"Keep the Georgia devil away from us farmers!"
State regulations stifled the new industry before it starts.
The main issues are:
Hemp growers are not allowed to sell hemp to anyone except processing companies, which don’t exist in Georgia.
Hemp growers cannot ship product outside Georgia, but out-of-state producers could bring their hemp here.
The result: No viable business model. With such an uncertain fundamental footing, hemp cultivation will cause Georgia farmers to lose millions of dollars.
Now for the rest of the noise.
Since Georgia lawmakers legalized hemp farming earlier this year, we have submitted public comments to the state Department of Agriculture, expressing concerns about the state’s proposed regulations. Our complaint focused on allowing Georgia farmers to directly participation in the legislative process. No response. The result was rules abd regulations that make it imm,possible for farmers to make as profit growing hemp. In fact, the laws as written will never be competitive with other farms in the South.
Looking under the hood.
Hemp is a nonpsychoactive form of the cannabis plant that is primarily used to make CBD oil, a popular product marketed as a remedy for muscle pain, anxiety, insomnia and seizures. Unlike marijuana, which also comes from cannabis, hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, the compound that allows marijuana users to achieve a high. While Georgians can buy CBD oil in nutrition stores and gas stations, the product is farmed, processed and shipped from out of state. Forty-one states already have hemp farming programs, and Georgia farmers want to get in on the action now that the General Assembly allowed it.
Not good enough! The General Assembly must issue a mandate that the Georgia farmers are allowed to directly participate in the legislation process.
Farmers must wait for full regulations to be approved — and hope that they’re not overly cumbersome. For now, hemp regulations require farmers to enter into written agreements with processors, but processing plants haven’t been built yet. Farmers should be able to do business with any plant that offers the best price and service
Over-regulation everything is the state’s agenda and a disaster for the farmers.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture will review the public comments and decide whether proposed regulations should be changed, said Julie McPeake, a spokeswoman for the department.
The state is waiting on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release federal hemp program rules before moving forward with Georgia’s regulations. If approved, a hemp grower license would cost $50 per acre, up to a $5,000 maximum. Hemp processors would have to pay $25,000 upfront and $10,000 every year after.
Georgia regulators and lawmakers have imposed strict regulations to ensure that hemp farming is tightly controlled, reducing the chance that farmers would instead cultivate marijuana. Wrong attitude. Regulators failed to understand that competition will price-out from the marketplace. Georgia isn’t the only place that has the right climate to grow the plant.
Under current conditions, not one farmer will make a profit from growing hemp. The costs and restrictions will make it difficult for them. For example, state inspectors can take hemp samples without notice, and if tests show they contain too much THC, entire crops must be destroyed. Many other states have similar rules for crop destruction but with prudent mandates. More on this subject in later articles.
Moreover,The limitation on farmers selling hemp to anyone but processors, gives processors an unfair advantage in setting prices – take it or leave it mentality exists at the moment.
Why all the noise?
The stigma surrounding hemp as another marijuana plant has allowed lawmakers to pass too strict regulations on a crop that is harmless. Georgia’s hemp regulations are among the most restrictive in the country.
Georgia hemp farmers should not grow hemp until an adequate business model supports the ability to earn a return on investment.