Tag: hemp

Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals Hears Hemp Case

The Department of Defense (DOD) seemingly has an issue with their enlisted personnel eating healthy foods – and that had an onerous effect for one Air Force major that led to his general court-martial.

Now before the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, the nation’s highest military court is contemplating the effectiveness of the Air Force’s ban on consuming any snacks containing hemp seeds or products that were made from hemp seed oil.

Joseph Pugh, the Air Force major convicted of dereliction of duty by a panel of officers at a general court-martial for eating a Strong & Kind granola bar, had his case heard by the Court of Appeals on Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C.

Per DOD regulations, all service members are prohibited from using any controlled substances. Those “controlled substances” included marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids – but not hemp-based products.

Less than consistent, or easy to comprehend, each branch of the armed services has their own pet peeve.

Which Branch Bans What?

  • Air Force – Hemp Oil/Seeds/Products
  • United States Army — Hemp Oil/Seeds/Products
  • United States Coast Guard – Hemp Oil/Seeds/Products
  • United States Navy – No Formal Hemp Policy
  • The United States Marine Corps – No Formal Hemp Policy

Ubiquitously available in an expansive list of health food products, snacks made from hemp seeds or its oil can be purchased in grocery stores from coast-to-coast … and even at commissaries operated by the Defense Commissary Agency. A popular plant-based protein source for health-conscious individuals, hemp-based products raked in approximately $688 million in 2016.

At the root of this hemp case is the potential confusion of a false-positive during a DOD drug test and whether the military services should ban the consumption of all hemp-based products.

In the original court-martial case, the judge granted the defense’s motion to dismiss the charges after conviction. Explained in his ruling, the judge stated, “there is simply no credible evidence to believe that these legal, commercially available products pose the slightest threat to the integrity of the Air Force’s drug testing program.”

Less than pleased by the outcome of the first trial, the United States Government appealed the initial decision under Article 62 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, arguing the initial judge “abused his discretion by dismissing the Additional Charge and its Specification, when he found that Air Force Instruction (AFI) 90-507, Military Drug Demand Reduction Program, which bans the ingestion of hemp seeds, is overly broad, serves no valid military purpose, and did not have a sufficient nexus between military necessity and the duty the AFI sought to impose.”

To ban or not to ban hemp … that is the appellate court question.

Potentially setting future policy for the armed services, the appellate court has been tasked with deciding whether or not the lower court’s ruling – dismissing the original charge – was erred. While a ruling in favor of Major Pugh would establish a legal precedent for future cases, the court has the option of ruling in favor of the major without addressing the Air Force’s hemp seed ban.

 

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New York: Cuomo Germinates $5 Million Grant Fund For Hemp Cultivation

Do you live in New York State, have a green thumb, and an interest in cultivating industrial hemp? If so, Gov. Cuomo, in conjunction with Empire State Development, has just rolled out a ‘multi-year’ cultivation grant that will help qualifying growers, businesses, and universities plant the seeds of eco-friendly prosperity.

Dispensed and managed by the New York Empire State Development, the hemp cultivation grants are anticipated to help offset the capital requirements of processing industrial hemp.

Applicants who meet the necessary qualifications can receive grants of up to $500,000 from the New York State Industrial Hemp Processors Grant Fund.

Legally grown in 31 states as of September 2016, the U.S. utilized approximately 16,417 acres for the cultivation of industrial hemp last year — up 144 percent from 6,712 registered acres of hemp cultivation in 2015. A 2017 report on ‘Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity’ indicated the total U.S. retail sales of hemp products hit nearly $600 million domestically in 2015.

The governor, interested in sparking further economic opportunity on the family farm and in New York’s rural communities, signed legislation in July to help develop the cultivation of industrial hemp.

Now available to the general public, applicants can access the required forms and apply through November 22. Interested individuals can submit their completed application form along with a non-refundable $500 application fee to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

New York Hemp Program Application Requirements:

  • Affidavit completed
  • Detailed hemp research plan
  • Marketing plan, including a letter of intent from any prospective buyer or processor
  • Seed/propagule acquisition plan
  • Evidence of relevant experience of the individual responsible for the research project
  • $500 application fee
  • Compliance with prior years’ program reporting requirements, if applicable

Gov. Cuomo, committed to making New York State a global leader in industrial hemp production, expanded the program to include private individuals when he signed the July legislation. No longer a prohibited crop for New York’s qualifying farmers, there are now more than 20 partners participating and growing industrial hemp on approximately 2,000 acres in New York.

Per Empire State Development’s Fact Sheet:

“The research grants support the study of the agronomic characteristics of industrial hemp, which will be grown by New York farms serving as research partners. The research partners will receive $400 per acre less the cost of seed, which will be provided by Cornell. These funds will offset the costs of planting and harvesting as well as the indirect costs of complying with Cornell’s protocols and reporting requirements.”

The program not only expands industrial hemp cultivation in the Empire State but the law also amended an existing statute to guarantee parity between industrial hemp and other agricultural products.

For assistance with questions regarding the New York State industrial hemp research pilot program, please call (877) 249-6841.

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Hemp Nation: China’s Quietly Booming Industry

The farmers, scientists, and government in China have been quietly revolutionizing the hemp industry with incredible progress. This move has been done with such careful attention to detail, that China — a country where marijuana possession might garner the death penalty — has become a dominant power in the cultivation and production of hemp and its many derivatives.

Right now, China is the producer of approximately half of the world’s legal hemp, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

In the provinces where hemp production is legal, growers of the plant sell stems to textile factories to produce high-quality fabrics. As well, the leaves of the plant are sold to the pharmaceutical industry for medicine while the seeds are sold to food producers to make various snacks, oils, and drinks.

For many farmers in China, hemp brings in approximately $1,500 USD per hectare which is vastly more profitable than traditional crops such as soybeans, which are valued at approximately $124 USD per hectare.

Because the harvest does so well for local farmers, authorities had been turning a blind eye to its production for years before legalizing and regulating hemp in many areas at the turn of this century.

It’s also not just the regulation of the Chinese hemp industry that has made China the top crop manager. Over the last few decades, researchers in the nation have created hybrid species that are able to thrive in the many different climates throughout China. This includes strains that can grow in arctic conditions in the north and the subtropical areas of China’s southern regions.

It should be noted that cannabis has been growing in China for centuries. Hemp fabrics dating more than 3,000 years have been found in tombs, and the fiber is believed to be the base for the earliest forms of paper.

After the country became the People’s Republic in the late 1940s, the communist government classified the plant as an illicit drug with harsh sentences for possession and cultivation.

Research into hemp became an important task in the late 1970s. The military wanted to develop a fabric that could keep soldiers clean and dry in Vietnam’s humidity. Because of that extensive research, more than half of the world’s 600-plus patents on hemp are held in China, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The incredible number of patents held by China is a growing concern in the Western pharmaceutical industry, as some businesspeople believe the Chinese can dominate cannabis as medicine, now that marijuana reform is becoming more prevalent around the world.

“Because cannabis in Western medicine is becoming accepted, the predominance of Chinese patents suggests that pharmaceutical sciences are evolving quickly in China, outpacing Western capabilities,” said Dr. Luc Duchesne, a Canadian businessman, and biochemist.

“[Chinese traditional medicine] is poised to take advantage of a growing trend. The writing is on the wall, westernized Chinese traditional medicine is coming to a dispensary near you.”

Although China does not make a show of this juggernaut of an industry, it’s clear that hemp is of great importance to the nation. In the kaleidoscope of global cannabis reform, this quiet but willing player could be an integral piece of the legalization puzzle.

 

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