Showing posts with label Pot Legalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pot Legalization. Show all posts

September 26, 2016

Why Would You Need an Armed Guard to Be a Farmer in NYS?

 For the first time in 80 years, a farm in New York State is legally growing cannabis. But no one could get high from these plants.
The farm, JD Farms, roughly 230 miles north of New York City, is actually growing industrial hemp, which can be used to make everything from flour to building materials to clothes to plastic.
“Industrial hemp and marijuana are actually the same species, but they have bred and evolved to be quite different from each other,” said Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins, a professor of agriculture at Morrisville State College, which has paired with JD Farms on a hemp research pilot program.
Still, industrial hemp remains on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of illegal Schedule I drugs, though its content of THC — the chemical that gets marijuana users high — is below 0.3 percent. Because of that status, JD Farms had to adhere to stringent federal regulations just to get the seeds to grow the crop. “We had to jump through hoops to get a D.E.A. permit to import our seeds from Canada,” Mark Justh, an owner of the farm, said.
Mr. Justh, 51, and Daniel Dolgin, 40, a co-owner, were not always pioneering farmers.
Mr. Justh had already bought a few defunct dairy farms here before his employer, JPMorgan Chase & Company, sent him across the world in 2010.

Facebook Live: Visit to a New York Hemp Farm 

“I was running a business in Asia for JPMorgan and traveling a lot all over Asia,” he said. “When my two sons were becoming teenagers, I really wanted to travel less and spend a lot more time with my family. As I bought the farms and as we were building them up, I wanted to return full time.”
In 2015, he did. His three sons are now 18, 14 and 13.
“My sons are in school. They work on the farm over the summers. And my wife is a writer,” he said. “They split their time between Park Slope and the farm, and they are up here all summer.”
Mr. Dolgin, who is single, previously worked in counterterrorism and national security in Washington. “I left D.C. around 2010,” he said. “I did some consulting in the private sector, and I wanted to do something different.”
A friend of Mr. Dolgin’s introduced the men. “Mark was looking to get involved in the hemp world,” Mr. Dolgin said, “and I thought I could be of service in terms of navigating regulations and getting stuff done in D.C.”
“I started coming to the farm more and more and starting to fall in love with what he was doing there,” he added.
Mr. Justh said he became interested in hemp while looking for a tall canopy plant with broad leaves and a short growth period that could keep weeds from taking root in his crops. The farm, which covers 1,300 acres, also produces organic hay, pastured pigs and pastured cattle.
Photo
Mark Justh, left, and Daniel Dolgin are co-owners of JD Farms. Mr. Justh previously worked for JPMorgan Chase & Company, and Mr. Dolgin had worked in counterterrorism and national security in Washington CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times 
“I started off looking at hemp as weed cover,” Mr. Justh said, “and believe it or not, Dan and I partnered together and started recognizing the larger industrial benefits of hemp.”
“We are phenomenally excited to see the benefits of what this crop can do,” he added.
The door to hemp farming — and its economic possibilities — was opened in 2014 when federal legislation allowed for the transportation, processing, sale and distribution of hemp grown in research programs.
“This is not marijuana,” Donna A. Lupardo, a New York assemblywoman for the Southern Tier who sponsored the legislation to allow hemp to be grown in the state, said as she looked over the field during a visit to the farms. “This is not something that can be used recreationally.”
Ms. Lupardo, a Democrat, said she believes hemp “has a really high potential to put farmland back to use in New York State and to also be a very lucrative, potentially lucrative manufacturing crop for our state.”
“In my community alone, there are a million potential acres to be farmed for a number of new crops like industrial hemp,” she said later in a phone interview. “It’s a field of dreams, it really is. It’s just a fabulous opportunity and just a wonderful plant.”
To comply with federal guidelines, JD Farms had to have an armed security guard oversee the seed planting. So it hired an officer from the New York State University Police at Morrisville State College. The officer would have told the D.E.A. if anything had gone wrong, Enrico L. D’Alessandro, the chief of police at Morrisville, said.
Photo
Mr. Dolgin and Mr. Justh said they hoped it would become easier for other farmers to grow industrial hemp. “We believe farmers should be able to grow this crop without a license and be able to obtain seeds across state lines and internationally,” Mr. Justh said. CreditNathaniel Brooks for The New York Times 
“That officer had to stand by there to make sure all the seeds went into the ground,” Mr. D’Alessandro said.
In an interview at the farm, Mr. Dolgin called the requirement “ridiculous for a crop that has no psychotropic value, but we had to do what we had to do.”
Mr. Dolgin and Mr. Justh said they hoped their first crop would pave the way to a quicker process for those who follow.
“Until the laws become more uniform and less gray, for the industry to develop, it’s going to be challenging,” Mr. Justh said. “We believe farmers should be able to grow this crop without a license and be able to obtain seeds across state lines and internationally. Until that happens, industry will struggle to develop.”
As for their 30 acres of hemp, Mr. Dolgin and Mr. Justh said they were looking for customers.
“We don’t have contracts signed yet, but we have a lot of interested buyers,” Mr. Dolgin said. “We are working with a major protein-bar company in Pennsylvania that is interested in using hemp protein to start a few new lines of product into their distribution channel.”
Mr. Dolgin added that a large biomaterial manufacturing company in Albany was interested in buying their stalks. “They currently import ground-up hemp stalks from Europe, so having a New York supply is much more ideal,” he said.
NILO TABRIZY
New York Times

May 5, 2015

In a Surprisingly Nice Move Governor of PR Legalizes Med Marijuana





In a surprise move, Puerto Rico's Governor Alejandro García Padilla signed an executive order legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the U.S. territory. The order, which was heavily debated in Puerto Rico since 2013 but never put to a public vote, went into immediate effect. The Caribbean island joins 23 other U.S. states in decriminalizing medical marijuana, The Associated Press reports
We're taking a significant step in the area of health that is fundamental to our development and quality of life," García Padilla said in a statement. "I am sure that many patients will receive appropriate treatment that will offer them new hope." The governor added that several studies conducted in the United States demonstrated that cannabis can assist in pain relief from serious diseases.
"These studies support the use of the plant to relieve pain caused by multiple sclerosis, AIDS virus, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, migraine, Parkinson's and other diseases that often do not respond to traditional treatments," García Padilla added. "This administration is committed to ensuring the health of all citizens residing in our country. Hence the medicinal use we are adopting is an innovative measure to ensure the welfare and a better quality of life for these patients."
Although Puerto Rico will relax its stance on medical marijuana, it plans on passing a state law that will establish "a distinction between medical and non-medical uses." Even pro-marijuana activists in Puerto Rico were taken aback by the sudden nature of the executive order, as many questions remain over how the plan would be instituted.
For instance, no decision has been made whether Puerto Rico will grow its medical marijuana crop in the country or import the drug. García Padilla said the secretary of the health department would arrive with a more detailed plan of action for medical marijuana within three months.
Puerto Rico becomes the latest U.S. territory or state to either peel back the restrictions on medical marijuana or decriminalize weed entirely. New York is readying its own (albeit restrictive) medical marijuana plan, while voters in Florida resoundingly support a measure to legalize the drug for both medicinal and recreational purposes. The federal government also ended their prohibition of medical marijuana.


 rollingstone.com

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