Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Hemp History Week continues through Sunday

It's Hemp History Week. The 6th annual weekly celebration of hemp began on Monday and runs through Sunday. The website, Hemp History Week, says the event was created to celebrate the nation's history of hemp, advocate for federal policy change and show consumers the nutritional and environmental benefits of hemp.

In 2014 the nation's first legal hemp crops since 1970 were planted at the University and Kentucky and Western Kentucky University.

"Last year saw a great deal of progress for the industry after pro-hemp provisions were included in the 2014 farm bill, Eric Steenstra, president of the advocacy group Vote Hemp, said at a briefing on Capitol Hill last week," reports Agri-Pulse. "Steenstra said sales for food and beauty products, which have the most reliable sales information, jumped about 21 percent in 2014 to nearly $200." The Hemp Industries Association "estimates all hemp-related products saw sales of over $600 million."

"Since hemp contains trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the hallucinogen found in marijuana—it is still classified as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act," Agri-Pulse writes. "That classification makes it difficult to get seeds for the crop even in the 20 states with some form of industrial hemp legalization."

"Gregg Baumbaugh, CEO of FlexForm, an Indiana-based company that uses hemp and other lightweight fibers to make car interiors, said at the briefing that further legalization efforts stateside would make it easier for his company to keep supplied with hemp fibers, which would speed up production and allow his company and many others that use hemp domestically to expand. Baumbaugh said, "The number is mind-boggling to think how much the growth potential could be." Agri-Pulse is subscription-only, but offers a four-week free trial.

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