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StaffNovember 30, 2020
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8min00

Editors Note: This is a guest post.

It is perfectly fine not to know where to start when it comes to buying CBD products online. As CBD has recently gained popularity across the globe, most people aren’t quite aware of the market yet. Over the past decade, many new companies and brands have come into existence that manufactures and sell CBD products and is managing to grow exponentially. 

Today, a simple search on the internet will expose you to hundreds of brands that sell CBD products. If you are a first-time buyer, it is natural for you to find it challenging to locate a trustworthy company to source your CBD products. 

In order to make the search easier for you, we are going to list the top brands in the market where you can expect to find quality CBD products that offer therapeutic benefits, suiting your individual needs. 

 

  1. Green Garden Gold 

 

Green Garden Gold is a company that was founded in 2014. Headquartered in Texas, the company sources its raw materials from Colorado. The brand specializes in hemp oil extracts in the form of oral drops and tinctures, but you can also find options in CBD edibles, isolates, pain creams, and capsules. Additionally, the company is also famous for products that target weight loss, beauty, skincare, and pets. 

With GMP certification, you can expect the products to be of top-quality. Even after ordering your product, you will be able to return it within 30 days with a full refund. 

 

  1. Endoca CBD 

 

Specializing in hemp oil extracts, Endoca CBD is a reputed company that’s headquartered in Europe. However, the satellite and facilities offices are located in the United States. Established in 2006, the company sources its raw materials from Scandinavia. 

Their journey started with manufacturing hemp oil drops, but they also manufacture a variety of CBD products, ranging from skin balms, crystals capsules, chewing gums, creams to capsules. 

 

  1. Green Gorilla 

 

Green Gorilla came into existence in the year 2013, when the company sourced its raw materials from Denmark. Recently, they have expanded and growing their own hemp plants. 

Though specializing in pure CBD oil, you can expect to find a plethora of options on CBD topicals and whole plan CBD oils. Additionally, some of the products Green Gorilla produces are also meant for horse and pet care. 

With every batch the company produces, a Certificate of Analysis will be posted on the website. It allows users and buyers to refer to them whenever they want to verify the quality of the CBD products online. 

 

  1. Bluebird Botanicals 

 

If you are looking for one of the top CBD brands of today, Bluebird Botanicals will be there on the list. Awarded as #1 Hemp CBD Company in 2016, you can expect the quality of products and services to be the best. 

The company was founded in 2012, with its headquarters in Colorado. The brand specializes in Hemp and CBD Concentrated Extracts. You will find the products in two strength levels – 1500 mg and 25 mg. Additionally, the brand also produces hemp capsules, isolates, vaporizers, and CBD for pets. 

 

  1. Plus CBD Oil 

 

If you are looking for a company specializing in CBD oil sprays and drops, this European-certified brand is the one for you. Plus CBD oil was launched in 2014, which primarily focuses on CBD capsules, sprays, and drops. With a strength level that ranges from 1 mg to 3 mg, these products are known to be perfect for beginners. 

Over the years, the company also started manufacturing CBD soft gels, balms, applicators, gummies, etc. All of these products come in higher strength levels and potencies. 

The company currently has two headquarters—one in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the other in San Diego, California. 

 

  1. Green Roads CBD 

 

In the last two decades, Green Roads is supplying CBD products and ruling over the online market. After sourcing their raw materials from Colorado, the brand creates unique formulae for every product. Headquartered in Florida, the company offers a supply of various CBD products, such as oils, edibles, syrups, capsules, terpenes, creams, concentrates, and daily doses. 

 

  1. Hempworx 

 

When it comes to the youngest CBD brands in the market, Hempworx is one on the top portion of the list. Though it is one of the youngest names, the company has become quite successful in supplying awesome CBD products. 

Despite specializing in CBD Hemp Oil Herbal Drops, the company offers several other products that come in the form of CBD pet treats, icy pain creams, collagen creams, and anti-aging creams. 

 

  1. Diamond CBD 

 

The company made a formal appearance in 2016 and managed to spread love in the community in a very short span. It has a significant presence on both online and media platforms, which is the reason why you will see many renowned personalities and celebrities using their products. 

With a wide range of options in CBD products, you can expect to find CBD drinks, vape oils, edibles, creams, and dabs at their online portal. 

 

Closing Thoughts 

 

Though many other companies have a good reputation in manufacturing and selling CBD products, these are the eight brands that topped our list. As a beginner, you will not be disappointed if you shop from their portals to get the most out of CBD.  

 


StaffOctober 28, 2020
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6min00

JRA Architects, Inc. is proud to announce the first successful LEED Platinum certification for a warehouse and hemp facility, presented by the U.S. Green Building Council to Ecofibre’s state of the art hemp processing facility in Georgetown, Ky. More remarkably, an exacting design, build and certification process that would normally take upwards of three years was completed in just 18 months, despite some pandemic-related delays in material deliveries.

“This facility breaks new ground in so many respects, but it’s proof that modern design principles, strong teamwork and a willingness to innovate will always carry the day,” said Marty Merkel, Associate of JRA Architects. “It takes a great team to complete a project like this ahead of schedule, in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Australia-based Ecofibre’s 50,000 square foot facility is the first of its kind in Kentucky, a state that has warmly embraced hemp production and processing on the heels of its nationwide approval in the 2018 farm bill.

“Kentucky has exceeded our expectations in every respect, from governmental support for economic development to professional experts like JRA and their teammates who guided us through the entire process,” said Eric Wang, CEO of Ecofibre. “This LEED Platinum facility is a great objective affirmation of our company’s desire to do things the right way economically and environmentally every time.”

According to Ralph Whitley, Principal Engineer at Shrout Tate Wilson, Ecofibre prioritized LEED and energy efficiency from the team’s first official conversation in February 2019.

“From day one, Eric was talking about the importance of energy efficiency and sustainability, applying it to every decision, ranging from the selection of JRA’s proposed design to the discussion of adopting solar power to offset the load from hemp-specific needs like clean rooms,” said Whitley. “Ecofibre’s enthusiasm for LEED streamlined the decision-making process and allowed us to leverage our energy modeling capabilities effectively and efficiently.”

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building certification system providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built sustainably with low environmental impact. In pursuit of that certification, the Ecofibre facility’s design incorporates a wide array of resource-efficient technologies, ranging from solar panels and nearly 70 light-channeling solar tubes to geothermal and water capture for flushing in the bathrooms. A rigorous building commissioning process led by Paladin, Inc. served to further improve efficiency.

“The process of completing any LEED certification is incredibly complex and preparing a building owner to reap its benefits over time requires precise documentation and operating policies,” said Candice Rogers, president of Lexington-based Paladin, Inc. “Done right, LEED becomes a lifestyle of its own, with the upsides of sustainability enjoyed for the long haul.”

The building also won points on the USGBC’s detailed checklist by incorporating into its various finishes an array of fabrics grown, processed and woven on the premises.

“While the LEED criteria are rooted in environmental concerns, they ultimately have a great impact on a company’s bottom line,” concluded Marty Merkel of JRA. “This remarkable project may be the first hemp facility to clear the LEED Platinum hurdle in the U.S., but I’m very confident it won’t be the last.”


StaffOctober 21, 2020
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5min01

Editors Note: This is a guest post.

Humans and hemp have a long history of harmonious cultivation, with hemp often cited as the first plant to be used as a textile. This usage, along with countless others that include everything from beauty products to medicine, creates a historical narrative that dates the first use of hemp as cloth back to around 8,000 BC and the modern-day area of Iraq and Iran – previously known as Mesopotamia. 

Hemp is said to have arrived in Europe from China in approximately 1,200 BC, before spreading widely throughout the ancient world in various employments, many of which continue to our present day.

A modern-day staple

Cut to today and hemp is used for a range of commercial and industrial products that include a wide range of textiles, shoes, food, paper, rope, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. Elsewhere, CBD is being extracted from the plant to produce high-quality oils and other products for individual consumption. 

The United States has nearly a 100-year history of legalizing the use of marijuana, with the first Marijuana Tax Act coming into effect in 1937. 

Since then, the growing market for marijuana products has given rise to a whole industry of hemp farms across the USA. Cope CBD, a high-CBD hemp farm in Colorado, is just one example of a hemp farm that product manufacturers can purchase industry quality CBD from and create their private brands. 

Is hemp environmentally friendly?

With hemp continuing to be in high demand, questions surrounding its sustainability as a pioneering crop are raised. Yet, thankfully, hemp stands up to the test. 

In comparison with cotton, which contributes to around 50% of the world’s pesticides and herbicides use, hemp needs no additional protection and requires a much more moderate use of fertilizer.

Hemp is not only gentle on the earth, but lives in accord with it, returning an estimated 60% – 70% of the nutrients it takes back to the soil. The plant is also frost resistant, making it perfect for growing in all 50 USA states and a conscientious choice for product makers. 

In comparison with other crops, one acre of Hemp produces as much fiber as two to three acres of cotton annually. This valuable reduction in space makes hemp a cost-effective alternative to its textile cousin, cotton, as well as being environmentally friendlier since it uses less water as well. Hemp uses roughly 50% less water than its cotton counterpart and produces up to double the amount of fiber than the same amount of cotton. 

A crop for a brighter future 

With such benefits in mind, hemp looks set to become mainstream as consumer pressure continues to see manufacturers move towards more sustainable and greener options. From an environmental and economic perspective, hemp appears a clear winner for a more ethical choice. 


Tee CorleySeptember 10, 2020
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5min00

On August 20th, 2020, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) proposed new rules for hemp and CBD to ensure they are fully compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill.

The Farm Bill legalized commercial cultivation and sale of hemp, but that left the DEA in a grey area. While the DEA says they’ve been in compliance with the new rules since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, these new rules clarify what the DEA feels is within their jurisdiction.

The new rules will:

  • Revise the definition of THC and cannabis extracts under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to exclude legal hemp and its family of products
  • Remove CBD-based drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from Schedule V, the federal list of controlled substances
  • Remove restrictions on importing and exporting legal hemp and its derivatives

Legal hemp is defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Hemp and CBD have recently revolutionized the health and wellness industry, and the FDA-appoved hemp-based anti-seizure medication Epidiolex has laid the groundwork for further study on the health benefits of cannabinoids.

So, what do these new rules mean for the global hemp market? We sat down with Brandon Beatty, the longest-standing CEO of a CBD company at Bluebird Botanicals who also sits on the Board of the US Hemp Roundtable, to get some clarification.

How will the DEA’s new rules affect the global hemp market?

Beatty points to the third rule, the removal of restrictions on importing and exporting legal hemp, as the main factor to consider.

This rule provides clear guidance around the importation and exportation of legal hemp, which Beatty hopes will open the borders to a more global market.

“I believe various nations look to the USA when it comes to policies like this,” he explains. “Hopefully, it would set a positive precedent.”

Over the next few years, Beatty believes that the global hemp industry could double or triple in worth if other nations decide to play ball.

Are there negative implications written in the proposed rules?

Beatty points out that there is one negative effect of the new rules that needs to be sorted out. The DEA is suggesting a new definition of the term “marihuana extract” that could affect the legality of CBD extraction.

“During the manufacturing process,” explains Beatty, “THC in hemp extracts often temporarily exceeds .3%, which was common knowledge and accounted for by Congress when stating that the .3% THC amount is to be calculated on a dry weight basis.”

Beatty explains that dry weights are currently calculated with the starting and finishing materials, not during intermediary extraction steps. Should this definition be accepted, the results could be devastating for the CBD-hemp industry.

Why the DEA and not Congress?

It’s a fair question. If hemp and CBD are no longer controlled substances, then why is the DEA still involved?

“I don’t think the DEA should be the ones providing this import/export guidance as Congress intended to remove the DEA from the hemp conversation,” Beatty opines.

That’s why Beatty does not blieve these new rules will influence the conversation of marijuana legalization. “That’s up to Congress, not the DEA.”


Tee CorleySeptember 2, 2020
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6min00

Imagine a world where farmers optimize every resource—water, floor space, electricity—and still manage to grow heavy yields of high quality, potent cannabis.

Sounds pretty utopian—quite the opposite of the world we see today.

Or is it?

Advanced technology is lowering your carbon footprint, and its name is GrowEx.

GrowEx is a sustainable and environmentally-friendly indoor growing facility that rises above “earth-loving” marketing. Chris Trevelle, Co-founder and Managing Director of GrowEx, sat down with us to parse out the impressively detailed science behind elite sustainability in the cannabis industry.

Happy Hemp, Happy Planet

GrowEx was founded on the notion that advanced horticultural technology and sustainability should work synergistically. But GrowEx wasn’t the first to achieve this goal.

One of only 5 or 6 similar companies in the world, Storex was Trevelle’s initial venture into growing and preserving biomass, or plant matter. Using the same sustainable technology, Trevelle has spent 20 years with Storex ensuring pests and mold steered clear of vegetables and fruit.

How?

Like Storex, GrowEx uses two key technologies to lower its carbon footprint while increasing the quality of cannabis: True Vertical farming and HVAC-tight, climate-controlled atmosphere facilities.

Trevelle tells us that his patented technologies ensure a “perfect day, each day” for every plant.

A Perfect Day, Each Day

A perfect day starts in a specially designed building that prevents any air leaks from entering the grow room.

Completely climate-controlled for conditions that cannabis plants love, these happy hemp plants experience no inclement weather, no varying temperatures or degrees of humidity, and no room for pests, mold or mildew to infiltrate.

Trevelle explains, “Air control is measured in parts per million or parts per billion, making it very precise.”

His gas-tight building pairs nicely with his vertical growing system. While there are many types of vertical systems, Trevelle refers to his as “True Vertical.”

True Vertical growing systems, he elaborates, maximize the canopy so every plant absorbs maximum photons. Moreover, they take up only as much space as they need as they extend up walls, using optimal space.

The Results Are In

This sounds like a great way to grow tons of bud in a small facility, but how is it sustainable?

Trevelle gives us the facts and figures. His facility uses:

  • 20X less land than traditional farmers
  • 20X less water than competing cannabis crops
  • 10X less labor
  • 50% less energy

GrowEx, and the planet, also receive carbon savings as cannabis is free from contamination and pests. This means no harmful pesticides and no costly loss of product during growth.

Trevelle continues to improve his system, taking every detail into account. Here’s the highlights reel of how he does it:

 

  • Lighting: GrowEx uses 20 watts per square foot, soon to be reduced to 10 watts. Other growers tend to use around 62 watts per square foot.
  • Irrigation: GrowEx recaptures humidity to irrigate plants. Plants only absorb 3% of water, meaning other growers waste 97% of water.
  • HVAC: Because GrowEx builds air-tight facilities, their custom-built Chillex HVAC system works incredibly efficiently, with a thermal efficiency of R30.
  • Labor: To produce 100kg of cannabis per week, GrowEx only needs 10 employees. The result is a reduced cost to the manufacturer and end-consumer and fewer people on the road.

 

Growing into the U.S.

Currently located in Montreal, Canada, GrowEx expects to expand into the U.S. by 2021.

“We’re still looking for an investment partner in the U.S.” says Trevelle. “We are in talks with several groups and hope to make a final decision by the end of the year and start building a new Growex facility in 2021.” 


StaffAugust 18, 2020
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3min00
The Hemp Benchmark recently released its July 2020 report reviewing wholesale prices for the hemp industry. The group found that price assessments in recent months have shown stabilizing rates for numerous wholesale products that are part of the hemp-CBD supply chain. “For example, from April through this month the aggregate price for CBD Biomass and wholesale prices for smokable bulk CBD Flower have both steadied. While the downward trend in CBD product prices has largely subsided in recent months, that for CBG biomass and extracted forms of the cannabinoid has continued.”

Crop Declines

Hemp Benchmarks also found that the 2020’s licensed acreage declined by over 30% from last year, while indoor and greenhouse square footage registered for hemp cultivation is down by roughly 64% year-over-year. “These numbers bear out what we have reported earlier this year, that many farmers are taking a more conservative approach to cultivation, if not exiting the sector entirely. The just over 18,000 cultivation licenses that we have counted nationwide to this point in 2020 represents about an 8% decline compared to the over 19,500 recorded in 2019. This indicates that most growers registered smaller outdoor plots or indoor / greenhouse sites.”
The report also said that overall, the reduction in licensed acreage, entrance of a significant amount of new farmers, tough market conditions, and difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that total U.S. hemp production for 2020 could decline substantially year-over-year, particularly in regard to how much CBD or other cannabinoid-rich biomass is generated.
“In our June report, we analyzed data on costs to transport hemp and hemp products. We also pointed out that such costs can change based on a variety of factors. This month, hemp transportation costs were on the rise in July due to fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Jon Wilcox, co-founder of hemp transportation company Fide Freight, attributes the rise in shipping costs to states across the country reopening after coronavirus-motivated shutdown orders. He stated, “It is assumed that shippers are trying to make up for lost time and … make as much money as possible due to short-term uncertainty.”
Additionally, U.S. ports are overloaded with goods that shippers are trying to move. This has resulted in bidding wars for trucks.

StaffJuly 22, 2020
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3min00

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a measure from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, as part of an amendment package to the National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House late Monday on a bipartisan vote of 336-71.

The amendment says, “The Secretary of Defense may not prohibit, on the basis of a product containing hemp or any ingredient derived from hemp, the possession, use, or consumption of such product by a member of the Armed Forces” as long as the ingredients meet the federal definition of hemp.

Active service members had been denied the use of products made from hemp, including CBD, regardless of the product’s THC concentration, according to a February memo from the U.S. Department of Defense. the DOD said this was due to the inability of drug testing to differentiate between hemp-derived CBD products and THC marijuana products, which are federally illegal.

“If there are any Americans who most deserve access to wellness products such as CBD, it’s our brave, selfless troops,” the U.S. Hemp Roundtable said in a statement. “Let’s make sure that the men and women who risk their lives for our freedoms have the freedom to use quality, legal hemp products.”

Gabbard is a military veteran and a hemp advocate in Congress. In July 2019, she introduced the Hemp for Victory Act, which called for more research into the applications of hemp. It was referred to the subcommittee on health. That proposed bill was inspired by a World War II-era government film that encouraged farmers to grow hemp for the war effort.

Law360 gives Gabbard an A+ rating when it comes to cannabis. The site wrote, ” Since assuming office in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, Gabbard has introduced, signed and voted for numerous bills related to marijuana. In 2017, Gabbard co-sponsored the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, a bipartisan bill which, if passed, would remove marijuana from the controlled substances list. The following year, Gabbard introduced the Marijuana Data Collection Act, a bill that would direct the U.S. Department of Justice to research the effects of marijuana legalization. Gabbard hoped that this research to “dispel myths and stigma” surrounding marijuana.

This year, Gabbard has co-sponsored The Marijuana Justice Act, which would deschedule marijuana if passed, and the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, which would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to research the therapeutic benefits of marijuana.


StaffJuly 7, 2020
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3min00

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued new guidance for banking requirements for hemp-related business customers. Fin CEN said that the clarification was intended to enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, hemp-related businesses in compliance with federal law. The new guidance supplements the December issued rules.

Nothing To See Here

Basically, the banks are to treat hemp businesses like any other since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growing of industrial hemp. Financial institutions are told to conduct customer due diligence (CDD) for all customers, including hemp-related businesses. Financial institutions should obtain basic identifying information about hemp-related businesses through the application of the financial institutions’ customer identification programs and risk-based CDD processes, including beneficial ownership
collection and verification, as they would for all customers. Financial institutions must also establish appropriate risk-based procedures for conducting ongoing CDD.

The banks are no longer required to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) on customers solely because they are engaged in the
growth or cultivation of hemp in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. If the business is co-mingled with regular marijuana, then the company has to keep them separate and the banks would still need to file a SARS report on the marijuana business.

For customers who are hemp growers, financial institutions may confirm the hemp grower’s compliance with state, tribal government, or the USDA licensing requirements, as applicable, by either obtaining (1) a written attestation by the hemp grower that they are validly licensed, or (2) a copy of such license. The extent to which a financial institution will seek additional information beyond the steps outlined above will depend on the financial institution’s assessment of the level of risk posed by each customer.

Additional information might include crop inspection or testing reports, license renewals, updated attestations from the business, or correspondence with the state, tribal government, or USDA. In order to identify the risks posed, financial institutions must understand the nature and purpose of customer relationships for the purpose of developing a customer risk profile, and conduct
ongoing monitoring to identify and report suspicious transactions, including, on a risk basis, to maintain and update customer information.

As with any customer, FinCEN expects financial institutions to tailor their BSA/AML programs to reflect the risks associated with
the customer’s particular risk profile and file reports required under the BSA.

Any cash transactions over $10,000 still have to be reported as usual.


StaffJune 26, 2020
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29min00

n August 2019, the NCUA issued NCUA Regulatory Alert, 19-RA-02, Serving Hemp Businesses, to provide interim guidance related to the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). This letter’s purpose is to provide additional information for credit unions that are serving, or considering serving, legal hemp-related businesses, as they, too, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like 19-RA-02, this letter is advisory and provides no new expectations or requirements for credit unions.

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a national regulatory framework for hemp production in the United States. In response, USDA established the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program through an interim final rule,1 which outlines provisions for the USDA to approve plans submitted by states and Native American tribes for the domestic production of hemp, and outlines minimum requirements that all hemp producers must meet, including:

  • licensing requirements;
  • maintaining information on the land on which hemp is produced;
  • procedures for testing delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration levels;
  • procedures for disposing of non-compliant plants;
  • compliance provisions, and
  • procedures for how to handle violations of the production requirements.

While USDA must approve state or tribal plans before they are implemented, the interim final rule does not preempt or limit any law of a state or Native American tribe that regulates the production of hemp and is more stringent than the 2018 Farm Bill. The rule also establishes a federal plan to license, monitor, and regulate hemp production in states or territories of Native American tribes that do not prohibit hemp production and do not have their own USDA-approved plan.

It is important that credit unions stay current with the federal, state and Native American tribal laws and regulations that apply to any hemp-related businesses they serve. The information in this letter is not an interpretation of the USDA’s interim final rule or other applicable federal or state laws, and does not provide definitive guidance related to the various legal requirements applicable to credit unions that want to provide financial services to hemp-related businesses. The inclusion or exclusion of various matters does not signify their importance.

If you have legal questions about a hemp-related business, we encourage you to consult qualified counsel and the appropriate federal and state authorities. To stay current on the latest from the USDA, you can subscribe to the USDA mailing list for updates.

The following are responses to some frequently asked questions.

  1. What is the status of the USDA’s interim final rule on hemp production?On October 31, 2019, the USDA issued its interim final rule on hemp production and it went into effect immediately. In the preamble to the interim final rule, the USDA stated that it will publish a final rule within two years.2

    A portion of the USDA’s website is dedicated to hemp-related resources. The USDA also has a webpage dedicated to rulemaking documents, including the interim rule and a legal opinion on hemp production and transportation authorities.

  2. Does the interim rule mean that hemp can be legally produced in every state?No. The 2018 Farm Bill did not preempt state or tribal laws regarding the production of hemp that are more stringent than federal law. Further, hemp may be produced only under the 2018 Farm Bill with a valid USDA-issued license or under a USDA-approved state or tribal plan.

    Besides production authorized by licenses granted under the 2018 Farm Bill for the 2020 growing season, hemp may also be produced pursuant to research and development initiatives authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). This authority expires one year after the effective date of the USDA interim final rule (November 1, 2020). A number of states have opted to permit hemp production under the 2014 Farm Bill authorities for the 2020 growing season.

  3. How can I determine if a state or Native American tribe has submitted a hemp production plan to the USDA for approval?The USDA provides detailed information on the status of state and tribal hemp production plans submitted for approval, including notes about plans that are in development, states and Native American tribes that plan to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill for the 2020 growing season, and a list of approved plans. Copies of approved plans can be downloaded from the USDA site.3
  4. What if the state or tribal territory we serve has not had a hemp production plan approved by the USDA?A hemp producer that does not have a license pursuant to a USDA state or tribe approved plan has two options to receive authorization to produce hemp.
    1. Until November 1, 2020, states may allow hemp production under the research and development initiatives permitted by the 2014 Farm Bill.
    2. Hemp producers in states and tribal territories that do not prohibit hemp and that do not intend to develop and submit a plan to the USDA can also apply for a hemp production license under the USDA’s hemp production program.4
  5. Who is responsible for ensuring that hemp producers comply with a state, Native American tribe, or USDA-approved hemp production plan?According to USDA, for the states and tribal territories with approved plans, the state and tribal governments will be responsible for ensuring that hemp producers abide by the approved plans regulating hemp production. Producers licensed by USDA in states and tribal areas without a USDA-approved production plan will be subject to regulation and licensure by the USDA (provided the state or tribal government has not prohibited hemp production) and may also be subject to additional, stricter state regulatory restrictions around production that are not otherwise codified in a USDA-approved plan.

    In developing the compliance requirements of state and tribal plans, USDA recognized that there may be significant differences in how states and Native American tribes administer their respective hemp programs. Accordingly, as long as the requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill are met (at a minimum), states and Native American tribes are free to determine if a licensee under their applicable plan has taken reasonable steps to comply with plan requirements. As noted previously, USDA will be regulating and overseeing hemp producers licensed by the USDA in states and tribal areas without a USDA-approved state or tribal production plan.

  6. Aside from hemp production, does the USDA interim final rule cover other hemp-related businesses such as manufacturing, processing, distribution, shipping, and retail?No. The USDA rule only sets forth the requirements for engaging in hemp production as authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill. While the USDA notes that the rule “…will also provide sorely needed guidance to the many stakeholders whose coordinated efforts are critical to the success of the domestic hemp production economy…” there is no uniform state or federal system of regulations, plans, or licenses that applies to other hemp-related businesses at this time.

    While states do impose requirements on certain other types of hemp-related businesses, absent a uniform system, credit unions must be aware of the rules that apply in the individual states or tribal territories in which they serve other hemp-related businesses.

    In addition, as noted in NCUA’s August 2019 Regulatory Alert, other hemp-related businesses may now, or in the future, be subject to other federal and state laws and regulations that govern the production, distribution, sale, and use of hemp products. In particular, the 2018 Farm Bill did not affect or modify the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Public Health Service Act. It also did not affect or modify the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services or the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to promulgate Federal regulations and guidelines that relate to hemp under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act or the Public Health Service Act. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published substantial resources addressing hemp.

  7. Where can I learn more about FDA requirements applicable to cannabis-derived products, including cannabidiol (CBD)?The FDA has noted that it is aware of the significant interest in cannabis-derived products and has published a number of resources that address cannabis and cannabis-derived products, such as CBD.

    Despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and despite the fact that certain states permit and regulate businesses that manufacture and sell cannabis-derived products, including CBD, the FDA has reaffirmed that the legality of the sale of CBD products “depends, among other things, on the intended use of the product and how it is labeled and marketed.”5 The FDA has also reiterated that “[e]ven if a CBD product meets the definition of ‘hemp’ under the 2018 Farm Bill…, it still must comply with all other applicable laws, including the FD&C Act.”6

    Further, depending on the type of CBD product at issue, the nature of claims made about CBD products by businesses (including medical claims) and whether businesses infuse CBD into food and beverages or dietary supplements will determine whether or not the subject businesses are violating the FD&C Act and other applicable federal regulations around consumer products and consumer safety.

  8. Has the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) provided any guidance related to hemp?Yes. FinCEN, along with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in consultation with the Conference of State Bank Supervisors, issued a joint statement on the provision of financial services to customers engaged in hemp-related businesses. The statement was issued “to provide clarity regarding the legal status of commercial growth and production of hemp and relevant requirements for banks under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its implementing regulations.”

    The joint statement aligns with the information the NCUA provided in its 2019 Regulatory Alert. It also confirmed that FinCEN will issue additional guidance after further reviewing the USDA interim rule.

  9. Will NCUA examinations conducted in 2020 cover hemp?In 2020, NCUA examiners will be collecting data through the examination process concerning the types of services credit unions are providing to hemp-related businesses. This data collection is intended only to help the agency better understand how it can assist credit unions serving hemp-related businesses.
  10. Does the NCUA prohibit credit unions from providing services to hemp-related businesses?No. Many credit unions have a long and successful history of providing services to the agriculture sector. Credit unions may provide the customary range of financial services for business accounts, including loans, to lawfully operating hemp-related businesses within their fields of membership. Hemp provides new opportunities for communities with an economic base involving agriculture. The NCUA encourages credit unions to thoughtfully consider whether they are able to safely and properly serve hemp-related businesses.
  11. What should a credit union board consider when evaluating whether to provide services to a hemp business?Credit unions need to be aware of the federal, state, and Native American tribal laws and regulations that apply to any hemp-related businesses they serve. Credit unions that choose to serve hemp-related businesses in their fields of membership need to understand the complexities and risks involved, and ensure they have the necessary expertise and resources to conduct this activity safely and soundly and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  12. Can a credit union provide loans to a hemp-related business?Lending to a lawfully operating hemp-related business is permissible. Any such lending credit unions engage in must be done in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations for lending (in particular, part 723, Member Business Loans; Commercial Lending, or the state equivalent).

    Credit unions must also ensure such lending is conducted safely and soundly, consistent with sound commercial lending practices. This includes appropriate underwriting standards that consider the borrower’s management ability and experience with this line of business, the financial condition of the borrower, and the borrower’s ability to meet all obligations and service the debt.

  13. What is the credit union expected to do to ensure the hemp business is operating lawfully?As with any account, credit unions need to maintain appropriate due diligence procedures for hemp-related accounts. The needed level of due diligence is a business decision credit unions must make individually and can vary depending on the product. For example, the level of due diligence needed for a large business loan would likely be higher than what is needed for a deposit received from a hemp-related business. Credit unions may want to consult with legal counsel when determining the appropriate level of due diligence.

    As part of a credit union’s overall BSA/AML compliance program, the NCUA expects each credit union to employ sufficient customer due diligence procedures to reasonably ensure that credit union member businesses producing or selling hemp-related products are compliant with applicable laws and regulations. Credit unions should verify that hemp growers possess a valid state or USDA license to grow hemp. However, credit unions are not expected to serve as the enforcement authority tasked with policing the hemp industry for illegal activity.

    The NCUA expects credit unions to remain alert to any indication an account owner is involved in any illicit or unusual activities. Credit unions must comply with BSA and AML requirements to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) for any activity that appears to involve potential money laundering or illegal or suspicious activity.

  14. Can a credit union decide not to serve hemp-related businesses?While the NCUA encourages credit unions to thoughtfully consider whether they are able to safely and properly serve lawfully operating hemp-related businesses within their fields of membership, the decision to serve any business is made by each individual credit union.
  15. Is there a list of credit unions that serve hemp-related businesses?The NCUA does not maintain a list of credit unions serving hemp-related businesses at this time.
  16. Do credit unions need to file marijuana related SARs on legally operating hemp businesses, provided the activity is not unusual for that business?No. Provided the credit union reasonably believes they are operating lawfully and the activity is not unusual for that business, marijuana-related SARs are not required to be filed for the activity associated with a hemp-related business. Credit unions must remain alert to any indication an account owner is engaging in illicit or unusual activities and should follow current FinCEN guidance for filing regular SARs when they suspect the business is engaging in illicit, suspicious or unusual activity.
  17. Where can I learn more?The USDA has published numerous resources dedicated to providing further guidance related to hemp.

    Credit unions with questions regarding state or Native American tribal laws and regulations should contact the state or Native American tribe government. The USDA has provided a resource page that contains relevant state and Native American tribe contact information.

    Credit unions with hemp-related food, drug, and cosmetic questions should contact the FDA and relevant parties within state and tribal governments.

Lawful hemp businesses provide exciting new opportunities for rural communities, and credit unions should carefully consider whether they can safely and properly serve lawfully operating hemp-related businesses within their fields of membership. To that end, and as described in this letter, credit unions must be aware of the federal, state, and Native American tribal laws and regulations that apply to any hemp-related businesses they serve, as well as the complexities and risks involved.

The NCUA encourages credit unions that are serving, or considering serving, hemp-related businesses to review all available information related to this evolving industry. As more information becomes available, the NCUA will continue to provide additional guidance.


StaffJune 23, 2020
hemp-farmer.jpg

3min00

Hemp oil producer Entoura, whose legal name is AVF CBD, LLC is buying Kentucky-based Atalo Holdings, an agriculture, and biotechnology firm specializing in research, development, and production of industrial hemp. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

“Entoura is committed to sustainable and trustworthy products that leverage the benefits of the renowned hemp plant. Bringing Atalo onboard, with its rich history of innovation in hemp, brings us closer to achieving that goal,” said Kevin Murray, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Entoura. “Atalo’s incredible legacy in hemp cultivation, innovation and advocacy is truly inspirational, and we look forward to continuing that story.”

Entoura is a vertically integrated, high-quality USDA certified organic and cGMP-certified hemp oil producer. The company was started after its founder discovered the potential for CBD and the hemp plant in assisting with his son’s autism symptoms. The team has grown to 15+ members, comprising decades of combined genetic, agronomic, processing & financial experience. The company said that team members include the Former National Cultivation Manager for Canopy Growth, an Agronomist with 38 years experience (24 years in crop production), and the Former Director of Cultivation for Kiona THC and horticulturist from Acreage Holdings.

Atalo is located in the heart of Kentucky’s hemp region and boasts a rich history in hemp cultivation and genetics, dating back to the 1800s. The company’s ability to produce farmer-focused food-grade hemp products further augments Entoura’s robust supply chain. Entoura said it plans to leverage Atalo’s existing brands and product scope to enhance its product suite and to offer private label services, including industrial hemp genetics, flower, and hemp oil extraction. Entoura plans to combine its advanced genetics and distillation capability with Atalo’s hemp seed oil for integrated and differentiated product development.

Entoura has the following processing capabilities:
• 40,000 sqft of facility space with an additional 30,000 by 2021
• 15,000 lbs of biomass/day with addition 10,000 by 2021
• CO2 Cryo Ethanol Extraction
Farming Capacity:
>1000 Acres Organic Capacity
>50,000 Acres Total Capacity

 

 



About Us

The Hemp Market Report will target news from the fast growing worlds of cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp. As a sister site to the Green Market Report, HMR will cover financial stories, but also take a look at lifestyle news as well. The Hemp Market Report will also publish sponsored content as we seek to expand our content offerings.


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