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  • Writer's pictureJaredRIOT

Ironwood Botanicals: Rise and Fall of Kentucky Hemp

Ironwood Botanicals is a Kentucky Hemp farm located just outside of Louisville. They have spent the last few years cultivating high-quality Hemp for medicinal and therapeutic relief. Planting their first crop in 2019, they maintained their product under some of the higher standards similar to what you might see at full-spectrum Cannabis Farms. Large quantities of time, money, and energy were invested in revitalizing a 100-year-old Kentucky Tabacco farm back to its former glory with a brand new cash crop. Unfortunately, while growing these crops, regulation changes made it much more difficult for them to legally sell their product. Several years late, nearly 40 people are out of a job and they have several hundred pounds of Hemp that have to be destroyed.

According to The Ministry of Agriculture of Italy, 2,000 hectares of hemp were grown in 2019. With an increase in the cultivation of hemp, there was an increase in the production of hemp seeds in Europe. According to European Industrial Hemp Association, from 2013 to 2018, there was a 70% increase in the number of hectares dedicated to industrial hemp cultivation in Europe. In the US, the passing of the farm bill in 2018 led to increased cultivation of hemp, which resulted in 511,442 hectares of land used across the US in 2019 for the cultivation of hemp which is an increase from the previous year. The farmers in the US can produce three varieties of hemp – hemp cultivated for hemp fiber, hemp cultivated for hemp seeds and oils, and hemp cultivated for CBD. Thus, an increase in the cultivation of hemp across various countries has led to an increased supply of hemp fiber, seeds, and oils, thereby driving the hemp derivatives market. - Global News Wire

Current Kentucky legislation leans towards Industrial Hemp while leaving open the possibility for derivatives. At this moment, the majority of Kentucky Hemp farmers are invested in derivatives-based processing such as CBD, CBC, THC-P, THC-O, Delta 8, and many others. These products take a significantly larger investment to cultivate and process, making it impossible to profit at Industrial Hemp prices. Even further, there is not currently a market large enough to sustain the Kentucky Industrial Hemp output which is what has led farmers to derivatives. Basically, there isn't a market large enough to sustain the current Kentucky Industrial Hemp surplus, much less any influx of farmers that might be forced to switch to industrial-based processing.

Many farms have found themselves in similar situations as Ironwood, needing to close up shop and destroy millions of dollars in products. This is because even though Hemp is legal for growing in the state of Kentucky, scare tactics like KSP raiding completely legal dispensaries and illegally stealing products have created a fear-based reaction for farmers and retailers alike, who are actually completely within their legal rights. Legislation like SR22 SB170, would further restrict how farmers can distribute their crops for processing. It would also classify hemp-based derivatives as controlled substances and framed as a harmful synthetic compound; similar to cocaine or heroin. In reality, the process of isomerization involves creating an environment that facilitates the transition of one isomer to another. This can happen naturally under controlled conditions. For example, changes in pH, temperature, or exposure to catalysts can all cause CBD to turn into other isomers of itself.

Passing this regulation would not only restrict farmers but would put nearly 5000 Kentucky jobs at risk. It would also force Kentucky to miss out on millions in tax dollars, keep us in the dark ages and behind the curve when it comes to the Cannabis Industry.

How you can help...

Step 1: Call the Legislative Research Commission

If you are a Kentucky voter, you need to call 1-800-372-7181 and leave a message to vote NO on SB170. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell everyone to call now!

Step 2: Call/Email Your Legislators

Find your Senator and House Representative below...

Step 3: Call Governor Andy Beshear

Call 1-502-564-2611 and leave a message telling Governor Andy Beshear that this bill is NOT right for Kentucky. Ask that if it hits his desk, he veto this bill.


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