Kentucky approves 12,800 acres for hemp planting in 2017, tripling the previous year’s figures

Growers must pass background check

WCPO Staff

6:46 AM, Jan 6, 2017

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has approved 209 applications from growers who have been approved to cultivate up to 12,800 acres of industrial hemp for research purposes in 2017, nearly tripling the number of acres that were approved for 2016. More than 525,000 square feet of greenhouse space were approved for indoor growers in 2017.

“By nearly tripling hemp acreage in 2017 and attracting more processors to the state, we are significantly growing opportunities for Kentucky farmers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, in a news release. “Our strategy is to use KDA’s research pilot program to encourage the industrial hemp industry to expand and prosper in Kentucky. Although it is not clear when Congress might act to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances, my strategic objective is to position the commonwealth’s growers and processors to ultimately prevail as national leaders in industrial hemp production.”

The KDA received a total of 252 applications – 234 grower applications and 18 processor/handler applications. Applicants were asked to identify which harvestable component of the plant would be the focus of their research (floral material, grain, or fiber); some applicants selected more than one component.

In addition to grower applications, KDA approved 11 new applications from processors (in addition to 29 previously approved multi-year processor applications that were not required to reapply). Five universities will also carry out additional research projects in 2017. KDA officials cited the recent decline in commodity prices as one factor that appears to be generating increased interest among Kentucky’s farmers in industrial hemp and other alternative crops.

In 2016, 137 growers were approved to plant up to 4,500 acres. Program participants planted more than 2,350 acres of hemp in 2016, up from 922 acres in 2015 and 33 acres in 2014.

To strengthen KDA’s partnership with state and local law enforcement officers, KDA will provide GPS coordinates of approved industrial hemp planting sites to law enforcement agencies before any hemp is planted. GPS coordinates were required to be submitted on the application. Participants also must pass background checks and consent to allow program staff and law enforcement officers to inspect any premises where hemp or hemp products are being grown, handled, stored or processed.

“We have made collaboration and communication with the law enforcement community a top priority for KDA’s management of this research pilot program,” Quarles said.

Staff with the KDA’s industrial hemp research pilot program evaluated the applications and considered whether returning applicants had complied with instructions from KDA, Kentucky State Police and local law enforcement. To promote transparency and ensure a fair playing field, KDA relied on objective criteria, outlined in the 2017 Policy Guide, to evaluate applications.

The KDA operates its program under the authority of a provision of the 2014 federal farm bill, 7 U.S.C. § 5940, that permits industrial hemp pilot programs in states where hemp production is permitted by state law. For more information and to view the 2017 Policy Guide, please visit the website here.

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A Kentucky-based hemp seed grower is the first company to have its seeds approved and officially certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

 

 

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Blair Miller

DENVER – A Kentucky-based hemp seed grower is the first company to have its seeds approved and officially certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Lexington, Kentucky-based Schiavi Seeds LLC had three separate seed varieties certified as CDA Approved Certified Seeds under the new program, which aims to promote hemp agriculture in the state.

CDA has worked with CSGA and Colorado State University over the past several months to breed plants that produce seeds under the 0.3 percent THC content threshold to qualify as hemp and not psychoactive marijuana.

Varying seed types were grown and tested in trials in different parts of the state in order to find ideal conditions for hemp cultivation.

Colorado law requires industrial hemp seeds to contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Three trial seeds from Schiavi Seeds – Eletta Campana, Fibranova and Helena – passed trial tests and were accepted by the state Seed Growers Association’s review board.

CDA says seeds submitted by Fort Collins-based New West Genetics have also passed the THC trial, but still have to be accepted by the review board before they can also be labeled as a CDA Approved Certified Seed.

Congress approved hemp production in 2014, but a state certification like Colorado’s is necessary to raise the crop.

Colorado farmers will be able to start buying and growing the seeds next year.

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Senator Perry Clark has pre-filed a bill for the 2017 legislative season that pertains to legalizing marijuana in the state …

 

Marijuana Legalization laws hit the books in Kentucky in 2017.

 

Almost one year after filing the Cannabis Freedom Act, Kentucky State Senator Perry Clark has pre-filed a bill for the 2017 legislative season that pertains to legalizing marijuana in the state.

Filed on December 6 for the January, 2017, legislative season, the new bill is called the Cannabis Compassion Act and is filed as BR 409. Nevertheless, little has changed between the wording of the proposed laws of 2015, 2016, and the new 2017 Cannabis Freedom Act.

Now, voters will get another chance to see if this Kentucky marijuana legalization bill will fizzle out or get accepted into law.

Alternatively, the fact that recent elections have replaced some candidates could mean the newcomers are more receptive to marijuana legalization than their predecessors.

Before the elections, Norml gave most of Kentucky’s congressional members a poor rating for their lack of support for any type of marijuana legalization. The exceptions are Republican pro-marijuana legalization advocates Senator Rand Paul and Representative Thomas Massie.

In particular, it was noted that many Republican Kentuckians in the House of Representatives voted against the 2016 Veterans Equal Access Amendment.

While these elected officials in the U.S. House of Representatives might not be voting for federal legalization of medical marijuana or cannabis, there is still hope that the Kentucky State Senate will have new members that decide to vote for marijuana legalization.

Ballotpedia points out that the Kentucky State Senate had “19 of 38 total seats… up for election in 2016.” The outcome of this election did have some surprises, such as a large number of state senators running for re-election while also being unopposed.

Another interesting note in history is that the current bipartisan makeup of 11 Democrats and 27 Republicans in the Kentucky State Senate has remained the same before and after the election.

This meant that there was no shift in the number of Democrats or Republicans at the Kentucky State Senate before or after the November 8 elections, but there will be a few newly elected officials voting on the Cannabis Compassion Act in 2017.

On the other hand, Kentucky might need to worry about Republicans voting against marijuana legalization because many members of the GOP are not as anti-marijuana legalization as they were in the recent past.

For example, Atlantic quoted Bill Bennett, former Education Secretary under George W. Bush, at a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference, titled “Rocky Mountain High: Does Legalized Pot Mean Society’s Going Up In Smoke?” During the panel discussion in 2014, Bill Bennett said there “used to be a strong conservative coalition opposed to drugs.”

However, in 2014, it was clear to Bill Bennett and other GOP members that the conservative anti-marijuana legalization viewpoint was dissipating in the face of mounting public support for legalization. Bennett concluded with the sentiment that Republicans are “fighting against the tide” on the legal marijuana issue.

In the past, the issues with marijuana legalization in Kentucky in 2016 centered on behind-closed-doors meetings about the proposed law.

Two Kentucky state senators that were commonly quoted as being unsure about passing a marijuana legalization law in the state were John Schickel and Jimmy Higdon. Both of these senators are still in elected positions, and this means they will have another chance to vote on marijuana legalization in January, 2017.

For example, the last update about the 2016 marijuana legalization law in Kentucky was around September, according to WFPL. At that time, it was determined that the 2016 Cannabis Freedom Act was “assigned to a committee but never received a hearing.”

Kentucky state senator Jimmy Higdon was quoted at that time saying that he was not sure how the bill would manifest, and also said marijuana legalization might only be implemented for “end-of-life situations.”

Although Senator Jimmy Higdon’s remarks stand out, an attempt to push the 2017 Cannabis Compassion Act may not be futile despite it being denied in the past. For instance, it appears the Kentucky State Senate was expecting there to be another marijuana legalization bill to vote on in 2017.

In July, North Kentucky Tribune spoke with Kentucky state senator John Schickel, and he was paraphrased as saying that while the Cannabis Freedom Act “never made it to the Senate floor for a vote,” the issue is still considered relevant and “legislators want to further research the issue prior to the start of next year’s session in January [2017].”

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, other pre-filed bills for Kentucky to vote on in 2017 include increasing penalties related to narcotics.

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Cannabis convict Eddy Lepp free from prison

Lepp, age 64, hailed as a “marijuana martyr” by supporters

 

By Lisa M. Krieger | lkrieger@bayareanewsgroup.com

PUBLISHED: December 7, 2016 at 9:59 am | UPDATED: December 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

 

Image result for eddy lepp

 

SAN FRANCISCO — Free after eight years of federal imprisonment, one of the nation’s most celebrated cannabis convicts came home to California on Wednesday, walking off a United Airlines flight into the warm embrace of supporters — and a profoundly changed world.

Charles “Eddy” Lepp, a defiant 64-year-old Vietnam vet and ordained Rastafarian minister, was convicted on federal felony charges in 2007 for doing something that California now considers legal because of last month’s passage of Proposition 64: growing marijuana.

 

“I’m very honored. I’m very humbled. Thank you so much for caring,” Lepp told friends and family at San Francisco International Airport, tears streaming down his creased cheeks.

Then he vowed to fight for national legalization of cannabis and presidential pardons for first-time nonviolent drug offenders.

“Just because I went to federal prison doesn’t mean I got off the horse,” said Lepp, who will be on drug-monitored probation for five years. “It is still a long, long ride — and I’ll be there when it’s done.”


Read the full story and find more California cannabis news at TheCannifornian.com.

SOURCE LINK

Legalize marijuana for the state’s sake

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Editorial Board

In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Since then 28 more states have approved the drug for medical use, with another eight, including California, allowing adults to use the drug recreationally. Unfortunately, Kentucky has been slow to adapt, despite the many benefits legalizing the drug would provide.

Back in the day, Kentucky used to thrive growing tobacco. That same land, rich for growing tobacco, is ideal for growing marijuana, which can also be used to produce hemp, a versatile product which can be manufactured into paper, textiles, clothing, food, plastic, and a multitude of other products. 

Marijuana would also be useful as a medical alternative for many in the state who are dependent on prescription drugs. 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky has the highest cancer rates of any state in the country, largely due to our large dependence on the coal and mining industries, which has left countless hard-working Kentuckians with lung cancer. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has said that marijuana kills cancer cells along with alleviating the nausea and other symptoms associated with chemotherapy, which poses a much more effective alternative to prescription drugs. 

With so much of our state crippled by a dying coal industry, legalizing marijuana would be an enormous jobs creator for people looking to farm the crop and others looking to get into the business side of the industry with dispensaries. 

While stigmas still exist surrounding the drug, the issue of marijuana legalization is slowly becoming more of a bipartisan issue that draws support from both Democrats and Republicans, including Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who has said in the past that he plans to sign a medical marijuana bill into law during his time in office.

 

It has become a trend in the mainstream media to avoid one of the most pressing issues, not …

States that have approved the drug for recreational use, such as Colorado, tax the drug, and use the money in a variety of ways, from helping the homeless, to improving infrastructure and education. In 2016 alone, Colorado is expected to bring in over $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana. 

If a similar system of policy was applied in the Bluegrass, money could be used for better education throughout the state, a hot-button issue under Bevin’s administration due to his proposed, but unsuccessful, cuts to higher education. Revenue could also go towards helping revitalize eastern Ky. along with infrastructure, homeless, and veterans, following in the footsteps of Colorado’s successful endeavor with the green. 

According to a 2012 poll by Kentucky Health Issues, 78 percent of Kentuckians support the legalization of medical marijuana. It’s time for our lawmaker’s throughout the state to come together and enact a policy to reflect the will of the people. The longer we wait, the more potential tax revenue we miss out on that could go to benefitting Kentuckians in need. It’s time to

“Make Kentucky Green Again!”

Email opinions@kykernel.com

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Senator Reginald L. Thomas 2017 Legislative Session Questionnaire

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Dear Friend,

When the Kentucky General Assembly convenes on January 3, 2017, legislators will be making decisions about public policy that affects you and your family. As your State Senator, I value your opinion and want your input on some issues that may be addressed in the 2017 Session. Please take a few minutes to answer these questions and share your concerns. To help me prepare for the upcoming session, I would like to have your responses by Tuesday, December 27, 2016.

To answer the questionnaire by e-mail, click “reply.”  To select your answers, place an “X” next to your choice. To submit your answers, click “send.” (You may also mail or fax the completed questionnaire to the addresses located at the bottom of this questionnaire.)

Thank you.

1. During the 2016 Regular Session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation to allow Kentuckians convicted of low-level non-violent felonies to ask the court to permanently expunge their records five years after they have completed their sentence or probation. The filing fee for an application to have records expunged was set at $500. Do you support legislation to reduce the filing fee for felony expungement from $500 to $200?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

2. Do you support creating a Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights through a constitutional amendment? The projections for crime victims would include the right to be notified of court hearings, the punishment, and the release date for the perpetrator.

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

3. Do you support bringing Kentucky drivers’ licenses and other identity cards into compliance with the federal REAL ID initiative? Without compliant IDs or an alternative ID, such as a passport or military ID, Kentuckians will have future trouble flying on commercial airlines or may face other restrictions after a federally mandated deadline passes.?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

4. Should a person be found guilty of unlawful storage of a firearm when he or she recklessly stores a firearm in a manner that allows a minor to have access to a firearm that is not secured by a trigger lock, and the minor, without legal justification, accesses the firearm?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

5. Kentucky does not require voters to show photo ID. Identification can be proven by personal acquaintance with a poll worker, a social security card, or credit card.  All voters sign the precinct list of voters. Should Kentuckians also be required to show photo ID to vote?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

6. Do you support re-establishing a program for kinship care to provide a more permanent placement with a qualified relative for a child who would otherwise be placed in foster care due to abuse, neglect, or death of both parents?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

7. Currently nurse practitioners are allowed to prescribe controlled substances but physician assistants are not. Do you support allowing physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

8. Should killing a police officer be a hate crime?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

9. Currently, the State Medical Examiner is keeping records of all arrest-related deaths voluntarily but the office is not required to do so. Do you support requiring record keeping on all arrest-related deaths?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

10. Breastfeeding has many benefits to infants and families, including providing the ideal nutrients needed by infants. Should the General Assembly require employers to provide time and space for mothers to express their milk?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

11. Do you support establishing an independent panel of medical experts to review claims of medical malpractice before a lawsuit can be brought in circuit court?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

12. Do you favor requiring doctors to show a woman an ultrasound image of her fetus and explain how it is developing before performing an abortion?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

13. Should students be required to use the restroom and other facilities, such as locker rooms and shower rooms, based on their “biological sex”?

       Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

14. Should students be permitted to use the restroom and other facilities, such as locker rooms and shower rooms, based on the gender with which they identify?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

15. There has been research showing that marijuana has positive medical benefits for patients dealing with illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. Do you support legislation that would make marijuana a Schedule II drug thus legal for doctors to prescribe?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

16. As other states legalize and realize the benefits of taxation and licensure, should Kentucky consider legalizing marijuana as a source of income?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

17. Do you support raising the state minimum wage

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

18. Do you support participation in a public school interscholastic extracurricular activity by a home school student?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

19. Despite many changes in our revenue needs and the fundamentals of our economy, our current tax system has been mostly unchanged since the 1950s. Would you support reforms to modernize our tax code if it also generated additional revenue?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

20. If tax modernization requires a change in the state’s sales or income taxes, would you support expanding the base to include services (such as dry cleaning and physician fees) rather than increasing sales or income tax rates?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

21. Should the General Assembly enact legislation amending the Kentucky Constitution to allow local governments to impose a local option sales tax?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

22. To improve access to the polls by members of our military, do you favor allowing military voters to return their completed ballots via e-mail?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

23. Do you support a statewide smoking ban in public places?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

24. Do you support drug screening or testing for public assistance applicants and/or recipients?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

25. Would you support legislation that would set a cap on the amount you could receive for non-economic damages (pain and suffering) for injuries incurred due to the negligence of a healthcare provider?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

26. Do you favor allowing the people of Kentucky to vote on a constitutional amendment concerning expanded gaming in Kentucky?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

27. Do you support legislation that would permit public money to be used for public charter schools that would be granted special permits to operate outside usual state regulations?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

28. Do you support legislation that would permit public money to be used for private and parochial charter schools?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

29. Kentucky government entities, including schools, are required to pay a “prevailing wage” for major construction projects. This usually equates to workers being paid at or near union-level wages. Opponents say it just increases costs; supporters say it guarantees both union and non-union workers a living wage. Should the General Assembly abolish the prevailing wage law?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

30. Once a majority of a group of workers votes to join a labor union, all are granted union wages and benefits.  Under “Right to Work” legislation, all members of the group continue to receive union benefits and wages, but none are required to pay dues or an agency fee for their fair representation by the union.  Should the General Assembly address “Right to Work” legislation during the upcoming legislative session?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

31. Many Kentuckians get into a debt trap by misusing payday lending services.  Do you support capping the interest rates these lenders can charge and imposing penalties for violating the caps?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

32. Do you support legislation that bans talking on a cell phone while driving?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

34. What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing the Commonwealth?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

35. How should the Kentucky General Assembly address this issue?   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for taking your time to complete this questionnaire. Please feel free to share a copy with other constituents in the 13th senatorial district who would like to share their thoughts. I am always grateful for input from the citizens I serve in Frankfort. If you are not already receiving my legislative updates, please share your e-mail address below so we can stay in touch.

Best Wishes, Reggie

Name: _____________________________________________________________________

Email: _____________________________________________________________________ 

To submit your answers:

Fax:      (502) 564-9536

Mail:    255 Capitol Annex Building

702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY 40601

E-mail: reginald.thomas@lrc.ky.gov

In the photo above, I am shown receiving the Citizen of the Year Award from the Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA) for my consistent effort to make it a requirement that all elementary and secondary public schools in Kentucky have a school nurse. I was especially honored to accept the award because this was the first time in several years that KNA has given the award. I appreciate the honor and thank all the nurses across Kentucky for the work that they do.

*****

First new hemp strain bred for US farmers

By: Chris Conrad

Retail Hemp field crop

A new industrial hemp cultivar has passed the THC hemp trials managed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the first hemp seed variety bred for the US to pass a Department of Agriculture hemp trial in any state.

Thomas Jefferson was a jealous hempseed breeder who allegedly brought Chinese seeds in from France in the 1790s to mix with the European strains. Later the US Department of Agriculture adopted an aggressive program to breed plants that were drought resistant and climate or soil specific for different parts of the United States and came up with some of the best hemp strains in the world. That all came to an end with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, when hemp farming was essentially banned. The national seed banks died out when the federal Drug Enforcement Agency took control in the 1970s and destroyed them in the name of the Drug War.

Act of Congress opened the way for new hemp seedlines

In February 2015, Congress passed the hemp amendment to the Farm bill and opened new avenues for cannabis hemp. Two years later, Rely™ by New West Genetics has become the first modern hemp variety bred for the U.S. to pass Colorado Department of Agriculture hemp trials. The plants have a stable THC content below 0.1 percent, compared with the federal standard of 0.3 percent or less.

“This is a landmark victory for New West Genetics, as well as hemp production in the United States overall,” said Wendy Mosher, CEO for New West Genetics. “The use of regionally bred hemp seed for production is imperative for the US hemp industry to succeed, and we hope that the results for Rely™ act as a catalyst for other U.S. hemp product makers to recognize the benefit of regionally bred varieties – better yield, disease resistance, sustainability, etc. and demand those be used for their products.”

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Kentucky Congressmen Seek Clarification on Federal Hemp Rules

By Matt Markgraf Oct 27, 2016

Three members of Kentucky’s U.S. Congressional delegation joined 16 other members of Congress in a letter Wednesday seeking clarification from federal agencies regarding industrial hemp guidelines.

Senator Rand Paul and Representatives Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth signed a letter to The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration looking to revise the ‘Statement of Principles’ issued in August.

The Congressmen say there is confusion over pilot programs approved in the 2014 Farm Bill allowing state ag departments and universities, including Murray State, to grow the plant for research. Guidance also could have a limiting effect on sales and transportation, the letter argues. Federal law prohibits farmers growing for commercial profit, but retail sales of products made with hemp are legal.

Kentucky’s Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles sent a letter to the USDA last month objecting to the rules, saying they “could hinder industrial hemp’s economic potential.”

Read the letter sent Wednesday

 

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