Field of Dreams, Gold Rush, Snake Oil and Wild, Wild West, are all the terms currently being used to describe the out of control cannabis situation going on in our country and hemp production in our state.
Just about every state with some type of cannabis cultivation now realizes after the fact, that to maintain any kind of control of the process their Departments of Agriculture will have to establish a framework for basically developing and regulating the hemp supply chain. But here we go reinventing the wheel again when our country/state had a tobacco quota system that did exactly that. The only problem is it goes against corporate America and most states don’t care where they get their tax dollars as long as they continue to get them and lobbyists continue to fund their legislative campaigns.
Field of Dreams. If you plant it you will make thousands of dollars and the more you plant the more you will make. This has led to hundreds of new and old farmers jumping on the bandwagon without any experience in growing this crop and the support that was embedded in the old tobacco system. Millions of dollars have been invested in this new Gold Rush and first comes mother nature with rain, drought, weeds, and pests to add her two cents. Then add a season of labor intensive farming with a limited (and sometimes unreliable) workforce. This has resulted in a “Fools Gold” substandard crop for many farmers with little to no value. Yes, with a lot of luck someone will take this mess off your hands but it will not be for the initial dollar values you were told. And everyone knows what the end result is when substandard products enter the market; exactly, a drop in price (across the board) for everything.
This Snake Oil will cure everything. There is an unlimited potential for hemp which is true, however navigating through the process has been a daunting experience for many. We all know the max level of THC for each state but what about the other cannabinoids in each crop sample. Who determines what quality your crop is (low, med, high in CBD oil) and who do you go to for ligation? This is the best product on the market at 70%, but 70% of what the farmer should be paid for all the other good stuff in this product.
All of this leads to the Wild, Wild, West mentality. Every day there is a processor or broker emailing farmers that they can not meet their promises and that it is up to the farmer to find a buyer of their hard earned produce. Every day there is an article somewhere talking about the increase in black market sales and the flooding of streets with low-grade products which have to be boosted or spiced. Every day there are whispers about the banking industry loss of interest dollars has to be a concern when weighed against the negative impact of collection of street loans (dollar on a dollar) used by many to fund these new dreams. Just look at the effect of vaping using innovative home made systems to add either CBD, THC both or and only God knows what, to their vaping experience.
So with all this negativity where is the good? First I’ll reference you back to an earlier op ad, “A Kentucky Small Farmer Lifeline” and ask you to look at it a little harder this time and talk with your friends, neighbors and farmers about their thoughts on this.. I still believe with the right type of approach from politicians, dedicated pharmaceutical and university research, and informed growers that it can still be a savior for agriculture in this state and across the country. Next I would ask you to talk with your current representatives and ask them, what do they have to say on the matter. Ask them to make informed decisions when legislation comes up and maybe we can put the right type of spout on “Kentucky’s Pandora Cannabis Box”.
Joe Trigg is a Glasgow City Councilman and local hemp farmer.