DEERFIELD — A bunch of state representatives representing the Joint Committee on Hashish Coverage toured Bar-Means Farm’s hemp area on Friday afternoon for an on-the-ground perspective of the business.
The tour was the ultimate cease on the committee’s journey across the Pioneer Valley’s hemp and hashish industries. The group additionally made stops in Holyoke and on the New England Remedy Entry (NETA) dispensary in Northampton.
Peter Melnik, Bar-Means Farm’s proprietor, gave the legislators a hay-wagon tour round his property, the place he thanked the legislators for popping out, but additionally highlighted a few of the challenges of working inside Massachusetts’ laws on his 30-acre hemp area.
“The principles and laws, for a layman like me, they make no sense,” Melnik mentioned. “We as a rustic should recover from the truth that hemp isn’t marijuana.”
Whereas on the wagon experience, Melnik talked concerning the stringent testing and harvesting insurance policies the state has in place. Every pattern taken by the state will need to have 0.3 % or much less THC in it; in any other case it can’t be bought. If a area has three “sizzling” checks in a row, the sphere should be destroyed. The sector should even be harvested inside 15 days of the take a look at; in any other case, it should be destroyed. He mentioned the state supervises the destruction and it’s a waste of a usable useful resource, however they should play by the foundations.
“Massachusetts kind of stumbles in harvesting,” Melnik mentioned. “We actually simply put our head down and gamble.”
He added that the state is “toeing the federal line” with regards to regulation — marijuana continues to be unlawful federally — and he mentioned he will get the sensation the state makes it tough to develop hemp, regardless of its variations from marijuana.
“I really feel just like the state is making an attempt to make me a legal,” Melnik mentioned. “I’m only a farmer making an attempt to develop a crop.”
Past the difficulties of state laws, Melnik mentioned the “wealthy soil” of Franklin County is a good place to develop hemp and the plant has “a number of potential” to change into one of many nation’s main exports together with staples like corn.
“Massachusetts goes to be a spot, the Pioneer Valley goes to be a spot the place hemp is grown,” Melnik mentioned. “I applaud the Legislature and governor for believing hemp might be grown in Massachusetts.”
Bar-Means Farm sends all of its hemp harvests to Heritage CBD in Northampton. Melnik mentioned the corporate does a number of its enterprise exterior of Massachusetts due to laws and it’s “sitting on lots of of 1000’s of gallons of hemp oil.”
Melnik began rising hemp in 2019 and noticed it as one other alternative to maintain the farm rising, which was in step with how his great-grandfather grew onions, his grandfather grew tobacco and the way his dad is a “cow man.”
“This farm has accomplished a number of various things,” Melnik mentioned. “This isn’t Iowa, so we have now to maximise what we have now.”
State Rep. Daniel Donahue, D-Worcester, who’s the Home chair of the Joint Committee on Hashish Coverage, mentioned it was his first time touring a hemp farm and he’s “wanting ahead to all of the successes” of the business.
Donahue added that the tour was an opportunity to see how precise farmers have been affected by laws and gave some concepts on the right way to assist them navigate the laws.
“(The tour will assist) draft up extra laws and make it a extra profitable a part of our agriculture,” Donahue mentioned. “We’re holding a bunch of hearings and this offers us a concrete perspective on any legislative fixes.”
State Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, mentioned the cease at Bar-Means Farm was not initially part of the committee’s itinerary, however she organized it as a result of she felt the representatives wanted to see it to greatest perceive the business.
“That is the place it’s important to go. It’s probably the most revolutionary hemp farm,” Blais mentioned. “I made a promise to deliver Boston to Western Mass. and it’s so necessary for them to see this work.”
Chris Larabee might be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-930-4081.