California’s SB 1409: Merely Re-arranging Hemp Chairs on the Titanic?

From Cannalaw Blog: “Existing California law also requires that industrial hemp only be grown by those on the list of approved hemp seed cultivars. That list includes only hemp seed cultivars certified on or before January 1, 2013. Industrial hemp may only be grown as a densely planted fiber or oilseed crop, or both, in minimum acreages…

SB 1409 proposes to delete the exclusionary requirement that industrial hemp seed cultivars be certified on or before January 1, 2013. Additionally, “industrial hemp” would no longer be defined restrictively in the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act as a fiber or oilseed crop, and the bill would delete the requirement that industrial hemp be grown as a fiber or oilseed crop, or both. Presumably, this will allow cultivators to harvest hemp for CBD derivation, and related use.

SB 1409 would also authorize the state Department of Food and Agriculture to carry out, pursuant to the federal Agricultural Act of 2014, an agricultural pilot program for industrial hemp. Twinning a state-sanctioned pilot program with licensed, private cultivation is a model that has worked well in other states, like Colorado and Oregon. SB 1409 seems to have been well-researched in that sense.

Citing the success of Colorado actually makes the opposite point, as it was the first and longest hold-out of non-compliance with Sec 7606 of the Farm Bill, the first Tenth Amendment hemp state, 2 years before the Farm Bill protections. It’s hemp success is specifically because certified cultivars were NOT mandatory, and many other regulations were generous (jurisdiction ends upon harvest, felons ok, freedom to farm, indoor grows, female-only trees allowed, CBD ok, no local jurisdiction).

Instead of sending money for the genetics to foreign corporations, the IP stayed home and some new hemp cultivars were patented and also certified, the first in years. This bill directly acknowledges that fact, that there are new cultivars since 2013. At most a small handful of firms in North America will benefit, as it’s a monopoly for each of the certified hemp seed sellers, like Monsanto has.

However, California still has the most restrictive hemp law in the country, designed to make all but corporate mega-grows difficult, stifle innovation, and deny hemp farmers 98% of the potential value of their crop (the CBD), while angering downwind legal marijuana grows. And why is it even in the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act at all, and not de-Scheduled ?

Restrictive for all except working with institutions that is, and genetically-engineering hemp is encouraged. How is that? Because there are no restrictions, if working with institutions. No THC tests, no certified seed, no nothin’. That has not escaped the attention of Biotech firms.

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