Brief History of Hemp

Hemp is an ancient plant that has been cultivated for millennia. The Columbia History of the World (1996) states that weaving of hemp fiber began over 10,000 years ago! Carbon tests have suggested that the use of wild hemp dates as far back as 8000 B.C.

In Great Britain, hemp cultivation dates back to 800AD. In the 16th Century, Henry VIII encouraged farmers to plant the crop extensively to provide materials for the British Naval fleet. A steady supply of hemp was needed for the construction of battleships and their components. Riggings, pendants, pennants, sails, and oakum were all made from hemp fiber and oil. Hemp paper was used for maps, logs, and even for the Bibles that sailors may have brought on board.

Cultivation : Hemp drying

17th Century America, farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut were ordered by law to grow Indian hemp. By the early 18th century, a person could be sentenced to jail if they weren’t growing hemp on their land! Hemp was considered to be legal tender. For over 200 years in colonial America, hemp was currency that one could use to pay their taxes with! (Don’t try that today, kids!) The 1850 U.S. census documented approximately 8,400 hemp plantations of at least 2000 acres. Strains in cultivation included China hemp, Smyrna hemp and Japanese hemp.

For years, hemp farmers used a hand break operated machine when harvesting. Finally a machine was built that would take care of all the processes, breaking the retted stalks and cleaning the fiber to produce clean, straight hemp fiber which was equal to the best grades prepared on hand brakes. This machine was able to harvest 1000 pounds or more of clean hemp fiber per hour. This breakthrough made cultivating more fiscally attractive by reducing labor costs. By 1920 the hemp crop was entirely handled by machinery.

Hemp Fuel

In 1896 Rudolph Diesel had produced his famous engine. Like many others, Diesel assumed that the diesel engine would be powered by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils. Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company seeing the potential of biomass fuels operated a successful biomass conversion plant producing hemp fuel at their Iron Mountain facility in Michigan. Ford engineers extracted methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl acetate and creosote, fundamental ingredients for modern industry. Today these are supplied by oil-related industries.

Prohibition

Viewing hemp as a threat, a smear campaign against hemp was started by competing industries, associating hemp with marijuana. Propaganda films like “Reefer Madness” assured hemp’s demise. When Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, the decline of hemp effectively began. The tax and licensing regulations of the act made hemp cultivation nearly impossible for American farmers. Anslinger, the chief promoter of the Tax Act, argued for anti-marijuana legislation around the world.

An interesting situation arose during World War II as American Farmers were prohibited from producing hemp because of the 1937 law. However, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor halted the importation of Manila hemp from the Philippines, prompting the USDA to rethink their agenda and creating a call to action with the release of the film Hemp for Victory, motivating American Farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. The government formed a private company called War Hemp Industries to subsidize hemp cultivation. One million acres of hemp were grown across the Midwest as part of this program. As soon as the war ended, all of the hemp processing plants were shut down and the industry again disappeared. However, wild hemp may be found scattered across the country.

From 1937 until the late 1960s the United States government recognized that Industrial Hemp and marijuana were two distinct varieties of the cannabis plant. After the Controlled Substances Act was passed, hemp was no longer recognized as being distinct from marijuana.

Brief Education on Hemp

 

Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant. Hemp may be the most useful plant known to man kind. In fact, cannabis sativa means useful(sativa) hemp(cannabis). It is used to make over 25,000 different products, most of which are superior alternatives to less environmentally friendly products. Some of the products made are: clothing, shoes, diapers, rope, canvas, cellophane, paints, fuels, chain lubricants, biodegradable plastics, paper, fiberboard, cement blocks, food, cosmetics, and soap.  The reemergence of hemp is slowly but steadily progressing within the United States while gaining full government support in other nations.  Industrial hemp is frequently confused with marijuana in the United States mainly due to a lack of understanding of the plants.

Both hemp and medicinal marijuana come from the same plant, Cannabis Sativa L. (not to be confused by sativa and indica), the definition of hemp according to the National Laboratories is:

THC+CBN/CBD < 1

This definition supersedes the 0.3% THC definition, of which has no origin.

The most commonly seen modern hemp product is clothing. Hemp clothing is warmer, softer, more absorbent, extremely breathable and significantly longer lasting than clothing made from cotton. It is nice to have clothing that looks like linen, feels like flannel, and wears two to three times longer than other fabrics, but this is just the beginning

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The seeds are an excellent nutritional source that can provide quality fats and proteins. The hemp seed oil is utilized for it’s healing qualities in many salves and cosmetics but can also be used to create paint, varnishes, lubricants, and much more. The high fiber content of hemp makes it a natural resource for building materials, papermaking, and even biodegradable plastics. Hemp is a presently viable environmentally sound energy source.

CBD…The Legal Facts!

State CBD laws are all different from each other and are all narrowly focused. Additionally, and more importantly, none of the State CBD laws are controlling over the General CBD laws. Currently, sixteen states have enacted laws regarding CBD. These states are: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The real issue is the relationship between these State CBD laws and the General CBD laws. To the extent that the State CBD laws specifically govern CBD, as opposed to hemp oil formulations containing THC in levels that are otherwise prohibited, State CBD laws are simply and wholly subsumed by the General CBD laws. To be more blunt, they are irrelevant and unenforceable. Aside from the State specific laws allowing THC at levels not otherwise permitted, State CBD laws are nothing more than toothless creatures, unable to do any harm (or good), except to confuse the issue.

The legality or illegality of CBD is primarily based on its source. This is strange, for sure. But it’s an unintended result of the case and statutory law that has grown up around hemp. In particular, hemp from abroad, which has been legal for many years, has a different “legal genealogy” from domestic hemp, which has only been legal to cultivate in the US since 2014.

Domestically sourced CBD: If CBD is extracted from the “marijuana” plant (ie, more than 0.3% THC) then it is Federally illegal. If it is extracted from the “industrial hemp” plant pursuant to state hemp laws that comply with the 2014 Farm Bill then it is legal within that state. Based on section 763 of the the 2015 Omnibus Spending Bill no Federal Funds can be used to interfere with hemp (or its products) so long as it was cultivated in a hemp-legal state. This provision explicitly extends to non-interference in states that have not enacted hemp laws. (This funding issue is essentially the same issue that was addressed in the MMJ context in the 9th Circuit McIntosh case.) So, from a practical standpoint state-legal hemp products are Federally legal throughout the US. However, since the Omnibus Spending bill only affects funding, it doesn’t trigger the Supremacy Clause (the clause in the Constitution that says Federal law trumps state law); therefore, states in which hemp and its products remain illegal and who do not utilize Federal Funds (to the extent that any such states actually exist) can enforce their anti-cannabis laws to prohibit CBD sales or use.

Foreign sourced CBD: If the CBD is sourced from an “industrial hemp” plant from abroad, and it contains less than 0.3% THC, it is Federally legal in all 50 states pursuant to the Hemp Indus. cases. Furthermore, the Supremacy Clause is implicated with respect to foreign sourced hemp since the laws arise out of Federal cases deciding substantive issues of law and not through a funding provision, making those CBD products legal under state law, too. This is the major legal method by which CBD merchants are able to sell CBD nationwide. (The quality of foreign-sourced CBD can be more difficult to ascertain, for sure, but that’s an entirely different issue from the legal status.)

FDA “overlay”: Finally, the FDA has recently stepped and announced that edible products in which CBD has been added violate the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. This doesn’t apply to products made from CBD rich hemp oil, only those edible products to which CBD isolate has been added. As you are probably aware, the FDA also contends that CBD cannot be sold as a dietary supplement.

Intriguing issues remain in the CBD world, such as how to acquire certified hemp seed, how state medical CBD laws (like Carly’s Law, Rylie’s Law, Hayleigh’s Hope, etc.) play into the larger CBD and hemp scheme, and how the laws for CBD isolate differ slightly from the laws for CBD -rich “hemp oil”, particularly with respect to the FDA.

CBD Under Fire…Help Before it is to Late!!!

Yesterday, as long anticipated, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved GW Pharmaceutical’s Epidiolex, a cannabidiol (CBD) oral solution for the treatment of seizures associated with two forms of epilepsy.  Please see the FDA’s press release here, and this statement from the FDA’s Commissioner.

The US Hemp Roundtable has reviewed the release with its FDA counsel, Amin Talati Upadhye (ATU). Here are our preliminary conclusions:

  • Fundamentally, Epidiolex’s approval has no legal impact on the sale of hemp-derived CBD.
  • The FDA focuses its concern on the “proliferation and illegal marketing of unapproved CBD-containing products with unproven medical claims.”  The agency notes that its recent Warning Letters have been aimed at companies that make such “unproven medical claims.”  The Roundtable applauds the FDA’s efforts to target bad actors in the industry who undermine legitimate hemp-derived products by making unproven claims. We look forward to working with federal and state agency officials through our continuing efforts to develop standards, best practices and a self-regulated organization (SRO) for the industry.
  • In ATU’s informed opinion, the arguments related to the marketing of hemp-derived CBD as a dietary supplement remain the same as before FDA’s approval of Epidiolex.  ATU contends that hemp-derived CBD was marketed as a food or dietary supplement prior to the institution of substantial clinical investigation of Epidiolex that was made public by GW Pharmaceuticals, and even prior to the date on which FDA authorized the article for investigation as a drug. This would mean that dietary supplement versions of hemp-derived CBD would be permissible.
  • Given that the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex raises the visibility of hemp-derived CBD products, it is even more critical that Congress passes the Hemp Farming Act to permanently establish hemp and hemp-derived products as agricultural commodities, removing them from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act.  We encourage supporters of hemp and hemp-derived CBD to use our web portal to contact their Congressmen today to urge them to support passage of the Hemp Farming Act.

SEND A LETTER TO YOUR U.S. SENATORS!

 

Support Our Efforts

Our GoFundMe campaign is still up and running – and we need your help to keep educating fellow West Virginians about the benefits of industrial hemp. Please consider supporting our efforts by making a donation. (You’ll get some pretty cool rewards, too.)

West Virginia Hemp Week Events

 

Parkersburg, WV

Location: 113 Ann Street Parkersburg, WV 26101
Date: 06/05/2018 to 06/09/2018
Time: 11:00am to 4:00pm
Phone: (304) 917-9189

Each day we will focus on a different sector of the plan with educational workshops to accompany them. We will offer discounted products all week as well, as this event will be held in our retail store in downtown Parkersburg. Tues – Hemp Paper Education (Workshop to be scheduled to Elishewa Shalom) Wed – Hemp Construction (Presentation – WV hemp harmer Clay Condon has built a hemp house and is a business partner) Thurs – Hemp Nutraceuticals (Presentation – Bonnie Buchman (RN, PhD, MD) discussing cannabinoid therapeutic potential) Fri – How to Farm Hemp (Presentation – Morgan Leach will be presenting the application and developmental process of farming hemp) Sat – Legislative Support (Workshop – Morgan Leach writing your representatives to support industrial hemp legislation at the local, state, and federal level.

Thomas, WV

Location: 216 East Ave Thomas, WV 26292
Date: 06/08/2018
Time: 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Phone: (304)599-4906

Come celebrate Hemp History Week all week long at Tip Top in historic Thomas, WV. There will be a table with hemp fabric swatches, rope, threads, historical information, stickers and buttons during the week and an event on Friday (Grass-fed Burger Night!), June 8, from 5:30-8pm. We will provide hemp treats to sample and New Belgium’s Hemperor HPA hemp beer will be on tap (it’s delicious.) Come on out and experience the many uses of hemp!!!

Lewisburg, WV

Location: WV State Fair grounds 947 Maplewood Ave Lewisburg, WV 24901
Date: 06/09/2018 to 06/10/2018
TIme: 8:00pm to 2:00pm
Phone: (304)646-3215

Join us to celebrate National Hemp History Week! Learn more of the history of hemp in WV, the nation and the bright future Hemp is bringing back now! “Hemp can be catalyst for agriculture in West Virginia providing farmers with a high yield cash crop, but the real impact will come in the downstream industries that will provide jobs in both the industrial and energy sectors of the state.” Hemp has the potential of becoming a significant commercial industry for the U.S. Currently, the U.S. imports more hemp than any other country in the world, and the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. reached $573 million in 2015, according to Hemp Industries Association. Allowing hemp to be grown domestically on a commercial scale would provide a significant economic boost to U.S. processors and manufacturers”.~Morgan Leach WV Farmers Co-op For the first time since World War II, hemp seeds will be legally planted in West Virginia. Industrial Hemp is the best source of CBD Oil for possible health benefits that rival those of medical marijuana that is legal and available without prescriptions or cards. It is below the FDA legal limit of 0.3% THC. It contains a wealth of cannaboids and healthy Omegas! Industrial hemp is used to produce paper, food, fuel, textiles, fabrics, bioplastics, and building and construction materials. 🌎 By the mid-1600s, hemp had become an important part of the economy in New England, and south to Maryland and Virginia. The Colonies produced cordage, cloth, canvas, sacks and paper from hemp during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Most of the fiber was then destined for British consumption, although at least some was used for domestic purposes. Ironically, the first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were penned on hemp paper. 📜 Hemp fiber was so important to the young Republic that farmers were compelled by patriotic duty to grow it, and were allowed to pay taxes with it. George Washington grew hemp and encouraged all citizens to sow hemp widely. Thomas Jefferson bred improved hemp varieties, and invented a special brake for crushing the plant’s stems during fiber processing.

Facebook Event Link: Click Here 

Berkeley Springs, WV

Location: 25 Troubadour Lane Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
Date: 06/09/2018 to 06/09/2018
Time: 8:00am to 12:00am
Phone: (304)258-9381

All Grassed Up is joining us to wrap up Hemp History Week 2018! No cover charge, we are here to spread the word, listen to great music and have fun. Petitions and literature will be on hand as well as someone to answer questions and provide information regarding the uses and benefits of industrial hemp. Weather permitting, we will be set up in the park with the outdoor stage. We thank both Promising Leith and All Grassed Up for helping us put these events together for Hemp History Week.

Facebook Event Link: Click Here

New Martinsville, WV

Location: Wetzel County Farmers Market, Bruce Park, New Martinsville, WV 26155
Date: 6/14/18
Time: 3:30-6:00
Phone: n/a

Come see The Garden Path to learn, sample, and find out what you can do to support growing industrial hemp in WV! The Garden Path grows and provides old-time varieties of produce, herbs, and plants grown in as natural environment as possible. It will be a HEMPTASTIC time!

The story of the Rodale Institute’s pioneering research on organic, no-till farming of hemp in Pennsylvania. Their hemp study focuses on hemp’s benefit to soil health and crop rotations within a regenerative agriculture model, and will provide farmers the necessary tools and knowledge to successfully farm hemp commercially once federal prohibition of the crop is lifted. Learn more about Hemp History Week, June 4 -10, 2018, and sign up to get involved at www.hemphistoryweek.com

 

National Hemp Lobby Day June 7, 2018

     Mark your calendars and join us in Washington, DC for Hemp Lobby Day on Thursday June 7th  and make your voice heard! Last year, hemp advocates conducted over 75 meetings with members and their staff and educated them on the need for legislation to allow for full commercial hemp farming at the state level.  To date, thirty-four states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. Join us in helping pass the Hemp Farming Act.

     “The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 would remove industrial hemp from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and allows it to be regulated as an agricultural crop. The bill places federal regulatory authority of hemp with USDA and requires State departments of agriculture to file their hemp program plans with USDA but allows them to regulate hemp cultivation per their State specific programs. In addition to defining hemp as cannabis that contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight, the bill asserts a ‘whole plant’ definition of hemp, including plant extracts.  If passed, the bill would remove roadblocks to the rapidly growing hemp industry in the U.S., notably by authorizing and encouraging access to federal research funding for hemp, and remove restrictions on banking, water rights, and other regulatory roadblocks the hemp industry currently faces. The bill would also explicitly authorize crop insurance for hemp.”[1]

     This event is organized by Vote Hemp and Agricultural Hemp Solutions. Click below to sign up to attend and they will schedule meetings with your Senators and Representative and prepare materials to make your day successful. Don’t miss this opportunity to help us make history by bringing back commercial hemp farming in the U.S.

RSVP:

Click Here

 

Food and Farm Gathering – March 14 – SIGN UP HERE!

Would you like the chance to meet the new the WV Commissioner of Agriculture, Kent Leonhardt and Dep. Commissioner Joe Hatton? 
Well, you’re in luck! We’re hosting an evening with them on March 14th at the VFW Post 7048 in Fairmont!  T he evening will include an opportunity to speak about local food and agriculture, hear the Commissioner’s vision for agriculture in WV, and we’ll provide an opportunity for the Commissioner to answer your questions!
The event is FREE and open to the community! Help us know how much food to prepare by RSVPing Here –– you can even toss your question into the hat!
Date: Tuesday, March 14th
Time: 6-9PM
Location: VFW Post 7048 1310 Morgantown Ave. Fairmont, WV 26554

 

WVHIA Launches Go Fund Me Campaign to Support Hemp as WV’s New Niche Crop

Support Hemp – WV’s New Niche Crop

PARKERSBURG, W.VA. – Governor Justice is looking for the state’s next niche crop. The West Virginia Hemp Industries Association (WVHIA) launches a Go Fund Me campaign to support industrial hemp as the state’s new niche crop. The WVHIA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade association that represents farmers, businesses, researchers and investors working with industrial hemp in West Virginia. They are requesting support for education, advocacy, and outreach efforts to assist in developing the state’s capacity to profit from this new cash crop.

Industrial hemp became legal last year for cultivation, research, and marketing purposes in West Virginia. The program has gained considerable interest not only from the farmers of the state, but also from state leadership. Newly elected Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt has expressed interest in the potential for hemp and has supported legislation to expand access for farmers and researchers to enter the pilot program. You can lean more about efforts to develop the crop at wvhia.org and wvhemp.org. You can donate to their campaign to at Support Hemp – WV’s New Niche Crop.

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Hemp Farma v. Big Pharma: The battle over CBD – OPPOSE H.B. 2526

The Pharmacy Board of the state with the highest opioid addiction rate recommends “cannabidiol” (CBD) to protect interests in future drug.

West Virginia has gained a reputation for having the worst opioid problem in the U.S.  The state attorney general has been forced to sue pharmaceutical companies for “flooding” the state with pills that have contributed to the widespread addiction crisis.[1] Companies are alleged to have “incentivized” opioid sales through illegal means and show no intentions of stopping.

“Even after we charged them civilly and took civil fines after them, even after they had memorandums of understanding that they knew what to do now, three years later, they started violating the law again,” said Joe Rannazzisi, previously with the DEA for 29 years in an interview with CBS News. [2]

Their has been considerable debate over the scheduling of CBD after the industry has taken off in America, expected to grow to $2.1 billion by 2020 according to Forbes. The crux of the debate is in the interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (“CSA) and the Agricultural Act of 2014 (“Farm Bill”). Further rules have been proposed by the DEA to include CBD on the schedule under the controversial Marihuana Extract Rule that is currently being challenged by the Hemp Industries Association. The main question for hemp farmers is whether the CBD derived from Hemp permitted under Section 7606 of the Farm Bill is subject to control under the CSA.

According to the Ninth Circuit, that answer is clearly no.

“naturally occurring cannabinoids are not unlawful substances per se. In Hemp Indus. Ass’n. v. DEA, 357 F.3d 1012 (9th Cir. 2004), the Ninth Circuit ruled that naturally occurring cannabinoids in industrial hemp foods, including oil, were never scheduled under the CSA; therefore, the DEA has no jurisdiction. This means that naturally occurring industrial hemp cannabinoids are federally legal in the view of the Ninth Circuit.” Hoban Law Group

Further, “under the CSA, the DEA can regulate foodstuffs and related products containing natural THC if it is contained within “marijuana,” and can regulate synthetic THC of any kind. But they cannot regulate naturally-occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana–i.e., non-psychoactive industrial hemp products–because non-psychoactive industrial hemp is not included in Schedule I, as set forth above. This is because statutes must be interpreted strictly and pursuant to their specific terms, and because the DEA has no authority to regulate drugs that are not scheduled.” Hoban Law Group

GW Pharmaceuticals has submitted Epidiolex and Sativex to the FDA for approval. The rules state that CBD is not legal for sale as a dietary supplement, provided that CBD has never been “marketed” as a dietary supplement before investigational trials had begun. The FDA claims that there is no evidence that CBD was ever marketed as a supplement, and is therefore not exempt from the rule. However, this finding has been challenged by the Hemp Industries Association and others who saw this coming.

“The industry and I were part of this, we responded in spades in the sense that we provided literally reams of documents and information that shows that CBD was marketed as a dietary supplement long prior to the believed date of application of GW Pharma,” said Hoban, managing partner of the law firm Hoban & Feola, LLC, during an interview for a “Healthy INSIDER Podcast.”

The WV Board of Pharmacy has prompted the WV Legislature to reschedule CBD. Delegate Joe Ellington, Chair for the House Health and Human Resources Committee, is the lead sponsor for amending H.B. 2526. This bill would attempt to amend the state Controlled Substance Act and make CBD sale and use illegal without a prescription. However, CBD has not been defined as a drug by the FDA at this time and is a blatant attempt by the pharmaceutical lobby to monopolize the market before their drugs even get approved. This bill is putting the cart way before the horse by recommending that CBD be placed on the schedule before it is approved by the FDA.

“HB2526 (f)  Notwithstanding any provision of the code to the contrary, the sale, wholesale, distribution or prescribing of a cannabidiol in a product approved by the Food and Drug Administration is permitted and shall be placed on the schedule as provided for by the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

The pharmaceutical companies are now fighting for the very drug they lobbied against in the past. The hypocrisy of this situation is astounding. Further, CBD has potential to diminish addictive behaviors according to recent studies, and could be of real benefit to successful treatment and recovery.[3] Big Pharma may now be trying to profit from the very situation they helped to create.

The WVHIA is calling on all West Virginian’s who have been adversely impacted by the opioid crisis to ask their representatives to oppose H.B. 2526 We cannot reward Big Pharma by allowing them to pass this bill. WVHIA Director J. Morgan Leach made the following comment:

“Natural alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs are under attack by Big Pharma. H.B. 2526 attempts to monopolize the CBD market and prevent nutraceutical companies from producing natural versions of their synthetic equivalent.  It’s analogous to requiring a prescription for  aspirin and then making competing supplements such as turmeric or Vitamin C illegal.”

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[1] West Virginia sues Prescription Drug Wholesalers for “Flooding” State – Insurance Journal. http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2016/01/11/394577.htm

[2] West Virginia Is Suing McKesson Corporation For Incentivizing Opioid Sales – CBS News. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/05/25/west-virginia-is-suing-mckesson-corporation-for-incentivizing-opioid-sales/

[3] The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy – Pharmacol Rev. 2006 Sep; 58(3): 389–462. doi:  10.1124/pr.58.3.2 available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2241751/

[4] Cannabidiol: Pharmacology and potential therapeutic role in epilepsy and other neuropsychiatric disorders – Addictive Behavior (p. 12) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4707667/pdf/nihms578159.pdf

W.Va. Farmers Support H.B. 2453!


Just this morning, our governor expressed his support for new niche crops in WV. “We don’t need to have 500 nichecrops,” Justice said. “It may be as simple as having two or three.” The State Journal – Niche Crops Could Make Agriculture Mean Even Bigger Business in W.Va. With your support on H.B. 2453, industrial hemp could be one of those important niche crops that will support our state’s agricultural sector and the diversification of our state’s economy. Expanding access for farmers toenter the pilot program will help establish industrial hemp as a new niche crop for West Virginia. We need cash crops to improve our current farming operations. Expanding the program will increase the supply chain for industrial hemp and justify investment needed for specialized equipment and infrastructure. Please email your delegates in the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee to vote YES on H.B. 2453 in support of the farmers of this state!