Local farmers, businesses, react to industrial hemp being legalized at federal level

2018 farm bill legalizes industrial hemp federally
Local farmers, businesses, react to industrial hemp being legalized at federal level

The 2018 Farm Bill has been signed, and with it.. the legalization of industrial hemp.

Hemp is a member of the cannabis family — but doesn’t contain as much THC, the chemical that gets you high – as marijuana.

Hemp had been considered a schedule one controlled substance under the controlled substances act of 1970.

While growing hemp has been illegal at the federal level, besides in research settings, several states — including Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma — have passed laws making it legal at the state level.

This new provision would make it legal for the plant to be grown commercially in any state — as long as that state allowed it.

It’s something many are saying will be a big win for farmers.

Mark Larson has been a corn, wheat and soybean farmer for more than 60 years.

Mark Larson, Webb City, Mo. farmer:”Definitely a passion.. a life long pursuit.”

This year though has been tough for him and several farmers in the area as markets fluctuate because of international trade conflicts.

Larson:”In the business we’re in, I mean gross price is good, but we’re talking margins, and so as that margin at the top between expenses and income gets smaller, it cuts down a lot.”

When prices for crops like soybeans and corn drops.. Larson thinks having Hemp as an alternative crop — to produce things like paper, rope, and other products –could be a good thing.

Larson:”We’ve got land, we’ve got labor and we’ve got machinery, and so whatever we can grow to produce the most profit on that is what we’d like to, and another option is always welcome.”

Rick Aalmack — owner of American Shaman CBD, a Kansas City based company with a storefront in Joplin, thinks the provision will help business that sell the oil — because the plants could be grown locally.

Rick Almack, Owner, American Shaman CBD:Our hemp is grown in either Kentucky or in Colorado, and the price may come down because all of a sudden it’s gonna be much more available to the company to get quality oils.”

Almack also thinks this will help make it easier to get loans and accounts from banks if you own a company selling hemp products — and lower the negative stigma surrounding the plant.

Almack:”Wwe won’t be an at risk company. we’ll be able to be mainstream and so our prices and everything.. the cost of us doing business should get much better.”

While there are still questions on how the industry might grow in the four states, Larson thinks it’s something farmers will take advantage of if there is money to be made.

Larson:”Farmers are pretty good.. they’re an innovative adaptive group, and if there’s profit in growing something, then they’ll find out a way to do it.”

Any hemp that is grown commercially has to contain less than zero-point-three percent THC.

The FDA will still have oversight to regulate products containing hemp or derivatives.