North Carolina agriculture chief blasts DEA over hemp confusion

North Carolina’s top hemp regulator is sick of interference from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a speech at the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh last week that the federal drug agency is not supposed to use any resources to intervene in the growing and processing of hemp, Southeast FarmPress reported.

“That’s the furthest thing from the truth,” Troxler said.

“DEA still considers industrial hemp marijuana, a (Schedule 1) narcotic, and they regulated it that way.”

Troxler said during the speech that state agriculture officials need to demand hemp clarity from Congress, according to Southeast FarmPress.

“It’s almost impossible to operate if this continues going forward,” Troxler said, “so we asked for all of this to be clarified.

“When we get that done, then there is an opportunity for expansion.”

North Carolina had 97 hemp growers spread across 2,000 acres in 2017.

The state expects increased interest this year but doesn’t have a final count on how many plan to produce hemp in 2018.

Troxler pointed out that market potential is especially strong for CBD flower, according to Southeast FarmPress, but said the sale of such products is “pretty much illegal.”

“We can grow hemp legally. We can grow the flowers that go into making CBD oil,” he said.