A lot of local authorities around the US have been moving with haste to create localized legislations to support hemp farming. This was after US president Donald Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill that lifted the federal ban on hemp farming. The ban has been in existence since the 1930s. Tribal Councils have also not been left behind. In Virginia, the Tribal Council in Madison County during its budget council meeting authorized a resolution to begin a feasibility study for hemp and other cannabis-related opportunities. The resolution will contract Hempleton Investment Group to do the feasibility. The aim is to identify opportunities for the tribe to engage with hemp markets around the country.
Hemp has often been associated with marijuana. This is the same reason why it had been banned in the US for nearly a century. But recent studies have shown that hemp has very low levels of THC, the psychoactive element that causes a “high.” In essence, hemp is a healthier alternative to marijuana that allows people to take advantage of the medical value of this crop without getting high or getting addicted.
A lot of local authorities around the US have already passed new laws that enable the farming of hemp in their districts. Authorized hemp sellers in these areas are mandated to only sell hemp products with a THC level of less than 0.3%. The new tribal resolution passed in Madison County represents the first step in the commercialization of hemp production in the area. Wolftown Rep. Jeremy Wilson who is part of the Tribal Council has been the biggest proponent of hemp. He noted that cannabis could have both health and economic benefits and as such, it’s important for the tribe to develop a comprehensive plan that will allow it to take advantage of these crops in the future. Wilson also noted that hemp could help tackle the opioid crisis that has affected the tribe in recent years.
Several tribes have already started to engage in the cannabis industry in places where the recreational use of marijuana is legal. For instance, the Puyallup tribe in Washington has been engaged in marijuana production and there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from them. The feasibility study will be paid for by the Tribe’s general fund. The amount will not exceed $60,000.
There’s a feeling that hemp and other cannabinoids have been stigmatized over the years. This is the main reason why a lot of people fail to see the potential benefits that the crop could offer. But it’s now time to start changing minds through education and information. The new resolution will ensure the tribe and the consultants hired are working together to provide this information. The feasibility study is expected to be done and dusted by June this year. The results will then be shared among council members before the next course of action is determined. However, it’s very likely that hemp farming will be adopted in the region, especially because it’s already a trend in other counties.