). Below are sources of low-THC hemp planting seed. Not for eating, but for growing hemp.
Certified hemp seed
I’m not a fan of mandatory certified seed, that decision should be left up to the one who has to live with those consequences, namely the farmer. It does have its use, mostly for growing acres and acres of long straight stable, uniform, and consistently perfect rows for fiber between 40 and 60 degrees latitude, usually on irrigated land, easily harvested and processed by mechanized means. Most certified hemp cultivars are for fiber, a few in Canada for grain, and none for resin (CBD). There are around 200 certified hemp cultivars. AOSCA is the ultimate certifying body, but it’s done locally usually by an agriculture, seed, or crop department or association. Canada does it, so does Colorado. California is supposed to. Even the UN is involved.
Certified seed is mandatory in many nations, including Canada, the EU, and Australia, as well as California and other states. Gratefully, the 2018 Farm Bill was silent on certified cultivars, hopefully USDA will be agnostic as well. It does have the potential to be abused to be a monopoly or oligopoly situation, many have been working to that end for years, “cornering the planting seed market.” I expect a hemp association to start pushing for it, such as the recent “0.0% THC” variety from GenCanna. That’s the nature of regulatory capture, to let the government make a market for you then use it to protect yours.
If you are a breeder, you want to aim for certification of your new creation. We are nowhere near having all the Cannabis cultivars we need and want, and have a narrow commercial gene pool. The certified cultivars have been slow to respond to market changes, including grain (“Hemp 2.0”) and now CBD % (“Hemp 3.0”). Breeding with others’ seed is problematic, everyone does but be cool about it. That’s also why many seed sellers refuse to sell to breeders. The story of its provenance should be intRAstate, if you are in the US. Committing a felony to transport your then-Schedule 1 Breeder seed pre-2018 Farm Bill will win you no brownie ponts when certifying with an AOSCA agency.
What should you grow this year?
What I suggest this first year is to buy 1 big bag of each and everything you can get your hands on, and do Field Trials the first year. Figure out how to walk before running. Decide your data points, start at intended end-use for the crop, then work back. Have a market lined-up. Don’t be seduced by just CBD %, there are other end-uses to consider, including such product segments as carbon fiber sheets and supercapacitors from hemp fiber . Your region or state should pick just one and excel at it, and make the necessary $20 million infrastructure investment in processing, whether fiber or seed or trichomes. Don’t let the private processors control the market like we see in Canada. Instead, form a co-op to own the processing and add value before letting go of the product, even create a new brand around it (such as say “XYZ Hemp Co-op” brand).
Since the 2018 Farm Bill, you shouldn’t need a DEA permit to import or transport interstate viable seed, just a Phytosanitary Certificate. Many states require seed sellers be licensed.
If you’re not a farmer and want to hire them to grow for you, buy the seed you want them to grow and guarantee to purchase the material, monitoring it weekly, and controlling the actual harvest.
Are you an engineer? Design us the right equipment to cut at the ground and at say 1 meter intervals, as well as gently gather the seed heads and trichomes at the top, 4-8 meters up. That’s the way to do true double- and triple-cropping. Or design a better decorticator, one that works in the field especially. Or a flower dryer. Or a million other pieces of equipment will will need. The old hemp equipment was suited to fiber (“Hemp 1.0”), not grain
(“Hemp 2.0”) and not trichomes (“Hemp 3.0”).
If you are a young botanist or ag student, try to specialize in Cannabis especially Hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill has created a new occupation in the US: Hemp Agronomist.
Click here to download 10 Things to Know Before You Grow Hemp, exclusively from
The Richard Rose Report.
Some of these vendors have certified hemp seed cultivars, most have proprietary cultivars they have bred and now multiply. I can’t vouch for them all, Caveat Hempster as always. I have no affiliate links or relationship with any of them, and no one is paying me money or product to be on this list. In no particular order (pls tell them Richard sent you):
Centennial Seed. High CBD seed Otto and BaOx. Colorado.
Oregon CBD Seed. High CBD and CBG seed, feminized. Oregon.
Legacy Hemp. Certified cultivars for grain and fiber. Wisconsin.
Castetter Sustainability Group. HGH high CBD seed: Berry Blossom, Chardonnay, Trophy Wife, Cherry Wine, Cobbler. New York.
Rocky Mountain Hemp. High CBD seed. By Ryan Loflin, Colorado hemp pioneer.
Grow Hemp Colorado. Veronica Carpio. Colorado.
International Hemp Exchange. Colorado.
Cannetics. High CBD seed. South Carolina.
Finola. Autoflower certified hemp cultivar Finola. Finland.
Canaparoma. Certified cultivars, also high CBD and CBG seed. Italy.
La Canaperie Italiana. Certified cultivars. Italy.
Italian certified seed. The official Maintainer.
Hemp It. French co-operative selling certified French seed, mostly for fiber maybe a few for grain.
Hungarian certified seed. The official Maintainer.
Romanian certified seed. The official Maintainer.
Polish certified seed. The official Maintainer.
Bija Hemp. Colorado.
Xue Rong Long. Late-flowering sub-tropical intermediate types (>0.3% max THC). China. Email: [email protected].
Blue Forest Farms. High CBD seed. Colorado.
Hempoint. Certified cultivars. Czech Republic.
New West Genetics. First hemp cultivar certified by the state of Colorado.
Hemp Genetics International. Mostly grain varieties. Canada.
Medicine Mother. Email [email protected].
OECD Certified hemp cultivar list. Go to “Cruciferous and Oil seeds,” then go to Cannabis Sativa.