Hemp and hemp-derived CBD are no longer considered a controlled substance under federal law. Individual states will still need to set up their own hemp programs, if they haven't done so already.
Hemp is a low-maintenance, climate-friendly crop. It helps restore soil health, suppress weeds, and has thousands of potential uses. However, it does not come without its challenges.
Here are some basics for those looking to grow hemp:
- You will need to provide GPS coordinates of your field. Your State Department of Agriculture will come test your plants 30 days prior to harvest. You must have the right seed, otherwise your THC content could be too high, and your crop WILL be destroyed!
- Obtaining seeds with the right genetics is key, depending on what you are looking to grow hemp for. Usually, the DOA would have approved seeds, but since hemp hasn't been grown in the US for some time, this is not the case. You will have to source your seeds from other states.
- Until certified seeds for CBD-rich plants are more widley available and accessible, farmers will run the risk of procuring seeds that result in higher-than-expected THC levels, lower-than-expected CBD levels, and overall poor harvest. Knowing where your seeds are coming from and finding a trusted partner are crucial to having a successful season.
- Most of the hemp being grown in the US right now is used for CBD extract purposes. Growing for industrial use (fibers, stalk, seeds) requires growing at larger scale and can be quite capital intensive. You can grow between 400 to 2,000 CBD-rich hemp plants on one acre and still make a decent profit (for now), which is great for small farms.
- The land you intend to grow on should be pesticide free and tested for heavy metals, as hemp plants will absorb toxins from the dirt (good for remediation!). You should also make sure there are no other farmers growing with pesticides nearby as pesticides can be carried by the wind.
- Communicate with other growers nearby or within 15-20 miles of your field. Pollen blown over from nearby fields containing male plants can jeopardize or render useless your entire grow of CBD-rich female hemp. Unless you're growing for seed or breeding, males are no good.
- Farmers should beware of thieves and teenagers as much as pesticides and pests. A field of industrial cannabis can be mistaken for recreational cannabis. Signage and location are key. Additional security measures may be necessary!
- Transportation and logistics are key, and timing is of utmost importance. As with most crops, growing is only one piece of the seed to sale puzzle. We are keen to establish distribution channels and design our processes with the end user in mind.
From collective seed purchasing to strategic distribution, we aim to create partnerships that will benefit us all.