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Why an exemption for grain and fiber hemp?

  • The end-use products that result from their production are already recognized and exempted from the federal Controlled Substances Act.

  • Farmers require a more efficient process to succeed and increase acreage to meet demands for grain and fiber. 

  • Developing a distinction between industrial hemp and hemp will allow for future resources and policies to be more specific in application. 


Why is the current- single regulatory framework problematic for Grain and Fiber?

  • Unreasonable financial burden and risk to farmers

  • Unnecessary personnel and cost burden on Departments of Agriculture

  • Additional costs and avoidable procedures (ie background checks) hinder the ability to compete with other commodity crops and disincentivize farmers from incorporating industrial hemp into their rotation

  • Legal and regulatory confusion by necessary supply chain services like banking, transportation, insurance, and advertising between industrial (grain and fiber) hemp, cannabinoid and floral hemp, and marijuana. This confusion has resulted in delayed or denial of service, additional fees, and paperwork for emerging and established businesses.

  • Misperceptions discourage investment in critical infrastructure to stand up a robust domestic supply chain

  • Predominantly focused crop characteristics (i.e. delta-9 THC composition) have suppressed the growth of more competitive genetics, not allowing breeding programs to focus on competitive characteristics, e.g. yield, drought and pest resistance, etc.   


Why is there minimal risk of THC with grain and fiber crops?

  • Cannabinoids, including delta-9 THC are found within trichomes that predominantly reside on the floral material of hemp, not in the seed (grain) or stalk (fiber). Trichomes are delicate resin glands, almost hair-like follicles, that reside on the exterior of the plant. To collect these trichomes one must either have sophisticated or specialized harvesting equipment (not found on traditional row crop operations) or hand harvest the plant, taking it to be dried down similar to how recreational and medicinal marijuana production is managed.


  • For fiber production, the stalk goes through a process called retting. The stalk is left out in the field for weeks at a time, allowing microbes in the soil to start the process of decay. During this time, any residual trichomes on the plant which are very small and fragile, are almost entirely degraded or left out in the field. Through the process of mowing, raking, and bailing the risk for a high THC product to leave the field is almost impossible.


  • During grain harvesting, producers utilize standard farming equipment such as a direct cut combine header or a swather followed by a pick-up header. In all scenarios, the producer’s objective is to collect as much of the seed as possible while simultaneously eliminating as much foreign material. Through fans, conveyors, and screens these traditional implements discard any unwanted material out the back of the combine, collecting the desired seed in a hopper. In this scenario, the unwanted biomass (floral material) and chaft are left in the field to decompose. 


  • In both fiber and grain production models, the raw material harvested off of the field are already recognized and exempted from the Controlled Substances Act. In fact, several USDA-approved state hemp programs call out these harvesting techniques as a recognized form of destruction.


Why not certified seed only for an exemption?

  • Requiring only certified seed for an exemption benefits a limited number of suppliers. The list of AOSCA-approved varieties cannot currently meet industry demand and is economically challenging. 


  • Certified seeds are well known and successful in most commodity crops. However, there are no federal or state laws tied to certified seed use. Certified seeds are valued and needed for hemp to have a successful future but statutory authority should not incentivize use.


  • Grain and fiber producers need to evaluate seed varieties based on their marketability, price point, performance in their region, and resilience to the forces of mother nature, not on regulation.


  • A certified seed exemption that extends to cannabinoid production, will create a huge opportunity for illicit marijuana cultivation. The chance to disguise marijuana plants within a crop of certified seed plants is far too great, and far too challenging for law enforcement to manage.

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