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Oregon Halts Licenses for Industrial Hemp

Oregon halted issuing licenses for industrial hemp
operations effective Mon, Aug. 24. The Oregon Department of Agriculture stated
that their recent decision does not affect current license holders.

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[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]O[/dropcap]regon halted issuing licenses for industrial hemp operations effective Mon, Aug. 24. The Oregon Department of Agriculture stated that their recent decision does not affect current license holders. The revision will take effect and Oregon will resume issuing licenses for the nation’s greatest untapped super-fiber, next year.

Lindsay Eng, who oversees Oregon’s hemp program, stated that the goal is to resolve the issues in time for the 2016 growing season. The three-year license has been reduced to one year and will go into effect Jan. 1. “We just didn’t feel it was prudent to continue issuing new three-year licenses when so much might change,” Eng told the Oregonian. Eng blamed Oregon’s hemp statute as being “very short and very general.”

One of the biggest concerns is that hemp fields cross-pollinate with neighboring grow operations, corrupting the genetics. The decision was not based on cross-pollination concerns, as most lawmakers aren’t worried about lowering the potency of cannabis. Eng explained there’s a different reason for the regulations. Hemp licenses were originally intended for operations that produce fiber and seed goods. Instead, many hemp producers in Oregon are harvesting the hemp for cannabidiol.

Hemp is defined by having a content of <0.3% THC.

Oregon’s 2009 hemp statute does not clearly define the growing practices for hemp licensees. “We need statutory clarity on what the Legislature would like us to do and how they would like us to regulate it,” Eng said.  Hemp producers that don’t already have a license will have to adhere to the new guidelines next year.

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