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Tribe sells hemp to Oregon company


A hemp plant growing in the tribal crop in 2017. - Jacob Wagner photo

The Colville Confederated Tribes sold a portion of the hemp they grew in the Swawilla Basin area to a Hood River, Oregon company in late 2018.

"From what we received so far, we have cold pressed and bottled hemp seed oil and then milled and concentrated the expelled seeds/hulls into protein powder," said Tonia Farman from Hemp Northwest, whose products are sold under the brand name Queen of Hearts Hemp Foods.

Farman explained how the symbiotic relationship between them and the CCT developed. "Our relationship with the CCT was more collaborative than one reaching out to the other," she said. "We were brought to 'the table' together through mutual interests in building a sustainable hemp industry in Washington state, connected well, and developed a great farmer/processor business relationship. We plan on working with them in 2019, as well."

2018 was the second consecutive year the tribe has grown hemp, expanding from a 55-acre farm in 2017 to 120 acres.

"We are anticipating a yield of 500 to 800 pounds per acre on seed and 2.5 tons per acre of fiber," Jackie Richter of the tribe's Conservation District told The Tribal Tribune last August.

Farman said that, depending on grade, they pay between between 50 and 75 cents per pound for the product, but doesn't know how much they have bought yet because they haven't yet taken possession of it all.

Another part of the plant, the flower, is not yet allowed by state law to be harvested for its valuable cannabidiol or CBD, a chemical compound that, unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, doesn't get a person "stoned."

CBD is used in ointments and beauty products such as lotions and shampoos, and is also taken orally in foods or drops, and is said to be good for health issues.

A 2018 article in High Times entitled "What Is CBD (Cannabidiol) and What Does It Do?" claims researchers are finding that CBD is beneficial for pain relief, treating seizures, neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, fighting cancer, treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, reducing inflammation, and, unlike THC, doesn't produce any paranoia or other unpleasant qualities sometimes associated with marijuana.

A 2012 British Epilepsy Association paper shows evidence of CBD treating seizures, a 2006 Journal of Molecular Medicine paper shows CBD as an effective treatment for Alzheimer's, a 2015 paper in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology shows CBD as affecting tumors, and a 2015 article in the journal Neuroendocrinology offers evidence of CBD as being effective for treating PTSD.

"Allowing the farming and processing of flowers would open up the opportunity for a CBD industry to develop, which would most likely spur economic growth, especially in small farming communities," Farman said. "It can create quite a few jobs and opportunities through the development of businesses throughout the supply chain - from grower to processor to marketer/distributor. That's what has happened in Oregon, but there are rules in place in Washington that limit the same kind of growth, one of the main ones being the four-mile rule where hemp farmers cannot grow industrial hemp within a four-mile radius of a marijuana grow, which are everywhere in Washington."

The Colville hemp crop "was apparently the first Washington-grown hemp commercially processed since federal lawmakers allowed controlled cultivation four years ago," a Capital Press article from December 2018 states.

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