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!!