Federal government approves Alaska’s infant hemp industry, setting stage for expansion | News

The federal government has given its official seal of approval to the Alaska Children’s Industrial Hemp Program.

This means that hemp entrepreneurs who make hemp products, which can range from health products such as CBD oil to clothing, can now market products nationwide.

Currently, “Made in Alaska” hemp products are only available in Alaska.

While there is a lot of competition across the country in the hemp product market, a competitive advantage for Alaska manufacturers could be that Alaska is one of the few states that inspects products for their quality and purity. which is especially important for products that are ingested by humans, such as capsules.

In the past, hemp was combined with marijuana as a banned substance, and although hemp has a much lower content of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical compound in marijuana that causes the “high” that took years in Congress to accept it and decriminalize it. hemp.

Marijuana products tend to have a much higher THC content, up to 12 percent or more, and are still illegal under federal law, although many states, including Alaska, have legalized marijuana.

Hemp contains cannabidiol, or CBD, which has health benefits and has a much lower THC content. Alaska regulators inspect hemp products to make sure their THC content, especially for CBD health products, is 0.3 percent THC or below.

CBDs are known to have a wide variety of health benefits and are used in medications to control seizures and to help reduce anxiety, relieve diabetes complications, and relieve pain.

Hemp also has many other uses, including in clothing and as animal feed.

There are registered marijuana growers in Alaska who operate under strict licensing rules, as well as several hemp growers who operate under the rules of the Agriculture Division. So far, only a handful of companies have been asked to manufacture products such as hemp CBD.

Procedurally, Alaska has so far been operating its industrial hemp pilot program as a pilot program under federal law, but with federal approval it has paved the way for the state program to expand.

“Almost a legislator and the governor have supported the establishment of the hemp industry in Alaska,” said Dave Schade, director of the state’s Agriculture Division.

He cited the support of Sen. Shelley Hughes, a Palmer Republican, for her role in sponsoring the two bills that paved the way for the commercialization of industrial hemp in Alaska.

“The goal is to diversify Alaska’s economy by adding a new crop to our farmers. Industrial hemp is a crop where Alaska is not years behind the developing Lower 48,” Schade said. .

Dunleavy expressed hope that industrial hemp would become a viable commercial crop for Alaskan growers. Food security and all agriculture is a high priority.

“I’m excited to see what production and markets are developing in Alaska. We see great opportunities in local, national and international markets,” Dunleavy said.

The production, manufacture and sale of all industrial hemp products require registration with the Agriculture Division, and anyone operating without complying with Alaska’s bylaws and regulations will face immediate enforcement action, he said. Schade.

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