Charlotte hemp farmer warning others about the changes in licensing

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CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The industrial hemp pilot program was authorized in 2014. The recent decision to end the program means hemp farms will need to be licensed by the federal government no later than December 31, 2021, or cease operations.

“If we don’t get a USDA license, as far as growing, well just not be able to grow,” says Danielle Bartsch, a partner in Keep It Hemple CBD. “We’ll still have Keep It Hemple as a brand.”

However, farmers need to grow hemp to make the products like CBD and other materials for sale. Keep It Hemple is based in Charlotte, and the three-person team are growers and processors, meaning a license from the USDA keeps their business open during one of the fastest-growing times in the industry.

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“It’s supply and demand,” added Lorenzo McNulty, another partner with Keep It Hemple CBD. “So, when the supply legally cannot be produced, the demand has no choice but the skyrocket.”

According to the North Carolina Hemp Commission, there are 1,500 licensed hemp farmers, 13,950,029 licensed acres, and 1,302 registered processors. All are in jeopardy of closing unless they pass the FBI background check and get a license by January 1, 2022.

“Operating costs, we’re in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating costs,” said McNulty. “We’re not getting loans for hundreds of thousands of dollars because just the mentioning of the commodity that we are involved in blocks us and bars us from anything else.”

Famers want the state or federal government to set regulations so they can continue to help those who have turned to other methods of medicine.

“Some people who are doing chemo it’s helped them with nausea,” said Bartsch. “It’s helped anxiety, depression, so yeah, we would love to see all of the cannabis be legalized, at least medicinally.”

Currently, SB711, the North Carolina medical marijuana bill, also known as the NC Compassionate Act, has passed several committees but is a way from a full House and Senate vote.

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