"No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." ~ Winston Churchill
Rules of the Game
The long-anticipated DRAFT 'Vermont Hemp Rule' was released today by Cary Giguere, Director, Public Health, at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture (VAAFM).
The goal of the rulemaking process has been to clearly define the regulatory framework and product safety guidelines around which Vermont's federally compliant hemp program is to be built. I explored some of the process and the background for the Hemp Rule in a January post, here.
“One thing we have to realize from now on is that it doesn't matter if this is a dream or not. Survival depends on what we do, not what we think.”
In a previous post I was ringing the bell; from Maine to New York City, CBD hemp oil and other CBD consumables are being embargoed, and these products are being sent back to their maker. That's not good for anyone.
Since then, similar actions were taken in Ohio and other jurisdictions. Now, North Carolina has issued warning letters to CBD manufactures in that state, again citing FDA's statement on the issue. At least NC sent a warning, but the blockade is coming folks.
Let's be clear, these actions against hemp are being taken by state and local agencies, not the FDA. However, those states are taking the FDA's position; that CBD should not be used as a supplement because of a federal patent. It is not because CBD is found to be unsafe.
In Vermont, we're fortunate that all hemp oversight is with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture (VAAFM). Vermont's Administration and its Ag Agency have stated repeatedly there's "no way" the punitive actions we saw in Maine, and elsewhere will happen here. That's an encouraging and protective stance right now towards Vermont's CBD growers and processors.
However, at the end of the day, it is the FDA and not Vermont Ag that is poised to put the brakes on our budding hemp industry.
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad."
Klee Irwin, the founder of Irwin Naturals, has posted this valuable and concise explanation of where we stand right now with the status of hemp, CBD and the FDA. Klee deftly dissects the problem in his 14-minute video, and points the way forward for the hemp industry.
This short post ties in directly to my next one. Here, I want to let the video do the talking, it gives context and grounding to my fervor.
For those of us engaged with CBD as a farm or business especially, I can assure you, watching Irwin's talk is time well spent. Without further ado, or introduction...
But Before You Go...
I want to thank fellow blogger, attorney, and hemp and cannabis advocate from North Carolina, Rod Kight, over at Kight On Cannabis. Rod is insightful, much more prolific than I am, and always on message. Rod first drew my attention to Klee's video, and a number of other stories I follow and some I've passed along. Check him out.
As always, your comments and questions below are most welcome!
“Action expresses priorities.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
[updated 2/9/2019] Maine has a big CBD problem. Last week, Maine’s Department of Health ordered all hemp derived CBD-infused edibles to be removed from store shelves.
This week, their State House filled with dozens of hemp growers, processors and supporters to protest the crackdown on consumable CBD products. This is a painful and financially devastating situation for all those affected. Not to mention the uncertainty for 1000s of Mainers who rely on their daily dose of hemp oil.
As reported in the Portland Press Herald, Maine’s Department of Health has ordered that consumable products containing cannabidiol, or CBD, must be removed from stores, even though they are derived from legal hemp. CBD salves and smoking products are exempt, and only medical cannabis dispensaries can market CBD oils and tinctures.
At least one Vermont (CBD) processor has been told by their customer in Maine to take back their Vermont products as a result of the crackdown. This is getting serious, and very close to home.
“If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.” --- anonymous
Last week, representatives from a dozen Vermont businesses, UVM, and state government met around the table to talk hemp.
From my point of view, it was an event of historic significance, twenty-three years in the making.
We were invited to Montpelier to offer our initial feedback on a "preview" version of the (soon to be released) draft Rule that will guide the new Vermont hemp registry program. The rule, constructed over the last several months, establishes the registration and quality control platform for the state's hemp growers and processors.
The goal of the rulemaking process, led by the Agency of Agriculture (VAAFM), has been to clearly define the regulatory framework and product safety guidelines around which our state's federally compliant hemp program is to be built.
Gary Giguere, our host and a VAAFM Section Chief, along with his colleague, Stephanie Smith, Chief Hemp Policy Enforcement Officer, opened the 3-hour meeting and helped set the stage for the group.
"... the face of Vermont agriculture is changing. And we believe that hemp is going to have a role in that (change)." ~ Cary Giguere, Vermont Agency of Agriculture
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu
The buzz you hear around the 2018 Farm Bill, that's the sound of the hemp industry coming alive.
It is an exciting and historic development that the 2018 Farm Bill removes hemp (i.e., Cannabis sativa containing 0.3% THC dry weight or less) from the federal list of controlled substances. This forever redefines hemp as an agricultural commodity.
State Agencies of Agriculture are staffing up; they will play the part of local rule-maker, regulator and enforcer.
The rise of innovation, production, and sales of hemp and hemp products is upon us. As America's newest ag-based economy gears up, we celebrate hemp's reformed legal status. Unfortunately, we can't yet cheer its complete emancipation.
We've come a long (long) way, and not to take anything from the epic drive that got us here, hemp is still going to be a highly regulated crop in the wake of the 2018 Farm Bill.
"It's better to be an optimist who is sometimes wrong than a pessimist who is always right". ~ Mark Twain
On Thursday December 20, 2018, with a stroke of the presidential pen, hemp prohibition is over.
In last Thursday’s signing ceremony of the Farm Bill, hemp or Cannabis sativa with less than 0.3% THC, was officially removed from the nation’s list of controlled substances.
The Drug Enforcement Agency was compelled to surrender. Oversight of the US hemp industry now moves to the USDA and the individual states. The hemp provisions of the Act are effective immediately.
For a full reading of the changes affecting hemp in the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018”, click here
The end of hemp prohibition is arguably the most far-reaching opportunity in decades to affect family farms and rural communities. Not to mention the innovators and purveyors of food, fiber and medicinal products nationwide.
Hemp's bright future awaits. Hang on! It's going to be a wild ride...
I'm Netaka, friends call me Tak ("tock"). I write from Vermont and curate Tak About Hemp.