A Canadian company plans to launch a large, industrial hemp operation in northern Maine this year in the latest sign of burgeoning interest in the versatile yet tightly regulated crop.
Future Farm Technologies recently purchased 120 acres in the Aroostook County town of Amity and plans to lease another 100 acres for an operation that would dwarf all of Maine’s current licensed hemp farms. Future Farm also reportedly secured a lease option on an additional 1,000 acres in Amity, a town of fewer than 250 residents located south of Houlton along the Maine-New Brunswick border.
Maine began issuing hemp grower licenses in 2016 amid a national push to expand legal cultivation of a crop used in rope, clothing, skin care and other products. Although industrial hemp lacks the psychoactive properties of its cannabis cousin, marijuana, it is still tightly regulated by the federal government. And there is considerable uncertainty within the industry about the Trump administration’s attitude toward hemp and marijuana, which is now legal both for medical and recreational use in eight states, including Maine.
Neither a representative for Future Farm, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, nor the farm’s current operator, Derek Ross of the Massachusetts-based firm Cannatech LLC, returned calls last week from the Portland Press Herald. But in recent announcements, the company indicated it had plans to produce a non-intoxicating cannabis oil known as cannabidiol, or CBD, from the Maine hemp. According to medical marijuana users and advocates, highly concentrated CBD is sometimes the most effective treatment for some types of debilitating seizure disorders but is also used to alleviate symptoms in a host of other diseases or ailments.
“We are thrilled to be able to acquire this prime land to farm hemp as we will leverage our oil extraction techniques into the CBD business,” Future Farm CEO Bill Gildea said in a written statement announcing the 120-acre purchase.
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Source: Cannabis Business Times