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On July 25, Virginia State University will host its third annual Industrial Hemp Field Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the university’s Gateway Conference Center in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

The event will provide a forum for potential growers, researchers, marketing experts and industrial hemp product users to discuss the future of the crop in Virginia and neighboring states. Attendees will receive an update on the legislation governing industrial hemp production in Virginia as well as learn about the challenges and opportunities for cultivating this crop.

Speakers will also discuss the wide variety of products derived from industrial hemp. For example, hemp stalks can be used to produce biofuel, paper, upholstery, fiber for cloth and other textile items, building materials, and industrial products. Industrial hemp seeds can be used to produce animal feed and human food as well as serve as a source of oil for lotion and cosmetic products. Industrial hemp flowers can also be used to produce cannabidiol oil for a variety of medicinal uses.

Registration is $50 per person for the first 100 registered. It is $65 per person afterward. Registration includes lunch and is limited to the first 400 registrants. To register, visit www.ext.vsu.edu/industrial-hemp.

During the 2019 General Assembly session, Virginia lawmakers amended the state’s industrial hemp laws to align with language in the 2018 Farm Bill passed by congress last December. They amended the definitions of cannabidiol oil, marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol to exclude industrial hemp in the possession of a registered person, hemp products, or an oil containing no more than 0.3% THC. As passed, the bill defines “industrial hemp” as any part of the plant Cannabis sativa that has a concentration of THC that is no greater than that allowed by federal law, and it defines “hemp product” as any finished product that is otherwise lawful and that contains industrial hemp. The bill adds the category of “dealer” in industrial hemp to the existing registration categories of grower and processor.

As a result of these changes, Virginia farmers can now apply to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for a permit to grow industrial hemp for purposes beyond exclusively for research. The Department reports that it has experienced a surge in grower and processor applications since December.

For more information, contact Laverne Morris at lmorris@vsu.edu or 804-524-5151.

The 2019 Industrial Hemp Field Day is hosted by the university’s Agricultural Research Station, part of the university’s College of Agriculture.

Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension.

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