Oregon hemp farmers, marijuana growers, and
Written By: Matthew Frederick
There is a common theme between the Marijuana growers and the hemp farmers in Oregon – and that commonality is the love for Cannabis. There is also a debate/discussion on who uses which areas to grow.
Southern Oregon is widely known for its Cannabis-friendly climate. Hemp and marijuana can grow and be cultivated in virtually any climate however, some areas seem to be built strictly for it – One of those areas is Southwest Oregon.
Hemp farmers, marijuana growers, and Oregon lawmakers are now in discussions over cross-pollination concerns. Stop reading this article for a moment. Think about that last sentence. I am not writing about prohibition, hemp facts, or even ranting about our society not utilizing the hemp plant. I am writing about lawmakers discussing cross-pollination concerns! Let that sink in before you continue.
Marijuana growers say their concern is that pollen from the hemp farms could weaken the cannabis flowers through cross-pollination.
Cross-pollinated marijuana flowers would ultimately produce a more seedy crop with weaker THC content. This is due to a cannabinoid found in both hemp and marijuana called Cannabidiol or CBD. Hemp plants produce more CBD than THC, while marijuana produces more THC than CBD. Research shows that CBD acts to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC. Neither side wants their respected crop to be cross-pollinated with the other. That goes without saying but I said it anyway.
The primary focus for many of Oregon’s 13 hemp licenses is to grow the hemp plant for CBD, an oil extracted from hemp plants that has medicinal qualities to help those suffering from cancer, seizures, and other dis-eases. The hemp will also be used for many of its other well-known uses.
Hemp was first approved for cultivation by Oregon lawmakers in 2009 however, the federal ban prevented hemp fields from spawning. The 2014 federal farm bill changed that as it allowed research-based hemp crops but did not address the issue of co-existence between the two crops.
The state Department of Agriculture began issuing licenses for legal hemp grows earlier this year.
That brings us to today.
Lawmakers in Salem are gearing up for committee votes on House Bill 2668. The amendments include a 5-mile buffer zone between outdoor hemp and marijuana grow zones as well as seeking to create a research-based hemp industry in Oregon. The committee vote was postponed last week. No rescheduled date has been set yet.
House Bill 2668 proposed amendments-
The proposed amendments have some of the state’s hemp farmers up in arms. They say the amendments could potentially force them out of the prime growing areas in the state. To add a little spice to this issue – House Bill 2668 started as a bill to stimulate hemp production. In the initial measure, the requirement that hemp farmers get a permit from the Agriculture Department was removed. This has since been reintroduced.
There have been hiccups along the way – there is no denying that. I think we can all agree, though, that this process of getting over these obstacles is far overdue. Even with these speed bumps, we are moving in the right direction. It’s all progress for a better tomorrow. As Courtney Moran, a lawyer in Portland states,
“We all come from the same underground community. We need to remain united as a community and promote cannabis as a genus.”
Agriculture and a slight understanding of how pollination occurs is all that is needed to understand (and resolve) this issue. It’s a real issue, of course. The concern from both sides is substantial.
Should it be a long, drawn-out process to figure out the best course of action? No.
Cross-pollination of hemp primarily occurs by way of the wind. On average, pollen can travel about 100 yards. There are other ways that pollen can be transported as well. Bees can pollinate hemp and bees usually stay within a 3-mile radius of the hive. There are other possibilities in the case of pollination however, they have many determining factors (most of which are rare and/or unlikely) and should not be used in the equation of figuring out this issue.
One thing that stands out in all of this and would certainly put all of this to rest is this – If marijuana is being grown for medicinal, recreational, or spiritual purposes- Then hemp that is being farmed and cultivated for CBD, textiles, paper, paints, varnishes, bio-mass, etc needs to be cultivated at a safe distance so that neither crop will be disturbed of its natural course of action.
I say 5 miles. A 5 mile distance between crops would eliminate most cross-pollination fears. It’s at least worth a shot to test the content of CBD and THC after a few harvests.
Marijuana and hemp are gifts to mankind. They are both extremely beneficial to us and to the planet as a whole. They are best friends. They may not be able to coexist in the same field to produce to their truest potential but, we can coexist with them. And we should.
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