Industrial Hemp: ‘Comeback Crop’ Will Benefit Farmers

Industrial Hemp: ‘Comeback Crop’ Will Benefit Farmers

An expert panel has outlined the politics, agronomics and economics of industrial hemp at a workshop at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention. Federally outlawed for more than 50 years, industrial hemp is making a comeback.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), a staunch supporter of hemp as an agricultural crop, explained how he helps people understand the difference between hemp and its more infamous cannabis cousin, marijuana.

“Hemp and marijuana are two plants in the same family, the same way that broccoli and cauliflower are in the same plant family,” Comer said.

Ken Anderson, founder and president of Legacy Hemp, the leading U.S. contractor with hemp farmers, strongly advised anyone who is considering growing the crop to first secure a buyer.

“There are a lot of opportunities but it can be expensive to start growing hemp,” Anderson said. He credited Farm Bureau’s advocacy with playing a key role in the recognition of industrial hemp as a legitimate farm crop.

Calling industrial hemp “the little engine that could,” Katie Moyer of Kentucky Hemp Works discussed the broad range of hemp varieties and advised farmers to carefully consider which one to cultivate. “The crops are completely different,” she said, referring to varieties grown for cannabidiol oil vs. fiber, grain, seed, etc.

The availability of labor should also be carefully considered when thinking about growing hemp, according to Anderson.

“Hemp grown for CBD uses is much more labor-intensive,” he said, referring to those varieties as a horticultural crop while others are agricultural crops. In addition, he recommends farmers starting out with hemp add it to their crop rotation, rather than growing it as their only crop.

The 2014 farm bill gave states the authority to establish hemp pilot programs to study its growth, cultivation and marketing. To date, 35 states have taken advantage of the opportunity. The 2018 farm bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. This deregulation benefits growers, who may now transport hemp and no longer face barriers related to insurance, banking, etc.

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The FDA …and Other Nefarious Characters

The FDA …and Other Nefarious Characters

By Steve Sarich

On December 21st, 2018, I posted a story I called “What did the FDA bring you for Christmas”. This story was meant as a ‘wake-up call’ to the hemp/CBD industry in America. The story was intended to let those of you in the industry know that the newest policy released by the FDA was a ‘warning shot’ over the bow of the CBD industry in America.

The responses ran the gambit, from those I referred to as the “Wishful Thinkers”, who would prefer to ignore a problem than acknowledge it, and hope that it would simply go away, if ignored long enough, to those who were rightly concerned about the future of their businesses….and still should be.

Some accused me of trying to ‘spread panic’, for some unexplained personal gain. I should point out that I am neither, growing hemp for CBD, or selling CBD products, at least at this time, so I have no dog in this fight.

My only intent was, and is, to warn those in the industry of a real-life threat to that industry, and that threat has absolutely not gone away at this point.

Within the first 10 days, after I posted my article, there were seizures by the US Postal Service of CBD products, produced by Chis Martin’s company in Arizona, followed by an FDA raid, without a federal warrant, of a store in Yuma, Arizona, in which they confiscated CBD products. While these were not the only product seizures during this time period, my next article will focus on some attention on this particular raid, because it will help explain the rest of this story and what you can expect in the future from law enforcement and regulatory agencies in the US and Europe.

I didn’t offer any solutions in the first article, because, frankly, I didn’t see any at that point. I hadn’t had the time, nor the facts, that I have now, to offer more insight into this issue, let alone be able to suggest any solutions. Now I have more of both.

This article will likely be the first of several on this issue because those that have visited this plague on our CBD/hemp industry were very clever and the explanations are not simple. What I’m going to attempt to do in this first article is to explain the fallacies of the FDA’s position on hemp-derived CBD products and how you can take the first steps in defending yourself from the type of raids, and seizures, we’ve already seen since December 26, 2018.

These are complicated legal issues and I’m going to attempt to explain them as simply as humanly possible. Before I go any further, I realize that there are those of you in the industry that may want a more thorough legal explanation than what I’m providing here. If you do, please contact me privately.

So let’s get down to the meat of this issue. On December 20, 2018, the FDA put out a press release explaining their latest position on CBD. While this was a very long statement, I’d like to get to the issues where the FDA is completely wrong.

The FDE stated the following in their press release:

Additionally, it’s unlawful under the FD&C Act to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce, or to market CBD or THC products as, or in, dietary supplements, regardless of whether the substances are hemp-derived. This is because both CBD and THC are active ingredients in FDA-approved drugs and were the subject of substantial clinical investigations before they were marketed as foods or dietary supplements. Under the FD&C Act, it’s illegal to introduce drug ingredients like these into the food supply, or to market them as dietary supplements. This is a requirement that we apply across the board to food products that contain substances that are active ingredients in any drug.”

For the FDA to say that it makes “no difference” whether or not CBD is “hemp-derived” or not, flies in the face of the 2004 Federal Court Ruling in HIA v. DEA. The Court ruled that there is a very clear difference between CBD and THC derived from hemp and those same cannabinoids derived from ‘marijuana’.

CBD & THC are already legally part of food products that have now been determined to be GRAS, or “generally accepted as safe”, by the FDA, in this very same press statement. Both hemp oil and hemp seed contain both substances, and the FDA is well aware of that. These two substances have also been in both food products and dietary supplements long before GW Pharmaceutical submitted their CBD product for FDA approval, contrary to the FDA’s statements to the contrary. This argument has already been settled by the Federal Court of Appeals in 2004 and has never been challenged. It is still the current law of the land, which trumps the FDA’s ‘opinion’ on this issue.

So if the CBD contained in industrial hemp, has now been determined as“generally accepted as safe” in food products, by the FDA, and has been determined to be a different substance than CBD or THC produced from marijuana, by the Federal Courts, how can the FDA now claim that there is no differencewhether those substances come from marijuana or hemp?

The fact is that the CBD that is contained in Epidiolex, is a Schedule 5 drug under the Federal CSA, while all substances that are contained in ‘hemp’ have been removed from the Federal CSA and been determined to be GRAS by the FDA themselves. So anything contained in the seed or oil of the hemp plant can now be added to both food and dietary supplements, in any form you choose.

So let’s take this argument one step further. When we are talking about CBD from hemp, this substance would now, under the FDA’s own rule, be considered a“botanical substance” and would not qualify under FDA rules as either a “drug ingredient” or as an OTC (over the counter) drug ingredient.

The same goes for isolates. Epidiolex contains an isolate from a Schedule 1 drug, and is, itself, a Schedule 5 CSA substance. It’s not a“botanical substance”. It’s considered a “synthetic substance” because it’s a single molecule substance. Isolate extracted from hemp, on the other hand, is still just an extract of a non-CSA scheduled plant that has never been used as a component of any FDA approved drug, so it cannot be considered a “drug ingredient”.

So, contrary to the FDA’s statement, where the CBD comes from does, absolutely matter, both under the FDA’s own rules, as well as the current case law from the Federal Courts.

So let’s talk about how you, as a CBD product manufacturer can take steps to protect yourself from the seizure of your products from the USPS and FDA, or, at the very least, give you legal recourse to prevail in court should they insist on taking illegal action against you.

I was truly disturbed to hear from an industry insider that there are actually a number of companies out there producing CBD products that have removed any mention of CBD from their labeling!

I can’t imagine who told you to do that, but if they have a law degree, or you paid them for this advice, please take my advice and fire them immediately. Tomorrow would not be too soon. Mislabeling your products can subject you to incredible liability risks that you have apparently not considered when you made this foolish decision.

First, there are numerous documented reports of individuals that have ingested CBD products and have experienced“psychoactive type reactions” to this CBD, some to the point where they stated that they didn’t feel that they were safe to drive a motor vehicle.

While the FDA rules on dietary supplements do not require that you put a warning regarding this issue on your labeling, if someone were to claim that they got in a motor vehicle crash due to impairment caused by the product you sold them, and the CBD did not appear on the label of that product, you will have no defense in court from an experienced attorney and you could very well lose your company, or worse.

The other reason you don’t want to leave this information off your labeling is simply that the very fact that your product contains a hemp extract’ will help protect you from a seizure of your products by the FDA and USPS!

I don’t have to tell you not to make any medical or health claims on your labels, but here is the wording I suggest to help protect your company from the Feds:

This product contains cannabidiol (CBD), a beneficial plant extract, made from American grown hemp.”

This clearly shows where the CBD came from, hemp not marijuana, and that it’s a plant extract, and not a “drug ingredient”. The word “beneficial” is not a claim that you are required to prove, according to the FDA’s rules, nor is the word “natural”, and you can add that if you like too. If your CBD didn’t come from “American grown” hemp, just replace that with “industrial hemp”.

This wording should work if you are using full-plant, crude, distillate, or even isolate. However, I should point out that the FDA does NOT agree with me on the isolate argument. But if you add this to your label, without spelling out that the product contains isolate, the statement alone should stop them from seizing your products. If you are selling products to those who have decided to use this CBD for health reasons, by all means, stop using isolate. This will be more beneficial for your customers and definitely provide you with much stronger legal protections! Win-Win!

In the next installment, I will explain how I know that this legal argument will work, and I will explain how the “nefarious” people are already aware of this! I will also explain along why only some, and not all, of Chris Martin’s CBD products, were seized by the FDA.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, folks, and now you understand why this is just the first of a series of articles that I intend to write that will both help protect you, expose the nefarious players in this industry, and warn you about new regulatory dangers that are absolutely headed your way, in time for you to protect yourselves and your businesses.

If you found this article useful, please share it around among your friends in the industry. The better-educated everyone is, the better chance we can fight off the assault that I still believe is headed our way, and not just in the United States.

Reposted from

Steve Sarich
CannaBiogen Research
Chiang Mai, Thailand

Marc Grignon: Hemp Can Help Sustain Native Americans

Marc Grignon: Hemp Can Help Sustain Native Americans

When you begin to look into the fight for hemp legalization, you start to unearth stories you weren’t expecting to find. That’s exactly what happened when we talked with Marc Grignon and learned about the 2015 police raid on the Menominee hemp fields.

Currently, Grignon is the spokesman for Hempstead Project Heart, which raises awareness about the benefits of hemp for everyone including tribal communities. Previously, he worked as  staff assistant for the Office of Native American Affairs under Obama’s Small Business Administration.

Grignon developed a passion for hemp as his tribe’s casino ambitions failed. For years now, the Menominee have been fighting for a way out of dependence on government assistance. For a way to provide their reservation with a sufficient income.

Grignon is one of the 8,700 members of the Menominee tribe of Wisconsin. Their history is believed to span back 10,000 years where they dominated 10 million acres of modern-day Wisconsin and the upper half of Michigan state.

Hemp activist John Trudell co-founded Hempstead Project Heart with musician Willie Nelson, before passing leadership of the organization to Marc Grignon in his final days. (Photo: Tara Trudell, used with permission)

Despite the dramatic circumstances of the raid, Marc Grignon remains a steadfast advocate of hemp. We caught up with him recently to learn about how he got involved with hemp and how he believes hemp can help support Native American tribes.


It was during Grignon’s final semester at college when he began to look into his tribe’s background — studying the language and digging deep into their culture. As he went about this research, a piece of information “fell into my lap,” he told us.

The Menominee have a word called “Shaeqnap” and it means wild hemp. The definition talked about a plant that could grow anywhere from 5 to 8 feet high. The tribe used it for fiber, basket making, bowstrings, and so on and so forth.

Grignon was so fascinated by the discovery, he brought it to the Menominee Language and Culture Commission. They were less enthusiastic about his discovery. When he asked about shaeqnap, they simply insisted, “No. We never used cannabis.”

This was a bit of a blow to Grignon as he’s been a long-time hemp advocate. His goal has been to use the plant to provide the Menominee people with a stable source of income. Though not everyone agreed with this idea, Grignon held a determination which would prove to be worthwhile.

And over time, he said attitudes are shifting. “With the evidence we’ve brought to light, more Menominee cultural people see our future in hemp.”


In the summer of 2015, Grignon was working on an Agricultural and Research Project through the College of Menominee Nation and his tribe. One particular day, a former legislature approached him and asked if he’d be interested in working with hemp. Since the Menominee had just passed a law allowing for the reservation to grow industrial hemp for the sake of research, Grignon was very interested.

Part of the reason for this law was due to the fact the Menominees were trying to get the legal paperwork to start a casino. They fought for twenty years only to have Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s governor at the time, kill the idea.

Grignon saw hemp as holding the possibility of being a “natural economic drive.” He recalled:

“So, I was brought on. We planted on July 7th, 2015. 3 acres. I was kind of in charge of monitoring the plants and taking care of them. I was on weed control and I’d go into the fields and pull them out by hand with other Menominees. That’s how I got into the whole thing.”


The Menominees took all legal precaution prior in order to make this happen. They informed law enforcement of their laws and the fact that they had plans to grow that cultivation season. However, upon hearing this, the feds felt the need to come out and see the fields.

“There were some strong words between the attorney and my tribal leaders,” Grignon remembers.

“The feds were like, ‘we want you to uproot this stuff.’ And we said, ‘No, man. We abided by our government to government relations where we told you we were gonna do it, we passed the law, we had our community’s input on this law, nobody has an issue with it, and now we’re gonna move forward with it.’”

Marc Grignon helped legalize hemp in Wisconsin after police raided a Menominee hemp field in October 2015. (Photo: Marc Grignon)

Which is just what Grignon did. Nearly three months went by. He and the Menominees continued tending their 3 acres of hemp. Throughout this time, law enforcement sustained their efforts to stop the tribe from cultivating these crops.


In fact, the tribe had a strong suspicion that they would be raided. Even though they followed all rules and regulations, Grignon says, “It’s a real cluster-fuck when it comes to federal Indian policy and federal Indian laws.”

On October 23rd, just when everything was in full bloom, Grignon drove to the fields to find police dressed in camo, fully armed with automatic weapons. He stood and watched as a bulldozer destroyed all his hard work.

Not only was this a giant blow to the operation, but it was an even bigger blow for the next season’s grow. For those plants contained the seeds the Menominees hoped to plant the following year.

Though Grignon was deeply upset, he wasn’t discouraged. In fact, in the months prior — when the Menominees were anticipating the raid — Grignon had reached out to an activist that would not only change his life but hemp’s future in the state of Wisconsin.


This certain someone was John Trudell, a Native American author and political activist. Grignon reached out to Trudell in hopes of saving his 2015 harvest. Less than two weeks after feds destroyed it, he received a call from Hempstead Project Heart in which they wanted to carry out an education campaign.

When Trudell found out about the feds destroying the Menominee’s fields, he was very upset.

“He wanted to set up a legal defense fund and do whatever in his power to help us,” Grignon said. “And we took his help. But two weeks later, his cancer spread and he was taken into hospice.”

Grignon had gotten a phone call explaining this and how Trudell wanted to hire him onto Hempstead Project. Being that Trudell had been an idol of Grignon for most of his life, he felt the need to meet the man. Purely for the sake of discovering what the future held for both hemp and Native American culture.

“I flew out there and met him and he basically told me my reputation was on the line,” Grignon explains.

“When we talk about how screwed Indian country is and how dependent we are on the government, I look at hemp and I see a solution.”

“[He said] if I couldn’t get hemp legal in Wisconsin within a year then I wasn’t the person I say I am … everyone will tell you he’s the most intense individual you’ll ever speak to. And they’re absolutely correct.”

Trudell’s perspective on hemp was that “it couldn’t save us, but it could help us.”

Grignon admits he wasn’t able to make Trudell’s wish come true alone nor within a year. However, with the help of a coalition, he made hemp legal in Wisconsin.


During Grignon’s time as a staff assistant for the Obama administratio, he saw many real problems he hopes to solve with hemp. This was during one of the previous times the government didn’t sustain proper funding and, in turn, partially shut down for a period of time.

Grignon saw how this affected Native American tribes who weren’t making big bucks off casinos. He knew those tribes depended on government grants. Not only does Grignon not agree with this, but it frightens him to think the Menominees can lose the ability to finance themselves whenever the government shuts down.

Grignon sees hemp as a way for the Menominees to financially sustain themselves. As a source of sustainable profit which may just bring the tribe back to their original roots.

“When we talk about how screwed Indian country is and how dependent we are on the government, I look at hemp and I see a solution.”

With Appreciation of Ministry of Hemp and Paul James

 Paul James is a mental health advocate and screenwriter/blogger/journalist. His goal is to change perspectives on a variety of topics for the better sake of society’s progression.



Hemp Cleans Up Radioactive Soil And So Much More

Hemp Cleans Up Radioactive Soil And So Much More

Could hemp be the plant that saves the planet? It is the best soil contaminant cleaner, and that includes radioactive waste. 

By Matt Weeks. This story originally appeared on

Is there anything hemp can’t do? The mostly outlawed plant, once cultivated by George Washington at his Mount Vernon home, can be made into fabric, paper, pasta, and fuel, but now scientists have discovered a more subtle and astonishing use for cannabis sativa: saving the planet from our waste. Hemp can even get rid of radioactive soil contaminants.

Industrial hemp, the common name for low-THC varieties of cannabis grown for non-medicinal-related uses, has been shown to be extremely adept at sucking up harmful chemicals from the soil, allowing former radioactive spill sites to become fertile (and safe) once again.

How Do They Clean Up Soil Contamination?

Ordinarily, unusable soil that has been sullied by heavy metals or nuclear material is fixed through a process called remediation, which involves sowing designer chemicals into the earth that “eat up” the poisons. Think of it like using a magnet to collect tiny bits of metal floating in a glass of water. Remediation, however, doesn’t come cheap. It’s a billion-dollar industry.

However, all of that can happen naturally—and much less expensively—through what’s known as phytoremediation (phyto- from the Greek for “plant”). In phytoremediation, the roots of plants like hemp or mustard, dig deep into contaminated soil and, through their natural growth process, suck up the harmful chemicals right alongside the beneficial nutrients that remain. These polluting elements are completely removed from the ground and stored within the growing plants—usually within the leaves, stems or stalks.

Phytoremediation with Hemp

Scientists at Colorado State University showed that hemp makes a particularly good phytoremediator thanks to several genetic perks:

  1. Hemp has a Long Root System

    This plant can grow to eight feet below the surface, giving soil a deep clean.

  2. Hemp is Fast Growing

    Hemp reaches full maturity in six months and isn’t harmed by soil contaminants.

Hemp is inexpensive

When compared to chemical remediation, hemp is far less expensive, and can then be harvested and used as a cash crop.

Hemp that has been used to remove the fertility-killing elements cesium and cadmium, for instance, can be used as fuel in biomass engines, processed into insulation or paper. It probably should not, however, be eaten or smoked.

Industrial hemp is already being used as a phytoremediator in heavily contaminated areas throughout the world. One town in southern Italy saw its agriculture and livestock industries go bust after a local steel mill’s output polluted the ground for miles around. A shepherd there was forced to euthanize his 600-member flock, so he took up planting hemp, which has been steadily cleaning his soil ever since.

Can Hemp Be Used for Cleaning Up Radioactive Soil?

The most famous uses of hemp as a way to clean and revive soil come from some of the worst environmental disasters of the modern era. The nuclear accidents in Chernobyl, Ukraine and Fukushima, Japan have been going through a decades long detox thanks in large part to acres of hemp. For one plant to be able to clean up the most hazardous material mankind has ever created is simply amazing. Cannabis is literally saving the human race from itself.

And now, thanks to loosening government restrictions on the use and cultivation of cannabis, the practice may be expanding to polluted sites all over the United States and the world.

For example, the University of Virginia, which is located relatively close to grounds that have been toxified by coal mines throughout the region, has partnered with a biotechnology company to genetically modify hemp plants to make their pollutant uptake even stronger. The project could lead to vast amounts of reclaimed land that could be used for farming

The idea is simple. Just as phytoremediation was an improvement on chemical remediation, using industrial hemp was another head and shoulders above using other plants, like trees or sunflowers. In addition to its long roots, which allow the plant to absorb more soil contaminants, and its quick lifecycle, hemp is also a hardy plant. It requires much less watering and regular tending than do sunflowers.

The biggest problem for this potentially world-saving solution? Government regulations.

Cultivating hemp is still illegal in Japan, which is directly impacting how quickly cleanup around the Fukushima nuclear power plant can proceed. And in the U.S., the semi-legality of cannabis makes everything from testing plants to securing research loans harder than it needs to be.

By Matt Weeks. This story originally appeared on

Scientists Discover The Difference Between Hemp And Marijuana

Scientists Discover The Difference Between Hemp And Marijuana

Scientists have for long wondered why the cannabinoids in hemp differ in quantity from those present in cannabis, yet these plants are genetically similar. Research was conducted to generate a chromosome map of cannabis sativa and the findings shed light on this important question.

The study brought to light the fact that the THC and CBD composition of hemp and cannabis was largely a product of mutations resulting from viruses that entered the chromosomes of the cannabis plant millions of years ago.

The result of that viral invasion at the genetic level was that cannabis split into two distinct variations, that is, hemp and cannabis. Hemp largely contains CBD while cannabis has varying amounts of CBD and THC, but cannabis has markedly higher THC levels than hemp.

The enzymes that triggered the production of the varying levels of CBD and THC in these two plants look identical at the genetic level, but they differ in genetic expression. Consequently, it is possible to extract one gene and leave the other, thereby growing a plant with only one of the major cannabinoids. For example, the THC gene can be removed so that plants with only CBD can be grown, and the same can be done to the CBD gene in cannabis.

The scientists thought that human selection was partly responsible for the wide prevalence of cannabis strains since, from ancient times, people have been known to propagate plants that gave them the desired output. Consequently, varieties that had balanced CBD and THC may have been ignored and left to disappear from the genetic pool while those with high THC were kept as our forefathers enjoyed the “high” derived from those varieties. Hemp survived this primitive form of selection because it had other uses, such as making rope from its tough fibers.

What does this research show the current crop of scientists? There is still so little known about cannabis. This information gap may not necessary be the fault of the scientific community, but it can be attributed to the decades of prohibition that made it nearly impossible to perform any meaningful research on cannabis.

Jonathan Page, one of the main researchers in this Canadian study, remarked that the legal walls are gradually collapsing, so scientists should take the lead in generating information about this versatile plant.