CannabisForSeniors

Growing BenefitsFrom coast to coast, hemp is being legalized and recognized in the U.S.

Hemp is no longer an undefined term. In fact, information about hemp has become widespread over the past decade. There is more education, more hemp-based products and a more accurate understanding of how the plant works and how it’s different from cannabis. The hemp industry has made many leaps in progress over the last few years alone, with thanks to many researchers and inventors who have crafted products worth investing in. And finally, multiple states have begun to take notice. Recently, a handful of hemp bills were approved. In honor of Hemp History Week (June 3-June 9) we take a look at a few states that have made recent progress on the hemp front.

 

Alabama

The Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries approved 216 licenses for those who applied to be industrial hemp cultivators in late-April. According to AL.com, 152 of those licenses belong to cultivators, 59 belong to processors and five were approved for local universities. These licenses were approved thanks to the foundation set by the Alabama Industrial Hemp Pilot Program that was originally established in 2016.

 

Connecticut

On May 9, Gov. Ned Lamont signed Senate Bill 893, also called “An Act Concerning A Pilot Program for Hemp Production,” which legalizes industrial hemp cultivation in the state of Connecticut. Through this legislation, an industrial hemp pilot program can now be established. Prior to this bill being signed into law, the only hemp cultivation that was allowed was through state universities and the state’s agriculture department.

 

Georgia

House Bill 213 was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on May 10. Entitled the “Georgia Hemp Farming Act,” this bill authorizes hemp research and studies, provides licensing and permit requirements for potential hemp cultivators and processors and redefines the term “marijuana.” Currently the state does have a limited medical cannabis program, but all products are imported from other states.

 

Hawaii

As of this writing, Hawaiian Gov. David Ige has Senate Bill 1353 on his desk. In late April, a conference committee provided last minute approval of the bill to be passed on to the governor for consideration. Gov. Ige received the bill on May 6, and it remains unsigned as of late-May. If it becomes law, it will become the state’s agriculture department’s job to establish an industrial hemp program. It will also remove any contradictory rules that exist under the current hemp pilot program that launched in 2018, and it will redefine the meaning of “marijuana” to specify that hemp is not the same.

 

Iowa

Thanks to the signature of Gov. Kim Reynolds, the state of Iowa welcomed the Iowa Hemp Act (SF599) on May 13. This means that farmers are legally allowed to use up to 40 acres of land for hemp cultivation. The only caveat is that this change doesn’t immediately take effect. First, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will need to create a plan on how to regulate hemp cultivation, which will need to be approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

Oklahoma

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 868 on April 18, which will pave the way for industrial hemp to thrive in the state of Oklahoma. The bill allows the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to control the future of the industrial hemp program, which is expected to be in place by 2020.

 

Texas

On April 24, Texas legislators approved House Bill 1325, which aims to allow cultivators to legally grow industrial hemp in the state. The legislation was approved by the Texas Senate on May 15.

 

Washington

Legislators in Washington recently passed Senate Bill 5276 into law on April 26 with a signature by Gov. Jay Inslee. According to the new law, a regulatory program can now be established in order to regulate hemp production. Specifically, it will target licensing, inspection and testing of hemp under the USDA.


  • READ MORE  by Jenn Michelle Pedini, NORML Development Director

    Virginia Senator David Marsden's SB1719 has passed unanimously through both the House of Delegates and the Senate, and is headed to the governor’s desk for signature.

  • READ MORE  by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director

    The House Financial Services subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a hearing Wednesday to address the lack of access to basic banking services by state-legal marijuana businesses.

  • READ MORE  by NORML

    Today, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced legislation, The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act, to expand and facilitate medical cannabis access to military veterans suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, and other serious medical conditions.

  • READ MORE  by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director

    Currently, state-licensed marijuana businesses face a web of conflicting regulations. Specifically, federal prohibitions largely prohibit these businesses from partnering with financial institutions, processing credit cards, and taking standard business deductions.

  • READ MORE  by Carly Wolf, NORML State Policies Coordinator

    Welcome to the latest edition of NORML's Weekly Legislative Roundup!

  • READ MORE  by Jax Finkel, Texas NORML Executive Director

    More than 400 Texans from across the Lone Star State rallied in Austin to lobby state lawmakers in support of marijuana law reforms. Attendees received a free advocacy training and additional resources to support their lobbying efforts.

  • READ MORE  by NORML

    Senator Ron Wyden has introduced legislation in the Senate — The Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act — to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference.

  • READ MORE  by Justin See, Board Member, Indiana NORML

    The current state of cannabis reform in Indiana and the potential progress that could be made this session rests largely on the shoulders of a few committee chairs.

  • Veganic Weed

     

    By now, most growers have heard the term “veganic cannabis” circulating throughout the cultivation and consumption communities. The commonly accepted meaning of the term refers to cannabis that does not contain any animal-based soil or nutrient ingredients. To define the term from another angle, the soil and fertilizer used are generally plant- and rock-based, and the materials to be used are either OMRI Listed or OMRI listable.


    Calling a product organic carries legal accountability for the methods used while calling it veganic can be done without any consequences if used inaccurately. This is something to keep in mind as you become more conscious of the growing veganic trend.


    Growers can debate the question of whether veganic weed is truly superior to its organic equivalent, but to a commercial grower, the attraction to veganic growing has more to do with its superiority as an organic indoor method than it does about any parallel or superior virtues.


    Let me explain.


    Cultivation experts tend to fall into two groups — the organic group (mostly greenhouse and outdoor) whose followers love living soil, worms, compost, microbes, and even adding insects to the garden to manage other insects. Then there’s the conventional group (mostly indoor) whose adherents aim for the cleanest possible cultivation conditions at all times. The conventional group strives toward organic quality and methodology, but managing pests and microbial problems is, and must be, the higher priority if we hope to survive more than a year or two in a single location.


    Cleanliness is Godliness

    Cleanliness is the biggest key to indoor mold and pest control, but many organic amendments and additives are anything but clean. They are literally intended to encourage the kind of microbial activity and decay that indoor growers strive to control or eliminate.


    But does this mean indoor growers can’t succeed at organic cultivation? Not at all, but the cleaner the better, which lands us on veganic methods.


    Of course, veganic growing is still messy in comparison to stonewool watered with sterile mineral salts, but it’s much cleaner than traditional organic growing because dirtier substances such as bone meal, blood meal, guano, fish emulsion, feather meal, compost, and worm castings aren’t in the picture. You are more likely to see ingredients in a vegan recipe such as rock dust mixed with various grain or seed meals, augmented by OMRI Listed mineral salts like magnesium sulfate. You still need, as with organic methods, microbes in the soil to break down insoluble substances, but the overall reduction in use of easy-to-rot ingredients is substantial, without any associated downside.


    The best veganic methods I’ve seen involve amending some of the slower reacting food sources into coco fiber before planting, then supplementing with faster acting liquid minerals as the crop is irrigated throughout its life. In concert with leaf tissue testing, adjustments can be made to keep the plants perfectly healthy throughout their lives and ensure they reach their genetic potential.


    Take note that several mineral salt nutrients are OMRI Listed, including almost all of the sulfates: potassium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, iron sulfate, copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, etc. I don’t shy away from using any of these just because they are soluble salts. The fact is they are organic and vegan, and, if used properly alongside vegan soil amendments, produce top-shelf herb. Yes, soil amendments alone do supply some amount of each of the essential minerals, but there will be times when you need to add more, and using an organic soluble salt is a very effective way to do it.

     

    Read: Minerals: An Essential Part of Cannabinoid Production

     

    Recipe for Veganic Success

    To pin down the ideal recipe and addition rates, you can either hire an expert to help with a custom recipe, or learn through trial and error, but most veganic recipes produce really frosty and tasty cannabis flowers if the soil isn’t too compact or overwatered, and if the pH of the root zone is kept tightly between 6.4-6.8 throughout the growth cycle (dropping it much lower will usually cause manganese toxicity which stunts flower formation). Start with coco fiber that naturally has the right pH. Many brands are either too acidic or too alkaline right out of the gate.


    Since all soil, organic or veganic, gets more acidic over time, some kind of liming material will be applied when the pH of the runoff drops below 6.4. For this, I usually use calcium carbonate granules, top dressed on the soil surface at a rate of about a half-cup per gallon of media. One application will last three to four weeks before pH starts dropping again. Calcium is one of the few minerals that cannabis can handle in larger quantities, and the carbonate is the component that has the alkalizing effect you’ll need. This is especially critical if you are using reverse osmosis water, which contains no natural pH buffers.


    As for soil porosity, you don’t want the water to pool up on the surface of the soil at all. If it’s pooling up at normal pouring rates, add rice hulls or perlite until it drains well. Media will always get more compact over time, so err on the side of too much porosity if you aren’t sure how much is the perfect amount. I use about 25 per cent rice hulls if I’m mixing with typical coco fiber, which usually comes in a powdery fine texture. High porosity serves the purpose of both increasing the oxygen available to the roots and reducing the risk of overwatering, which is a very common newbie error.


    Once you have the right pH and porosity for the starter media, you’ll want to either add a veganic pre-mix or take it upon yourself to mix in some rock phosphate (supplies calcium and phosphorus), neem or soybean meal (supplies some slow-release nitrogen), greensand (supplies iron and other micros), and maybe some other bells and whistles like seaweed (supplies growth hormones).


    The supplemental liquid nutrients that must get added with each watering, on top of the amended soil as the plants grow, include fast-release organic nitrogen (usually amino acid-based from grain sources), potassium and magnesium sulfate, and sometimes extra micronutrients.



    The critical additional step is to always use leaf tissue tests to monitor the status of the plant’s internal workings. A good lab will return results within a week, which allows growers to adjust the liquid feed in real-time so a crop won’t be damaged by deficiencies or toxicities. Take note that plants can look perfectly healthy but have an internal build-up occurring of any one of the essential minerals — a toxicity that is about to damage the crop, but just hasn’t quite hit the threshold. You’ll notice, for example, that getting plants about halfway into the flowering cycle in great condition is pretty easy but finishing them in perfect health is difficult. With the use of leaf tissue tests, you can avert problems before they manifest visually or cause any yield reductions.