Well, here it is, two days before the end of April and not one Hemp Seed has been planted in North Carolina. Farmers that have contributed time, money, and effort are beginning to sow their fields with other plants from seed that is readily available. ZERO information has been reported about the hand delivered letter to the NC Attorney General requesting a temporary restraining order, and the hemp commission has set another public application review for May 5th. Yes...May 5th, nearly three weeks from the last one.
The NC Hemp Commission was formed last year to institute a pilot program in NC. They put together a well thought out, liberal set of regulations which indicated that their intentions were in the best interest of the farmers and the new industry and began accepting applications in March. They have overcome obstacles and navigated in unknown waters fairly well. Until now. It is closing time. If the deal isn't closed, farmers, entrepreneurs, processors, and manufacturers are left hold the bag.
At this late stage of the planting season, industry players are expecting the commission to prioritize and accelerate their efforts, increase the communication and relay the feedback via their web-portal, and get the job done.
Please don't think we are bashing these fine folks. They really have their work cut out for them and are at the mercy of the Attorney General and are forced to work at the general speed of government. We simply want regular updates, very timely application reviews, and a renewed sense of urgency.
Now, on to the extended and underlying problem. The DEA. Why is it that nearly every state that rolls out a Hemp Pilot Program goes through one form of extreme harassment or another?
I will share with you the "Statement of Principles" on Hemp from the DEA themselves. Here's the kicker, in the fifth paragraph of the statement, they CLEARLY say:
"This statement of principles does not establish any binding legal requirements. It is therefore, exempt from notice and comment rule making requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C.553(b)."
How then would the DEA enforce something that is "non-binding" legally? Why all the fuss and worry from the NC Dept of Ag? How can the DEA spend any Federal dollars (read-tax payer money) on enforcing anything in regards to what is legally defined as hemp, when they have been legislatively forbidden from doing so via the 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act?
Shaky though it may seem, there is a clear legal pathway to importing certified seed and cultivars both internationally and domestically. Just as in other states that faced this problem, NC needs to approve ALL applications that meet their own requirements, including domestic sourced plants and seeds, then let the industry professionals worry about getting it here.
The Carolina Hemp Company Green Team has been diligently working to help make this a real possibility in WNC. You can call us direct at 828-GET-HEMP, browse the many awesome products that are currently being grown and made from our neighboring states
stop by to visit us at our office, or catch up with us at one of the MANY events we attend and sponsor in and around Asheville, like Wednesday Hemp Days (last Wednesday each month).
Get involved now to help see the Hemp Pilot Program in NC become a reality!
For your convenience, you will find below, the contact information for the Attorney Generals Office and the NC Hemp Commission.
Attorney General’s Office
9001 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
Telephone: (919) 716-6400
Fax: (919) 716-6750
NC Hemp Commission Lori Pfister 919-707-3236 http://www.ncagr.gov/hemp/