There’s always a lot happening on the Asheville hemp scene. Here’s some of what’s going around:
Smokeable hemp update: State lawmakers at the N.C. General Assembly are still working through details of a bill that could affect the sale of what’s referred to as smokeable hemp. Right now in hemp dispensaries around Asheville, someone can but hemp flower in either raw form, or rolled into hemp cigarettes. But some state law enforcement officials say they can’t tell the difference between hemp flower and marijuana when they working their cases, and they are asking hemp flower to be banned. There’s no decision yet as lawmakers in Raleigh continue working through the bill’s provisions. Follow the N.C. Industrial Hemp Association for updates.
Commission meeting: The N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission will hold a public meeting on Friday, July 12, that’s available via conference call. Access the conference call here or by calling 1-929-205-6099 (U.S. toll) or 1-669-900-6833 (U.S. toll). The meeting ID is 730-989-292. Participants will be prompted to enter their name and email address to enter the meeting via the website or prompted for a unique participant ID for the call. They should press # to access the call.
Hemp Tea Party: The event is set for 4-6 p.m. on Aug. 4 at Franny’s Farmacy on Merrimon Avenue. At the event, you’ll be able to taste Asheville Tea Company’s line of hemp teas, such as Chocolate Berry Hemp, Chamomile Hemp and Lemon Ginger Hemp. They’re all powered by hemp flower from Franny’s Farm. Along with the botanical brews, there will also be a discussion of the uniqueness of the local hemp industry. Teas will be paired with sweet and savory afternoon snacks. Tickets are $15 and include all tea tastings and afternoon snacks. Ticket holders can also enjoy a special in-store 10 percent discount in the Farmacy store.
Hemp industry overview: Writer Jack Igelman and photographer Jack Sorokin size up the hemp industry in the mountains for WNC magazine. Pull-out:
According to Jeanine Davis, North Carolina State University extension specialist who’s based at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, the traditional farming know-how in Reems Creek and other pockets of the Carolina mountains is well-suited for success with the plant. “Farmers here have been dealing with mold and diseases their whole lives,” she notes. “They understand the weather and how the land has been used.” On the other hand, hemp entrepreneurs bring in knowledge about hemp’s unique chemistry and how to promote its applications. “If you can get these two groups talking and sharing,” says Davis, “we can make progress really quickly.”
New lab: Abundant Labs, a company that extracts cannabinoids from cannabis plants to produce extracts used in consumer products is opening a $12 million hemp processing facility just outside the city limits of Canton, the Smoky Mountain News reports. The company plans to open by Aug. 1 in the old Neo Corporation building on Silkwood Drive, just off Interstate 40, the newspaper reports.
Awaiting the FDA: Sales of products containing CBD — the non-psychoactive cannabis compound, cannabidiol — are expected top $5 billion this year, a 700 percent increase from 2018 according to estimates released Tuesday by the Brightfield Group, a research firm focused on the cannabis industry, CNN reports. Now the industry is waiting for the FDA to weigh in. More from CNN:
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, better known as the Farm Bill, removed low-THC cannabis and its derivatives from the Controlled Substances Act, where marijuana — hemp’s cousin — remains a Schedule I substance. That law also left plenty of discretion to the FDA, which regulates products such as pharmaceutical drugs, most food items, additives and dietary supplements. The FDA held a public hearing on May 31 about CBD and is taking public comments until July 16 on the substance’s safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling and sales.
-The FDA statement on CBD: Here’s the FDA’s statement on where they’re at. It’s titled “FDA is Committed to Sound, Science-based Policy on CBD.” And here’s where you can submit comments to the FDA as it considers taking action.