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Oregon Hemp Farmers Will Benefit From 2018 Farm Bill

<p>A photograph of hemp in Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge.</p>

U.S. Fish and Wildlife

A photograph of hemp in Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge.

Oregon hemp farmers will benefit from the 2018 Farm Bill if it passes in Congress. The bill includes a provision, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which would remove a federal ban on hemp.

The bill would designate hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the controlled substances list. Farmers would have access to federal resources that previously weren’t available, like banking, small business loans and USDA research.

The bill would also allow states to become the primary regulators of the commodity. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a champion of the Hemp Farming Act, thinks that legalizing hemp could be a big opportunity for job growth in Oregon.

Proponents of this bill have pushed for a definition of hemp that includes “seeds of the plant, derivatives, extracts and cannabinoids,” according to Courtney Moran, lawyer and president for the Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association.

Under this umbrella is CBD, or cannabidiol. CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound and is often marketed to relieve a variety of ailments, from pain relief and chronic pain to anxiety and depression. CBD is the biggest market among hemp products.

“Some folks expect it to be over a trillion dollars,” said Moran about the hemp industry. 

On Nov. 29, leaders from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees announced that they’d reached an agreement on the Farm Bill. Sen. Wyden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) worked together to include the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 language into the 2018 Farm Bill.

In 2009, Oregon passed Senate Bill 676, which legalized production and possession of industrial hemp. The Oregon Department of Agriculture did not issue any registrations to grow hemp until 2015, according to Sunny Summers, the cannabis policy coordinator at the ODA. 

Courtney Moran joined "Think Out Loud" to talk about the 2018 Farm Bill and what it could mean for the hemp industry in Oregon. Listen to the full conversation by using the audio player at the top of this story.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Sage Van Wing, Cydney Grannan