TOWN OF MARLBOROUGH – It’s related to marijuana but missing one key component – THC, which get you loopy.  Hemp, known and used for thousands of years, has long existed as an industrial product.  Today, hemp is a heavily regulated product at the state and federal level, with many current and evolving beneficial uses.

A new farmer-owned cooperative in the Hudson Valley, calling itself “Hempire State Growers” is taking an educational approach.  The growers invited lawmakers for a “Lunch and Learn for Legislators” in Marlboro Thursday afternoon.

One of the organizers was Gail Hepworth, of Hepworth Farms.

“Our mission is not for the Hudson Valley to be only growing hemp,” Hepworth said.  “Our mission is to keep Hudson Valley farmers growing fruits and vegetables and grain crops.  So, this is a crop that we will plant as a rotation and an economic anchor.  We’re using it as an economic anchor to secure a viability of our farm.”

Owen Martinetti, an end-user, is CEO of Naturae Premier Plant Extraction.  The new company focuses on producing the reliable organic CBD oils and processing capabilities for East Coast farmers.

Martinetti is not comfortable with how the state is handling issues including CBD oil (crude broad-spectrum distillate) which can be used, in small amounts in beverages and may eventually be used in food.

“Right now, essentially, they’re not well-equipped to handle what’s going on in the CBD industry and our group is really trying to just work with people that are putting these laws in place,” Martinetti said.

Among the lawmakers attending the 90-minute session was Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson (D, Newburgh) who said most of his fellow state lawmakers are onboard.

“I think the more information they have, the better it’s going to be,” Jacobson said.  “So the more they have it, they know what’s going on, they know the potential for jobs and business development and also for the businesses that support agriculture, the better it’ll be for everybody.”

The New York State Cannabis Growers and Processors Association drafted proposed legislation that would give “… greater clarity on how New York State plans on regulating hemp.”

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