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Hemp-growing licenses now being accepted in CT

By Jack Kramer, CTNewsJunkie.com

Published 9:59 am EDT, Monday, July 8, 2019

Field of hemp. If someone plans to manufacture hemp products consumed in any way by people through a process beyond chopping or grinding, such as heating or distillation, they need to be licensed with DCP.

Field of hemp. If someone plans to manufacture hemp products consumed in any way by people through a process beyond chopping or grinding, such as heating or distillation, they need to be licensed with DCP.

Field of hemp. If someone plans to manufacture hemp products consumed in any way by people through a process beyond chopping or grinding, such as heating or distillation, they need to be licensed with DCP.

Field of hemp. If someone plans to manufacture hemp products consumed in any way by people through a process beyond chopping or grinding, such as heating or distillation, they need to be licensed with DCP.

HARTFORD —Trying to take advantage of growing season, the Department of Consumer Protection is now accepting applications for hemp manufacturing licenses.

The General Assembly recently passed a law, that Gov. Ned Lamont quickly signed in May, that allows the state to begin a hemp pilot program with the Department of Agriculture regulating growers and processors, and DCP regulating manufacturers of hemp products.

If someone plans to manufacture hemp products consumed in any way by people (food products, lotions, oils, etc.) through a process beyond chopping or grinding, such as heating or distillation, they need to be licensed with DCP. If anyone is simply chopping or grinding hemp, they do not require a license with DCP. Retailers of hemp products who are not manufacturing do not require a license.

“I am pleased that we have gotten this program up and running so quickly after the bill was signed,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said.

Lamont signed the bill on May 8.

“I want to thank the Department of Agriculture and our legislators for their support in making the start of this program a success,” Seagull said. “I look forward to this program growing as an important part of the state’s economy, and encourage those with questions about hemp manufacturing to reach out to us.”

More than 200 of the state’s 6,000 farmers have expressed an interest in jumping in on the hemp growing business. It’s unclear how many companies will seek to manufacture hemp products.

During public hearings, legislators were urged to jump on board – quickly – to allow Connecticut farmers, especially the next generation of farmers, to become part of the growing list of states that have embraced cultivation of hemp as a way to revitalize the farming industry.

Currently, only Colorado, Oregon, and Vermont allow farmers to grow hemp under state supervision.

Hemp was grouped with marijuana and was declared a Schedule 1 drug in 1970. That, according to advocates of hemp, increased misconception of the plant, which comes from the same family of plant as marijuana, but does not include enough THC to get a person “high.”

“Connecticut is sitting on top of a huge goldmine,” John Roe, a retired farmer from Canada who lives in Stonington said during the public hearing. He told the Environment Committee that Connecticut has the “right soil conditions, right climate conditions for hemp cultivation.

“Hemp will thrive” in Connecticut, Roe said.

The 2018 federal Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and allows states to submit a plan and apply for primary regulatory authority over the production of hemp in their state.

The bill passed calls on the state agriculture department to submit regulations to the federal government for licensing, growing and processing hemp.

Lamont’s budget included three new positions in the Department of Agriculture and $136,000 in funding to develop and regulate a hemp program. In addition, one lab technician position is provided to the Agricultural Experiment Station to conduct testing of the hemp being grown to ensure compliance of mandated restrictions on the product.

During the public hearings, Bryan Hurlburt, who was then the executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, urged fast action because “there is an opportunity for farmers to take advantage of this crop this growing season.”

Hurlburt is now the Connecticut Agriculture commissioner.

“For a farmer to plant hemp in the field, there are a number of steps that need to be taken in advance to meet that deadline, including the USDA waiver, seed procurement, regulation development, financing, and field preparation,” Hurlburt said.

Many legislators asked those testifying to explain, in layman’s language, the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Hurlburt explained: “Industrial hemp is not marijuana, although both are members of the cannabis plant family. Industrial hemp is differentiated by the low concentration of THC, set by federal statute at maximum of 0.3 percent THC of the dried weight of the plant, marijuana has a THC level of 5 – 25 percent. Industrial hemp is generally used for fiber and CBD extraction, but has over 25,000 different uses.

Hurlburt said CFBA believes hemp as a lifeline for the agricultural economy, providing a much-needed cash crop to a market that is strapped for cash and markets.

He said research show that an acre of hemp could generate the following yields: 500 lbs to 1500 lbs of dried flowers; prices between $30 — $100/lb; estimated revenues between $37,500 — $150,000 per acre.

“Having a high value crop would keep farmers on the land, be an incentive for farmers to put more land into production, attract new farmers to the industry, stabilize farm incomes, add business opportunities for agricultural support businesses, employ more people, support the opportunity for value-added production, and generate more revenue for the state,” Hurlburt said.

Also encouraging the committee to move quickly on legislation was Troy Sprang, vice president at J.E. Shepard Companies, a continually operating farming company in Connecticut for over 126 years.

“There are jobs at stake and significant economic development growth opportunities in the manufacturing and production area of hemp for Connecticut businesses, if we move quickly,” Sprang said.

Voluntown First Selectwoman Tracey Hanson, again during public hearing testimony, said hemp could be throwing farmers a badly needed lifeline.

“Right now, some of the largest farms in town are struggling dairy farms,” Hanson said. “Many farmers are aging and are lacking a younger generation to take over current farm businesses.”

Hanson said passing a hemp bill “will be a key to revitalizing the farming industry in Voluntown and in other Connecticut farm towns.”

Hemp-growing licenses now being accepted in CT By Jack Kramer, CTNewsJunkie.com Published 9:59 am EDT, Monday, July 8, 2019 Field of hemp. If someone plans to manufacture hemp products

It’s not pot: CT hemp farm growing a new business

By Sarah Page Kyrcz

Published 7:13 pm EDT, Saturday, July 20, 2019

Hemp plants are being grown in the greenhouses at Running Brook Farms in Killingworth and (l-r) Site Manager Becky Goetsch shows a plant to Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford,

Hemp plants are being grown in the greenhouses at Running Brook Farms in Killingworth and (l-r) Site Manager Becky Goetsch shows a plant to Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford,

Hemp plants are being grown in the greenhouses at Running Brook Farms in Killingworth and (l-r) Site Manager Becky Goetsch shows a plant to Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford,

Hemp plants are being grown in the greenhouses at Running Brook Farms in Killingworth and (l-r) Site Manager Becky Goetsch shows a plant to Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford,

KILLINGWORTH — It looks like cannabis. It feels like cannabis. It smells like cannabis.

But it’s not the kind of cannabis many equate with another product: marijuana . It’s the hemp plant, now growing at Running Brook Farms.

The family owned farm has been in business for more than 50 years and sees the opportunity to grow hemp as a perfect way to extend their growing season. They are one of the first farms in the state to start growing hemp.

“The synergy with our independent garden center is phenomenal, as far as growing cycles,” said Site Manager Becky Goetsch . “So right now, is definitely a slow time for us.

“Everybody’s bought their plants and planted their gardens, so hemp coming into our workflow is really important to us, actually, because the independent garden centers are struggling just as much as the farmers, as far as having a lot of competition with box stores and just the industry in general,” she added.

The farm’s ability to grow hemp is a result of a new state law that requires the state Department of Agriculture commissioner to adopt regulations establishing an industrial hemp pilot program in accordance with the Federal Agriculture Act of 2014.

The pilot program will allow for and study the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp in Connecticut.

Hemp is considered a booming industry because the plant, a type of cannabis, produces a non-intoxicating substance known as CBD oil, which is used to treat inflammation, pain and anxiety. It is being also being incorporated it into lotions, pills, tinctures and candies.

Running Brook Farms’ hemp will be harvested and sold to produce CBD oil. In addition, they foresee the day when they can grow to supply other farmers with seedlings.

“This new industry presents a multitude of opportunities for businesses and farms across the state,” said Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford, co-chairwoman of the Environment Committee and champion of the hemp legislation.

“It is encouraging to see farms, like Running Brook, taking advantage of this lucrative cash crop. Seeing the seedlings going into the ground for eventual sale and use generates an air of excitement and promise for these land owners and manufacturer,” she added. “Ultimately, everyone in Connecticut reaps the benefits of this pro-farm, pro-business legislation.”

The Connecticut Farm Bureau Association has estimated that an acre of hemp could generate 500 to 1,500 pounds of dried flowers and pull in profits of $37,500 to $150,000.

Farm Bureau President Don Tuller emphasized that the industry is highly regulated, but allowing hemp farming in the state allows farmers to become diversified, which is important for their success.

“We just wanted Connecticut farmers to have the opportunity to at least participate,” Tuller said.

“The problem was that while they legalize production of hemp, it’s still a highly regulated product because it looks just like cannabis,” he added. “So, our push was to just allow Connecticut farmers to be in the game.”

Running Brook Farms Owner Scott Papoosha is excited to be a part of this new enterprise.

“We figured this year would be a learning year, get our feet wet, get grounded and then next year we’ll ramp up production,” he said .

The farm currently has two 3,500-square-foot greenhouses on their Killingworth site and two acres of land in Deep River dedicated to hemp plants.

Goetsch and Papoosha invited individuals who were instrumental in passing the legislation to the farm to learn more about growing hemp. In addition to Cohen and Tuller, guests included Bryan Hurlburt, commissioner of the state Department of Agriculture, First Selectwoman Catherine Iino, and Jeff Wenzel, founder of the Connecticut Hemp Industry Association.

Standing in one of the two 3,500-square-foot greenhouses that are dedicated to growing hemp, Goetsch said there is a learning curve to growing the plant and the greenhouse offers a very controlled environment.

The seeds were planted the first week of June and harvest is anticipated in October.

Goetsch proudly showed off her Hemp Grower License, strategically placed on a greenhouse work table. She added that a second license is at the field, three miles away.

Hurlburt said this license is important to have handy, in light of the similarity between hemp and cannabis.

“We’ve been working with public safety to make sure that we’re creating an online database, so if they pull somebody over, that person should have the certificate of authenticity that’s saying, ‘Running Brook Farms, I am allowed the grow hemp,’ explained Hurlburt , using Running Brook Farms as an example of a state registered hemp farm.

“They can hand it to a police officer and the police officer’s not thinking that the individuals are running marijuana,” he added.

Running Brook Farms entry into hemp production is exactly the type of business that will help Killingworth grow, according to Iino.

“We have a whole bunch of really diverse agricultural enterprises going on here, now,” she said. “We have a cranberry farm, a lavender farm, a mushroom farm, alpaca farm, so having this is just one more – it’s what we do in Killingworth.”

“This is one thing that we can do to make our land productive and to keep the character of the town, which is basically rural and we like it that way,” she added.

It’s not pot: CT hemp farm growing a new business By Sarah Page Kyrcz Published 7:13 pm EDT, Saturday, July 20, 2019 Hemp plants are being grown in the greenhouses at Running Brook Farms in