Oregonian Hemp Farmers Await New Hemp Bill's Passage

The Oregon State Legislature approved improvements to the Oregon Industrial Hemp Program. Some farmers are excited for what this program can bring.

Posted: Mar 6, 2018 6:47 PM

Chris Bourne works for the industrial hemp farm called Medisun Farms. Although this bill has not passed quiet yet, he is excited for when it does.

"I think it's a great thing. I think it's a great thing for the state. I think it’s a great thing for our country. Building infrastructure for the cultivation of hemp be it fiber, food, or medicine is a wonderful thing," Bourne said.

Although hemp and marijuana look very similar when planted, the two plants are used differently. The major difference is in the THC content, which is what gives you that ‘high’ when you consume marijuana. But hemp isn't used for getting high; it's often used to make things like clothes. The Chief of Staff for Oregon state representative Carl Wilson R- Grants Pass, Michelle Binker said industrial hemp has the potential to bring millions of dollars across the country.

“In my member's estimation this is possibly one of the more important bills passed this session. Experts say the market for industrial hemp could be 600 million dollars per year initially nationwide," Binker said.

Hemp has to test at .3% THC or below, which is considered low.

"If a farmer’s crop tests higher than that the entire crop is embargoed and possibly destroyed," said Binker.

“So you want to make sure that you are working with good breeders because seeds can be really expensive, up to a dollar or a $1.50 a seed if you're buying feminized hemp," Bourne added.

If Governor Brown signs this bill into law, it would establish a pilot program and allow the Oregon State University to make sure those seeds test .3% of below before farmers put them in the ground.

"So getting some certainty with respect to the hemp varieties that they are putting in the ground and getting some consistent results with testing so that they have confidence moving forward is going to be an immense boon to our farmers," Binker added.

"It starts to legitimize our industry even more. When you have a pilot program, we have access to organic certification which is wonderful. We have access to legitimate industrial hemp seeds and also the opportunity within the state of Oregon that if your crop is hot so to speak, over .3% you also have the opportunity to sell it into the OLCC system and to the dispensaries," said Bourne.

That's another reason some farmers and law makers are excited this bill is one step closer to becoming law. Blinker said she’s heard from medical marijuana patients that it's hard for them to find medicinal only dispensaries. She added hemp is often high in cannabidiol or CBD which she said often helps medicinal marijuana patients. This new bill would allow hemp farms to also cross into the OLCC market if they wanted to.

"Those additional CBDs can be made available to patients and be added in to marijuana products basically to enhance the variety of products available to people or consumers and also to give another outlet for our hemp producers," Blinker said.

This bill, which you can read here, passed in the Oregon State House and Senate Saturday, March 3rd. It will awaits Governor Brown’s signature.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 387485

Reported Deaths: 5116
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah59768836
Washington41571393
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Clackamas32426376
Lane29856354
Jackson24672350
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Umatilla15087180
Linn14488178
Douglas13236286
Josephine10057240
Yamhill9665142
Klamath8979145
Polk813698
Benton605137
Malheur591586
Coos5573106
Columbia423855
Jefferson416865
Lincoln357252
Union336854
Crook330156
Wasco314846
Clatsop258335
Baker217531
Tillamook214345
Hood River211337
Morrow197025
Curry190136
Harney119332
Grant108314
Lake104016
Wallowa74713
Sherman1903
Gilliam1844
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5060048

Reported Deaths: 74129
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152429427102
San Diego4047084319
Riverside3849455306
San Bernardino3718825944
Orange3329505675
Sacramento1674002423
Kern1565171781
Fresno1558992246
Santa Clara1511691922
Alameda1246581500
San Joaquin1070001833
Ventura1036461188
Contra Costa1032921045
Stanislaus912991413
Tulare856141082
San Francisco56614669
San Mateo56058629
Monterey52340625
Solano47422356
Santa Barbara47035548
Merced44807664
Sonoma42912412
Placer41881468
Imperial38128769
Kings35038358
San Luis Obispo31294358
Madera26005311
Shasta25917440
Butte25295309
Santa Cruz22028222
Yolo21451257
Marin18342248
El Dorado18166161
Sutter14494181
Napa13372104
Yuba1070088
Tehama10230129
Humboldt10043117
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Mendocino848894
Lassen792355
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Tuolumne767790
Lake6990110
Amador573766
Siskiyou470954
Glenn455136
Calaveras435685
Del Norte371242
Colusa323519
Inyo254345
Plumas19127
Mono18294
Mariposa156718
Trinity98817
Modoc7475
Unassigned2430
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