This is a letter to all Georgia politicians sharing my perspective on the current hemp bill .
Greetings Georgia Politicians!
I hope this message finds you well, and with a few minutes to spare to hear from a Georgia citizen.
A little about myself- I am an entrepreneur with multiple businesses in North Georgia, owner of a small Georgia hemp farm (licensed), and father of a child who has utilized CBD to naturally treat his immune disease since 2012. With all of these experiences in my life, I believe I have a valid and expansive perspective on the current hemp bill.
Below I express some of the main issues I found in the current hemp farm bill, and some solutions that would be preferable and helpful for the growth of the hemp industry in Georgia, in my opinion.
Issues with the current bill-
- Small farmers have a hard time applying for a license
- Small farmers are restricted to only the genetics their processors approve (no freedom of choice for farmers, no room for breeding or experimental genetics in industry without processor approval)
- Small farmers cannot process their own hemp on a small scale
- Farmers cannot process into flower/smokable products (estimated to be a major part of the industry in other states)
- Overlooks any raw hemp benefits, and excludes raw hemp juicing, sprouting and other forms of ingestion for personal use
- Current bill is catered toward big business and leaves out the small farmer
Positive aspects of the proposed changes-
- Small farmers will not be restricted by processor requirements (1,000 plants per acre, specific strains, farming techniques)
- Help small farmers achieve financial success easier in the hemp industry
- Small farmers would have ability to affect industry market growth and expansion
- GA farmers would have the ability to have a larger impact on the HEMP and CBD markets
- Farmers will be able to utilize the large market for flower products
- Small farmers will be able to process their own products on small scale
- Share industry equally between small and large farmers
- Ability for personal use and small scale licensing and processing
- Expanding farmers ability to utilize hemp agritourism industry
- Help to educate the public on hemp and its prospective benefits
- Allows farmers to practice sustainable farming techniques known for hundreds of years planting hemp in the summer and winter between spring and fall veggie crops to maintain soil integrity
Suggestions for bill changes-
1. Remove the requirement of licensee to contract with a processor
- Growing hemp for food and raw leaf juicing requires minimal or no processing
- Contracting with processor limits the farmer (minimal plants per acre, designated genetic requirements, processor growing mandates)
- Allows farmers to choose the product they grow, not the processors
- Allow market growth for genetic hemp breeders and other strain specific markets
2. Create a lower category small/starter grow license with a lower fee (limit of up to 500 plants total)
- Creates more income for state via licensing fees
- Gives citizens ability to grow hemp at home for their personal use (or for their family)
- Allows more small farmers to have test plots to assess future inclusion on their farm
- More licensees equals larger hemp market in total (more tests required, more plants sold, more jobs, etc)
- Allows farmers and researchers to grow for soil remediation, crop rotation, and crop bordering
3. Allow hemp flower sales in Georgia
- Gives farmers the ability to take advantage of the expanding hemp flower market
- Gives farmers ability to sell hemp flower (specialty market with larger profit margin)
- Helps farmers achieve financial success growing hemp
- More income for the state in total via larger Georgia hemp industry
4. Add personal use grow license (minimal license fee and plant limit of 40 plants total)
- Give citizens right to grow their own hemp plants for personal use- not for profit
- Let those who can’t afford CBD medicine to grow their own
- Allow citizens to grow for health reasons with the ability to juice leaves, or ingest in other raw methods
5. Create small scale, industrial and personal use processor licenses (if processor agreement is requirement)
- Lets farmers process their own hemp on a small scale
- Personal use variation for citizens right to utilize legal hemp and derivatives
- Expand ability for raw hemp use for those with license
- license fees for processors of grain, fiber and other industrial uses should be much lower.
6. Allow animal feed use for hemp farmers
- Hemp is a great feed alternative for most livestock
- Easy to grow for farmers
- Possible health benefits of feeding livestock raw or dry hemp
- Lets farmers feed trimmed leaves or culled plants to livestock, or sell hemp feed as a livestock product
7. Allow licensee to transport live hemp plants for educational purposes
- Gives more flexibility for farmers to expand in agritourism and educational industry
- Helps to educate public on hemp, which benefits the public and industry
- Lets farmers bring live plants to farmers markets, events, and other venues for educational purposes
Thank you for your time and attention, I hope you can consider the above points in your decision on the hemp farm bill for Georgia.
If you would like to learn more about hemp and the industry, feel free to reach out. I will be offering a free tour (online or in person) of my farm in Rabun county for all politicians, and would love to give you a tour of my farm. You’re welcome to schedule a personal tour of the farm at your convenience. Looking forward to speaking with you! I will give you a call within the next few days to discuss this further.
I have included some links to relevant articles related to the statements above.
William A. Rodriguez
Owner, Archaic Farmstead
Silver Fox Rabbit Breeder & CBD Hemp Farm
email | firstname.lastname@example.org
phone | 404.456.9932
Owner & Artist, Archaic Roots
Indigenous instrument Education – instrument building workshops – visionary immersions
Owner, W.A.R. Graphic Arts
Web Design and Development
Owner, Georgia Hemp Grow Consultants
Hemp Growing Consultant Collective