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USDA: Time For Action on Hemp

For U.S. hemp it’s time to get real, time for action not platitudes. Only legal 3 years now, acreages harvested are falling, 1/3 of the crops are noncompliant, bankruptcies frequent, and farmers and processors are losing interest and money fast. We need to make the pivot from hemp for cannabinoids to hemp for the other 24,999 uses. If USDA has $20 million just to gather data that seed vendors should rightly be gathering instead, then this project is a no-brainer. Besides, doesn’t AOSCA certification mean anything, anymore? If so, those cultivars should be compliant and productive across the country with no further expensive research needed to validate them at taxpayer expense.

Especially since those data are mostly for states hostile to traditional field hemp, with its male pollen making enemies downwind. California has long been the most hostile, read about that here, here, here, here, here, and here. Like in California, Washington hemp was sabotaged years ago by those purportedly on our side; today it is so non-existent as to almost be an oxymoron. Oregon is all about that Type 1 and 3, so no one wants hemp pollen seeding their bud. Idaho was the last state to legalize hemp and previously wanted to ban all Cannabis, and Montana already has an entity duplicating this work. That $20 million could have financed two seed and/or fiber processing plants, which is where the bottlenecks actually are.

Seed and fiber need to work together in the future, since where there is hempseed there is fiber, and often where there is fiber there is seed. Some fiber uses require harvesting before flowering and thus no seed, but most fiber applications do not. These projects need to allow farmers to harvest and process both in order to maximize returns. Cannabinoids are not an explicit part of this project, although it is understood trichomes (CBD and essential oil) may be harvested as a tertiary processing stream resource.

Therefore USDA should make a grant to any domestic entity for projects:

  1. Able to sign up enough farms for 500,000+ acres for seed and fiber processing before launching
  2. A minimum of $50 million up to $750 million per project, amount decided by a team just for this purpose, up to and including 100%
  3. For production of primary materials and/or branded CPGs
  4. It must be able to produce and process both the stalk and seed, processing all of both except for normal losses, not cannabinoids
  5. Should be used as a food security project, and as a model to duplicate elsewhere
  6. USDA shouldn’t limit it by state but entities can, to create a state-branded line
  7. Foreign ownership limited to 5% maximum
  8. Any type of entity legal structure
  9. Project must last 15 years minimum
  10. Farmers must not be in an asynchronous position to the entity, best if farmer-owned
  11. All pricing forecasts must be fair to the farmer and account for transport costs
  12. Mandating certified varieties-only discourages innovation
  13. Genetic and ownership transparency
  14. Genetic engineering such as CRISPR allowed, but not fermentation; must be phyto Cannabis, any subspecies
  15. Entities must have track record for farming or processing, but not marijuana
  16. Goal should be 500,000 acres, then 10 million acres, then 100 million (equaling current corn and soy production)
  17. Make it easy to apply, with few hurdles

Frame it as a “Marshall Plan for Hemp.” It’s fitting as it heals generations of “regulatory bombing” of the hemp community by the federal government:

The Marshall Plan was a U.S. program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of World War II. It was enacted in 1948 and provided more than $15 billion to help finance rebuilding efforts on the continent. The brainchild of U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, for whom it was named, it was crafted as a four-year plan to reconstruct cities, industries and infrastructure heavily damaged during the war and to remove trade barriers between European neighbors—as well as foster commerce between those countries and the United States.

2 thoughts on “USDA: Time For Action on Hemp”

  1. Richard, You might be interested in knowing that two decades ago, I began my historical research by getting at the core motivation for why cannabis/hemp was outlawed in 1937 here in the U.S. and one thing I learned was that this assault on the hemp industry had nothing whatsoever to do with greed (as per Herer’s ubiquitous greed theory)… On the contrary, history tells a much different story. It documents a much larger (and older) Malthusian conspiracy of which the prohibition of hemp was but one manifestation… If you happen to find that the USDA seems to be acting as more of an enemy than an ally in your fight to free hemp, it’s because that organization was a part of this conspiracy from the outset (again, as documented by history itself). The American eugenics movement which essentially spanned the initial three decades of the 20th century was itself a manifestation of this same conspiracy (as evidenced just by its obvious Malthusian nature, among other things). The reason that this is relevant is because, had it not been for the existence of the USDA, this Malthusian movement might not have existed at all, as the very centerpiece of that movement — Charles Davenport’s Eugenics Record Office located at Cold Spring Harbor, NY — was itself the product of an organization, the American Breeders Association which was itself created by individuals with close ties to the USDA… Cannabis/hemp wasn’t outlawed because its leaves and flowering tops could be manufactured into a drug and nor was it outlawed because its stalks could be manufactured into a plethora of other useful products (including medicines). It was outlawed because its seeds have an amazing, near-perfect nutritional profile that includes abundant ESSENTIAL fatty acids (or EFAs). As such, because hemp is such a prodigious producer of seeds, it holds enormous potential to support animal/human populations… I’m not saying that Herer himself was a part of this conspiracy (and in fact, he contributed to my understanding of it), but had it not been for the greed theory which he had hatched through his writing, cannabis/hemp would have been unshackled long ago as such theory could not have served to help disguise the true motivation behind this plant’s demise. IMO, the greed theory was co-opted as a clever “pitfall” and as we now know, it worked extremely well. Had Americans known early on that this assault on hemp constituted more a crime against humanity than a crime of greed, things might have turned out quite different. After all, one can only get so upset over a crime whose motivation is already ubiquitous in society (as greed clearly is). — the Postman

    1. Thanks, Mr Postman! Except hemp was not outlawed by the MTA, it only needed a permit at $1/acre/year. Otherwise no Hemp For Victory campaign in the ’40s, and Rens Hemp Co. wouldn’t have grown until 1957. The CSA 1970 added hemp to the CSA as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, all except for sterile seed and the stalk and its fiber, and products therefrom. Ford grew hemp, and ironically also made vegan foods from soya. Damn, I wish he could’ve put those two together!

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