Among the most critical decisions a hemp cultivator makes is where to source seeds. Without a reliable provider for hemp seed genetics, cultivators risk losing an entire crop to disease, or worse, harvesting plants that test over acceptable limits for THC.
In Kentucky, for example, a company called Elemental Processing is suing HP Farms (an Oregon-based hemp seed supplier) for selling seeds that were mostly male instead of feminized, which produce hemp plants that are high in CBD (female plants are those that are grown to full maturity for eventual harvesting, whereas male plants die off shortly after having complete pollination). Elemental Processing is claiming damages of approximately $44 million in lost profits from the mix-up.
The suit underscores the tremendous risk that cultivators take when purchasing uncertified, high-CBD hemp seed genetics, says Robert Hoban, managing partner at Hoban Law Group and chairman of International Hemp Solutions (IHS). Through its Bija Hemp subsidiary, IHS licenses certified hemp seed varieties from the Polish Institute of Natural Fibers and Medicinal Plants, the world’s oldest industrial hemp institute.
According to Hoban, most hemp varieties that purportedly produce high yields of CBD come from sources which may or not deliver as promised, given that high-CBD hemp strains remain relatively new.