Losing the Buzz

pot_leafThis summer, Oregon pot farmers will be able to relax knowing that their delicate female buds will be safe from potential cross-contamination. Thanks to Peter Buckley’s House Bill 2668, created to enforce guidelines on the harvest of cannabis and its close relative, hemp, all hemp grow sites around Oregon will be controlled to avoid traveling male hemp spores which could cross-pollinate with nearby weed plants and lower their valuable THC content.

Because of HB 2668’s thinly disguised favor of marijuana over hemp, 13 lone hemp farmers—12 in Southern Oregon and one in the Willamette Valley—may be at risk of losing their crops. The conflict between pot planters and hemp farmers is complex, and regulations concerning the harvest of industrial hemp are even more complicated, especially when state rules are placed in contrast to federal law.

Earlier this year, Oregon hemp licensees were given special permission to grow hemp due to the medicinal benefits of CBD oil, a compound that can be cultivated from both hemp and pot. HB 2668 would designate a few of the hemp-growing sites for special research by OSU biology students, but some farmers worry that the bill would leave the rest of the hemp farms at risk for being plowed into the ground.

Hemp growers who’ll have to trash their buzz-free gardens will be compensated for the several thousand dollars each invested into the growing season, but will not be paid back for the local and national demand for CBD oil—a demand that could earn each hemp crop hundreds of thousands of dollars more.

By Kiki Genoa