By Zev Paiss
SOURCE: California Hemp Alliance
The California Hemp Alliance wishes to correct the record regarding certain comments made by Eric Steenstra, Executive Director of the Hemp Industries Association, concerning industrial hemp in California.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris
A recent article in The Santa Clarita Valley Signal features Steenstra citing Attorney General Kamala Harris as the problem behind the state’s failure to enact provisions of the CA Industrial Hemp Farming Act (IHFA). According to Steenstra, “the California attorney general gave an opinion that it was only legal for university research, not commercial cultivation.”
“We were disappointed and frustrated with the attorney general’s ruling,” Steenstra said on behalf of the industry association. “Clearly other states have interpreted it differently; California left us behind based on a very narrow interpretation. We don’t believe it was the intent of the legislature to only limit hemp production to university research use.”
In fact, the state IHFA is quite clear in only allowing hemp cultivation in the state when it does not present a conflict with federal law. The 2014 Farm Bill permitted states with hemp legislation, under the purview of their respective Departments of Agriculture, to establish pilot research projects to study industrial hemp. Atty. Gen. Harris gave a lucid and thorough opinion which makes quite clear – in a section entitled “What May Be Grown?” – that in fact universities may engage in industrial hemp research. Her opinion was in accordance with both state and federal law, and California Hemp Alliance is grateful for her guidance on the matter.
In truth, any fault in delay of implementation lies squarely at the feet of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). This department has not only failed to help facilitate any potential research projects; they have yet to even begin assembling the mandated Industrial Hemp Advisory Board, a group of experts who could help guide pilot programs through the regulatory and funding process.
Industrial hemp, which is defined by most industrial nations as Cannabis sativa L. containing less than 0.3% THC, lacks key supporters in the State of California. The passage of the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, particularly Section 7606: Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, allows for industrial hemp pilot programs to begin in states that had previously enacted legislation in support of industrial hemp farming. In 2013, Governor Brown signed SB 566, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act into law in the State of California.
Thus, California can legitimately conduct research with institutions of higher education and the CDFA. However, not one industrial hemp pilot program has sown seed. This letter outlines the impediments to industrial hemp pilot programs in the State of California in order to gain your support to overcome such hurdles and begin research.
Read this full story…..: Take Action: California Dept. of Food And Agriculture