Weed Growers Approve of Industrial Hemp Permit Hiatus

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Marijuana Leaf at Pacific Cannabis Co, 08/25/15, (KTVL/Megan Allison)

By Megan Allison/KTVL.com

Medford —

The Oregon Department of Agriculture announced it will not issue industrial hemp permits for the 2016 growing season. They are putting a hiatus on permits until they consult policy makers and the industry

Adam Lipsky is a local marijuana grower and owner of supply shop Pacific Cannabis. He said in Southern Oregon the climate is conducive to growing hemp.

“It is a long summer season that is dry but not too dry so we get a lot of sun with not a lot of humidity,” he said.

Lipsky said the climate could lead to an industrial hemp industry in Southern Oregon over time.

“I see it happening based upon the agricultural system that we have here. I am worried about it and suggest that if the state or counties are going to allow it that they put some serious restrictions on it,” he said.

Local growers fear that industrial growth of hemp will lead to cross-pollination of marijuana plants.

“Industrial hemp growing is not as controlled as what we do. So therefore pollen can get out and can carry up to three miles on a bee and up to 2,000 miles depending on weather conditions,” Lipsky said.

Hemp plants are male and THC-based plants are female. This allows cross-pollination to easily occur.

Max Berk is a sales associate at Pacific Cannabis. He said when cross-pollination happens the seed growth decreases the quality of THC.

“With cross pollination you can get seed growth with the female plants in the area for all the medicinal patients,” Berk said.

Berk said Southern Oregon could benefit from products such as rope and fuel that the plant creates.

“There are positives to having industrial hemp grow. I’m not completely sure about in the area with all the medicinal grows that are around here and everybody that would be affected by that,” he said.

So far the department has issues 13 permits to grow hemp around Oregon, including two in Southern Oregon.