First cargo of hemp in 84 years leaves Fowler by practice Tuesday

Josh Anderson (left) and Jeff Friedland, co-founders of Other World Management, severed the ribbon on 17,000 pounds of industrial hemp grown with Golden State Hemp. Photo by Edward Smith

published April 21, 2021 – 1:31 p.m.
Written by Edward Smith

The first shipment of legal hemp, which has crossed the state border in 84 years, left Fowler by rail on Tuesday – a milestone in the deregulation of the hopefully 25,000-use facility.

Other World Management Inc. and Golden State Hemp have shipped 17,000 pounds of industrial hemp over the Union Pacific Rail to their research laboratory in Denver, Colorado, according to Jeff Friedland, co-founder of Other World Management.

There part of the hemp is used for clinical studies, while the rest is used for the extraction of CBD products.

Friedland compares the potential for medical use of CBD to the discovery of the blockchain, where the technology is only now reaching its potential.

Seventeen thousand pounds can add up to around 377 pounds of CBD oil, depending on the efficiency of the lab and the quality of the facility, Friedland said.

To get to this point, however, the acreage as well as the genetic facilities need to be coordinated to create better and more efficient crops. Golden State Hemp has genetics operations in Fresno as well as Wasco. They have departments in the Midwest and have grown genetics in six states.

Seventeen thousand pounds is only three to five acres of the 550 acres that Golden State Hemp has in Fresno County.

The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any CBD treatments in any overarching way. It’s approved Epidiolex – a CBD-derived treatment for seizures. According to the FDA website, three cannabis-related drugs have been approved so far.

After a spate of claims about the use of CBD to treat a variety of diseases, the FDA restricted the commercialization of CBD.

According to Friedland, FDA action shows they have a real interest in the medicinal value of CBD.

Golden State Hemp’s focus has been on medicinal uses, but they are also researching uses for hemp fiber.

Friedland says they have a unique process for turning stems and waste into biodegradable plastics.

“It’s unique to us, nobody else has this technology,” Friedland said. He said he hoped to be able to make biodegradable plastics cheaper than petroleum methods in the next few years.

Hemp was removed from a Schedule I controlled substance under the Hemp Cultivation Act in 2018. The federal government classifies it as a common agricultural product as long as it is tested below 0.3% THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana.

Friedland calls the limit an “unrealistic” guideline.

The timing of the tests is crucial, says Friedland, as these are very rare hemp tests with a 0.3% threshold once they’re on the shelf. But even the more common 1% THC is well below the 20% -30% recreational marijuana tests.

Higher percentages allow the plants to be more efficient.

Funding has long been an issue for cannabis companies. Federal law still prohibits hemp cousin, marijuana, and businesses from having to separate their cannabis operations in order to qualify for loans.

While hemp is legal nationwide, Friedland said he still hasn’t found a bank willing to provide loans for industrial hemp.

The House of Representatives on Monday passed the SAFE Banking Act, which established standards by which banks could not be penalized for lending to cannabis companies. The bill is now going to the Senate.

“For the first time, it’s the perfect storm with legislation trying to get green and consumers asking for more green products,” he said.