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Oregon Overhauls its Approach to Industrial Hemp

Passage of a new law in Oregon that requires industrial hemp growers to register with the state is seen as a positive move for the industry, advocates of the program are saying.

Signed by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and overwhelmingly passed by members of the Oregon Legislature, Senate Bill 1015 (http://nnw.fm/BuQ9o) went into effect on Oct. 6, 2017. The measure gives the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) authority over the processing of industrial hemp and requires those who grow or process the plant to register and pay a fee. Licensed recreational marijuana producers and dispensaries would also have to register with the OLCC before selling hemp products (http://nnw.fm/g9He5). The new law expands some plant testing and record-keeping requirements for both the industrial hemp grower and processor.

“Hemp is growing in popularity and value with farmers throughout the state,” said Tom Burns of Chalice Farms in his testimony supporting the new legislation (http://nnw.fm/V1dzb). “Unfortunately, the processing (making into usable products) of hemp is lagging behind the desire of farmers to grow the product.”

Under the new law, registered industrial hemp growers can deliver their harvest to a licensed marijuana processor where it can be made into concentrates and extracts. Hemp is defined as having less than 3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive chemical in cannabis. When it comes to CBD concentrates and extracts, the bill would open up industrial hemp processing to state licensed recreational marijuana processers. The processed CBD concentrates and extracts could then be delivered to recreational marijuana retailers for sale in licensed dispensaries or be delivered back to a registered industrial hemp handler for resale, according to the Canna Law Group, which provides legal support for the cannabis business community (http://nnw.fm/982vB).

Eric Shoemaker of Swell Companies Ltd. voiced his support for the law as well, saying the bill was a “vital step forward for Oregon.”

“We have continued to be surprised that greater efforts have not been made to integrate industrial hemp into the OLCC system,” Shoemaker testified (http://nnw.fm/eVKz8). “We believe industrial hemp will be a more significant industry for Oregon (and the nation) than recreational cannabis.”

The Oregon Department of Agriculture handles the registration aspect of the new law, which requires industrial hemp growers and handlers (processors) to each pay a $1,300 fee in addition to a $120 agricultural hemp seed production fee. The legislation requires growers to provide testing results to the recreational processor with that information retained and made available to the state.

Several testing companies are already accredited to conduct the required tests. EVIO, Inc. (OTCQB: EVIO), through its EVIO Labs division, was primed and ready to offer accredited analytical testing services to Oregon’s industrial hemp sector the moment the law came into effect.

“Industrial hemp is a rapidly growing industry with product applications ranging from foods like hemp seed, personal care products, textiles, and other industrial and consumer goods such as building materials,” says EVIO Inc.’s COO Lori Glauser, pointing out hemp-based CBD oil sales are projected to reach $1 billion by 2020 (http://nnw.fm/s0eHM).

Oregon currently has 233 actively licensed industrial hemp growers and each is required by the state to complete testing prior to harvest to ensure their hemp is qualified for sale. While restrictions are built into Oregon’s legislation, advocates are quick to point out it also opens up new possibilities for the lucrative hemp industry.

For more information, visit the company’s website at www.EVIOLabs.com

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