Beach seeks hemp rule changes
by Ron Gregory
Morgantown — State Senator Bob Beach, Democrat candidate for West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, says he will seek changes to current Industrial Hemp Rules if elected.
Beach sees a missed opportunity for West Virginia as the state struggles to reap the rewards of a growing segment of our national stage, he said. Since 2018, the hemp industries has seen significant growth following the implementation of the Federal Farm bill.
“Forward thinking states have adopted rules to encourage the use of fallow acres, while West Virginia has taken a more
restrictive and inept approach… primarily creating hurdles to prevent lease agreements,” the Monongalia County.senator maintains.
“Case in point, West Virginia currently places a burden on land owners to have background checks prior to leasing to hemp farmers. Virginia simply asks a land owner if she or he has
ever been convicted of a felony. West Virginia maintains a full background check is needed for both land owner and farmer alike” the candidate explained.
Beach seeks to streamline the process and mirror the preliminary request to that of Virginia: “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
Secondly, Beach said he will focus on getting tests processed more timely and efficiently. “Time and time again we hear stories of plant testing being delayed for numerous reasons, which leads to test results exceeding the federal THC level of 0.03%, thus forcing entire fields to be destroyed,” he said. “Furthermore, farmers lack the ability to appeal the decision of the WV Department of Agriculture beyond the one person review board. To date not one of the farmers has been
successful in overturning the original decision mandating destruction of their crop,” he added.
“It’s not too late, West Virginia can still be a significant hemp player within a global arena. Hemp is a multi-billion dollar industry, with innovative value-added product ideas coming to light with each passing day. We just need someone to
lead the charge, rather than being an anchor holding us back.” Beach said. “I will establish a no-excuse policy. You need assistance…we’re there for you. Need your field tested…consider it done. One apparent problem is labor to conduct testing. This can be readily addressed simply by employing seasonal interim employees to retrieve samples. Many retirees look for part-time employment. What a great way to be outside during nice weather, and supplement your income.” Beach concluded.