Hemp-mania showed up in the region in the last couple of years.  The federal legalization of industrial hemp, marijuana's non-stoner sibling, opened the floodgates for production. 

Now there's a move to blur the line between the two kinds of cannabis.  Some hemp farmers want a higher level of THC--the stoner chemical--allowed in hemp.

Image of man sorting plants on a metal table.
Erik Neumann / JPR

Half a dozen industrial fans hum inside a football field-size warehouse in White City. Lined up on the ground in neat rows are 500 white plastic bags, each three-foot by three-foot. The bags are full of hemp.

Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Oregon state regulators have fined five hemp businesses a total of $825,000 dollars for housing farmworkers in a dilapidated building in Josephine County.

Photo via unsplash.com

Do you work in the hemp or marijuana industry? We're seeking boots-on-the-ground stories from everyday laborers, trimmers, farmers, chemists, and anyone else working with cannabis and cannabis products.

Erik Neumann/JPR News

Overflow crowds filled the Josephine County Fairgrounds auditorium in Grants Pass Wednesday night for a symposium on the region’s booming hemp industry. State officials discussed power usage in greenhouses, fire risks posed by the CBD extraction process with hemp, and threats to fish from agricultural water diversions. 


The hemp industry was bound to grow and grow quickly, given the decades of pent-up demand from federal controls.  Now hemp, marijuana's non-stoner sibling, is legal to grow. 

And Oregon alone is now growing something like 50,000 acres of the stuff, mostly for the CBD oil it contains.  Hemp industry analysts--they DO exist--say the price is likely to crash because of overproduction. 


Oregon State University plans to be the go-to school for knowledge about hemp.  Marijuana's non-stoner sibling has many uses, and the blessing of Congress on the crop opened the door wide for OSU. 

The Global Hemp Innovation Center aims to be the place with the most comprehensive knowledge of hemp care and feeding to be found anywhere. 

Jay Noller, professor of crop and soil science at OSU, is the director and lead researcher for the hemp center. 


The signs are cropping up all over: Industrial Hemp: No THC!

The drop in price for THC cannabis has led many farmers to switch to industrial hemp to feed the CBD market.

Hemp Inc. is a national company that has just opened a facility in Medford to process all that No THC hemp so that farmers can get the product to market.

Bruce Perlowin is Hemp Inc's CEO.


There's evidence that people first used hemp fibers in the early days of human civilization.  The modern-day outlawing of hemp is not of its own doing: people figured out how to grow varieties of the plant that people smoke to get high (see: marijuana). 

Now the growing of industrial hemp is gaining in favor, aided by legalization of marijuana in several states.  Legislators at the state and federal level are working on laws that could help hemp farmers regardless of what happens with marijuana law. 

Oregon Industrial Hemp Farmers Association  founder Courtney Moran is also an attorney, following the movements with great interest. 

Oregon's First Licensed Hemp Farmer

Feb 19, 2015

Edgar Winters probably deals with a little confusion over his name.  But for an extra S, it's the same as the name of a legendary rock musician ("Frankenstein" et al). 

But Edgar Winters is making a name for himself as the first farmer in Oregon with a license to grow hemp. 

The versatile crop is now being allowed in Oregon fields, despite it being banned along with its sibling, marijuana, under federal law. 

Oregon Invites Farmers Into Hemp Business

Feb 10, 2015

Laws against marijuana don't just harsh some people's mellow. 

They also have largely prohibited the growing of marijuana's sister, hemp, for industrial purposes. 

State of Oregon agriculture officials are now taking applications from farmers and growers who want to get into the hemp business, which is still illegal under federal law.