Plant Board Gets Approval to Promulgate Hemp Rules & Regulations

The Governor of Arkansas has approved the language of the industrial hemp rules and regulations, allowing the Arkansas State Plant Board to move forward with the promulgation process.

Read the latest version of the Rules and Regulations.

Here is an update on the industrial hemp program’s status as of May 17th:

  1. After the last public meeting on January 4th, the rules and regulations draft was sent to the Industrial Hemp Committee on January 30th. After the committee’s approval, it was presented to the full board at the March Quarterly Meeting. From there it was sent to the governor’s staff for approval.
  2. On the week of May 15th, the Governor approved the rules and regulations and permitted the plant board to move forward with the rule promulgation process.
  3. After the Governor’s approval, a 30 day public comment period takes place, in which anyone can send their questions and/or concerns about the rules and regulations to the plant board for consideration.
  4. The public comments will be presented at the full board’s next quarterly meeting, which is set to take place at 10 AM on June 21st at the State Plant Board’s office in Little Rock. The board will be able to adopt the rule, deny, or ask for further study.
  5. Once the rules are approved by the full board, they must be approved by the Legislative Council. This council does not meet in July, so their approval may not take place until August. If the council approves, the program’s rules will become effective 10 days after it is filed with the Secretary of State.
  6. After the rule becomes in effect, the plant board can then begin reviewing proposals and establishing the protocols for licensing program participants.

Given the chain of events that still have to happen in order for the program to get started, there is still no guarantee that industrial hemp research projects will be executed by the end of the 2018 growing season.

We are, however, grateful that the program has jumped yet another hurdle and has taken a step closer to making industrial hemp in Arkansas a reality.

Please review the latest version of the Rules and Regulations and send your comments to the Arkansas State Plant Board.

 

Industry Update 2/15/2018

As the Hemp Association, it is our duty to provide information about the industry to the public. The information in the previous post came from multiple sources and we are continuing to look into the legitimacy and accuracy of that information as we move forward.
 
At this time, the Governor is waiting to sign off on the rules and regulations until he understands the implications and impact that the industrial hemp program will have on Arkansas’ economy.
The questions are appropriate in a due diligence process. As we are waiting to move forward, we can be productive in gathering as much information about the hemp industry from as many individuals as possible. The only way this program will take off this year is by showing that there is major support from the people of Arkansas.
 
These are the four questions that we need answers to:
1) Check with DEA and see if any part of our rules are in conflict with federal law and would be a potential point of concern.
2) Get some information from industry experts/other states that can give us an estimated economic impact for Arkansas if the program is implemented.
3) See what the difference in impact would be if the research program was created but not the commercial production program.
4) What is the absolute latest date the seeds could be planted for a viable crop this year?
 
By answering these questions, we can provide the necessary information to our Governor and his staff and show that there is an urgency to get this program up and running in 2018.
 
Addressing if the state’s regulations interfere with DEA regulations is a difficult task. The issue is thorny with much of the debate having a focus on state’s rights. Various interpretations of the laws surrounding seed transfer further obfuscates the matter.
 
In addition, the Arkansas State Plant Board is in a difficult position to untangle and navigate this murky legal ground with strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Looking back, you will recall the ASPB has had a very challenging year, specifically with taking on the role of mitigating the issues surrounding Dicamba over the summer. This has had significant impact on forward progress developing completely new hemp regulations with no new ASPB staffing during the same timeframe and has resulted in a time crunch for the implementation of the industrial hemp program.
 
The window of opportunity to plant seeds and yield a successful crop is narrowing. Arkansas does not need to wait another year to begin this program! There are several people across Arkansas that want to plant, cultivate and produce commercial hemp products. The state wants to insure criminals don’t abuse this program to produce illegal psychoactive crops for the black market. This is really what the issues are largely about.
 
We can assure you that the Arkansas Hemp Association and all of the associated parties are doing everything we can to move this program forward and get started this year.
 
We want to thank everyone for being supportive of hemp and seeing the true value of this industry for the state! We also want to thank the State Plant Board for moving as quickly as they could over the past several months to get this program started.
 
We will continue to provide information about the progress being made over the coming weeks! Stay tuned!!

Industry Update January 6th, 2018

Great Meeting on Regulations

We would like to thank everyone who attended the meeting on January 4th to discuss the rules and regulations with the plant board. We would also like to thank everyone who showed interest and support on Facebook and other platforms.

We were very impressed with the plant board’s willingness to cooperate and hear out each and every concern. We are confident that the next draft of the regulations will be much more sensible and permit a greater extent of research to be done in 2018.

The Next Steps

The plant board is now working on incorporating the suggested edits from the meeting into the next draft of the regulations. From there, a public hearing will be held to discuss this next draft.

Once agreed upon, the rules will be sent to the Industrial Hemp Committee Board to be finalized and promulgated.

Legislative approval will be required in order to successfully implement the regulations.

Once this is done, a policy guide that further details the regulations will be written and released.

The plant board has informed us that they aim to start accepting applications sometime between late March to mid April.

Interested in Researching Hemp in 2018?

If you are interested in getting into the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program for the coming season, you should start putting together your research proposal.

Remember that the purpose of the program is to add knowledge about industrial hemp that can be used to further develop the industry in the future. For more information on what is known about hemp in the scientific literature, see our hemp research section.

 

Thanks again for everyone who has shown support for our group. Without you, the hemp industry in Arkansas would not exist! We can’t wait to see what all 2018 brings.

Best of luck!

-AHA

Public Hearing on Regulations January 4th, 2018

The Arkansas State Plant Board has announced that they will be holding the public hearing to discuss the draft of the rules and regulations on January 4th at 1PM at the plant board office.

Read the draft of the regulations here.

It is CRITICAL that anyone who is interested or supports hemp in Arkansas comes to this meeting and voices their opinion about what needs to be changed in the proposed regulations.

Some of the policies, if kept, will be detrimental to the success of the 2018 program.

To receive a copy of my concerns and proposed edits, email [email protected]

 

Thanks, and have a great new year!

 

-AHA

Draft of Rules & Regulations Released 12/9/17

The Arkansas State Plant Board has issued its first draft of the 2018 Rules & Regulations. Read this document here.

These regulations will be open for discussion to all interested parties sometime in the first few weeks of January. We will announce the date and time of this discussion once we are informed.

We encourage everyone to read these policies and think of things that should be edited in order to make the program the most successful it can be for 2018. These proposed changes can then be discussed with the Plant Board at the hearing.

Upon the synthesis of the edits, a final draft of the regulations will be presented at the 2018 Quarterly Meeting in March 2018 and will be open for public comment. Research applications and licenses will then be issued for the 2018 growing season.

After 80 years of prohibition, this is Arkansas’ chance to have our first shot at growing hemp again. Let’s make it count.

 

-AHA

AHA at the Ark-La-Tex Cannabis Business Expo

We had a wonderful time discussing hemp and all of its potential at the Ark-La-Tex Cannabis Expo in Little Rock, AR this past week.

We want to give a huge thank you to Eric Norton for putting on the event, as well as the venue and all of the sponsors including Imperious Expo + Directory, Illegally Healed, Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association, and Ounce Magazine.

The Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act

The Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act (Act 981) was drafted by Nicholas Dial, Jeremy Fisher, Gary Fults, and Melissa Fults and passed in the spring of 2017. The bill was sponsored by Representative David Hillman and Senator John Cooper. The bill passed through both the Senate and the House of Representatives nearly unanimously, with only one vote against by Representative Andy Mayberry. The bill was not signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson, but was enacted into Arkansas law following the 2017 regular session.

Section 7606 of former President Barack Obama’s 2014 farm bill permits the cultivation of industrial hemp under state regulated research pilot programs. Arkansas Act 981 establishes a research pilot program for the state to be overseen and regulated by the Arkansas Plant Board in conjunction with the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness.

Act 981 does not restrict research to universities only, but permits participation by farmers, processors, and market researchers. Research opportunities include, but are not limited to, development of cloth, cordage, fiber, food, fuel, paint, paper, particle board, plastics, seed, seed meal, and seed oil for consumption.

Industry Update November 27th 2017

We are very excited to start planning for the 2018 growing season!

As we move forward with beginning the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. The Arkansas State Plant Board will be issuing their draft of the Rules and Regulations for the 2018 season sometime in the near future – this date has yet to be announced, but will be posted here upon its release. The Rules and Regulations will be open to public comment and will discussed at a public hearing.
  2. Remember that the Arkansas Industrial Hemp Act sets up a research pilot program (to read the full bill, see the Policy section on this website).  Therefor, anyone wanting to participate in the program must take a research based approach and answer some question(s) that further the knowledge about industrial hemp (agronomy, processing, market, consumer demand, etc…). For more details on what is going on in the hemp research realm, see the Science section of this website.
  3. Collaboration is the only way that this industry will be successful upon launching. If you are wanting to get involved in the hemp industry, make sure you are collaborating with other people in the planning process. Who will provide certified hemp seeds? Who will process raw materials? How will products reach the market? Having the answers to these questions will increase your chance of being involved with the 2018 season.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions/concerns (see the Contact Us) section of the website.

 

Happy Planning!

-AHA

The AHA

What is the Arkansas Hemp Association?

The Arkansas Hemp Association (AHA) is a 501 (c) (6) membership-based trade organization that represents the hemp industry in Arkansas and all of its participants. Our mission is to promote and encourage the growth of the state’s industry through research, development, education, and policy. We are dedicated to protecting the environment, creating new economic opportunities, and putting power back into the hands of American farmers. Our goal is to exist as a resource for farmers, processors, businesses, and legislatures to catalyze and facilitate the emergence of a new industry in Arkansas by providing information and helping to connect industry players with one another.

Agriculture is a huge part of Arkansas’ economy, with 97% of their 49,346 farms being family owned. Industrial hemp is a crop that could easily be incorporated into planting rotations to add diversity and provide new opportunities for farmers. As the market demand for hemp products continues to increase year after year, we are devoted to helping people become a part of the new thriving industry.