The Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association (OIHFA), with the guidance of Courtney Moran, EARTH Law, LLC, and Rep. Carl Wilson [R- Grants Pass], introduced House Bill 4060, which updates and clarifies provisions related to industrial hemp. HB 4060 had bipartisan support and passed out of the Oregon House of Representatives with a vote of 54-4.
Industrial hemp is non-intoxicating and must contain no more than .03 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The existing law requires growers to cultivate industrial hemp in fields no smaller than 2.5 acres. HB 4060 authorizes the cultivation of industrial hemp in fields, plots, or buildings, without the 2.5-acre requirement. The bill also provides for labs accredited by the Oregon Health Authority and licensed by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to conduct testing on industrial hemp and industrial hemp commodities or products.
Industrial hemp was legalized in Oregon in 2009. OIHFA members and other growers expect to grow at least 200 acres of industrial hemp in 2016. Some of the processed hemp seed and oils will be sold for food and cosmetic products. Hemp stalks will be separated into long stringy bast fiber for clothing, composites, auto body parts, batteries, and paper, among other uses. The shorter, inner pithy fiber or hurd, will be sold for animal bedding, kitty litter, building materials, hempcrete, absorbent materials for oil and liquid spills on land or water and hundreds of other uses. There is a good chance HB 4060 will be passed by the Senate.
Due to some quirky rule Oregon processors cannot use industrial hemp stalks, stems or leaves for medical purposes. Canada has a similar quirky rule. Some states allow hemp parts to be used for medical purposes. This more profitable industrial hemp use will likely be addressed in the next Legislature.
Oregon farmer Bruce Meland, 76, is editor-publisher of Electrifying Times and author of marijuanainthegardenofeden.com an e-book about marijuana and hemp. He is an advocate of hemp for medicinal purposes. He can be reached at [email protected]