Valley Senator Shelley Hughes has been a strong, vocal supporter of hemp, seeing it as a boost to flagging Alaska agriculture. She has not read the proposed regulations, she confessed on a FB post. I certainly hope she does, and thinks through the 48 pages of regulations and what they really mean in practice.
Plant Materials Center head plant guru, Rob Carter, is busy growing all sorts of varieties of hemp. He'll be the one who decides what can be grown here for all Alaska. So it would seem that the subject is well in hand, guided by the knowledgeable folks in state government.
The proposed regulations can be found here: Proposed Industrial Hemp Regulations
Points to ponder:
*The fee schedule-copied here for all to read...........
11 AAC 40.100. Fee schedule. The following fees are established for registration and participation in the Alaska Industrial Hemp Program;
(1) non-refundable application fee for a registration: $100.00;
(2) non-refundable application fee for a renewal registration: $50.00;
(3) annual registration fee for a grower: $200.00;
(4) annual registration fee for a processor that creates a product not intended for human or animal consumption: $250.00;
(5) annual registration fee for a processor that creates a product intended for human or animal consumption: $750.00;
(6) annual registration fee for a retailer: $300.00;
(7) endorsement fee for each industrial hemp product subject to Article 4 of this chapter: $100.00;
(8) transportation permit issued under 11 AAC 40.710: $50.00;
(9) modification of product endorsement: $100.00;
(10) modification of registration: $50.00;
(11) collection fee under 11 AAC 40.260 for the division or the division’s representative to collect samples from harvest of industrial hemp: $200.00; and
(12) testing of seeds of wild, landrace, or unknown origin under 11 AAC 40.220: $1,200.00.
*The regulations give the Division of Agriculture police powers. That is, the power to enter private property, seize and/or destroy private property in violation of the regulations.
*Minimum number of plants: 200.
*Cannot grow, store, or process them within a residence.
*Minimum acreage: One quarter. Whether this means lot size, or garden patch, is not clear.
*Minimum separation distance: 1,000 meters, or about 3300 feet. You must also provide GPS co-ordinates on your application. Not to the property-but where exactly on the property the plant is.
*Other states have already certified varieties of hemp, for the three main uses: for CBD products, for fiber, and for animal feed. Some of those are northern latitude states, where growing conditions are similar. Instead, Alaska will have whatever performs best in the micro climate surrounding the PMC in Palmer. And instead of allowing certified seed sales to Alaska, and letting the growers themselves figure it out, the Division is doing all that work for your benefit. (*cough cough* Because Kenai, Talkeetna, Fairbanks, Big Lake, and Glenallen have identical growing seasons, riiiiiight?)
*The fees alone, preclude the participation of small farms and hobbyists-a large number of those folks would give hemp a try-even if only for the novelty.
*The distance between growing locations condition could be a huge obstacle for semi-rural and suburban growers. (This is on a par for liquor licensing and schools, for example)
So, your chances of being able to go to your local greenhouse or nursery, and try your hand at growing some seeds for your livestock, or fiber for your new loom, are positively zero. Who is going to pay the state $1,350 so they can sell a few flats of hemp? Oh and by the way, everyone has to register and pay the fees listed above, which would include each and every customer.
Here again, the State of Alaska is picking winners and losers. The winners?
Keyword: Industrial. As in, only large, corporate farms will be able to participate.
Every other Alaskan interested.