Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/22/2017 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
01:58:24 PM Start
01:58:49 PM SB6
02:32:22 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Postponed to 30 Minutes After Adjournment --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
-- Above Item Removed from Agenda --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
               SB   6-INDUSTRIAL HEMP PRODUCTION                                                                            
1:58:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration  of SB 6 and stated the                                                               
intent is to take public testimony.                                                                                             
1:59:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY joined the committee.                                                                                             
2:01:34 PM                                                                                                                    
KAREN  BERGER,  representing  herself, Homer,  Alaska,  testified                                                               
that  she is  a  proponent of  industrial hemp.  It  is a  viable                                                               
product that  is good for  agriculture, the economy,  and dietary                                                               
2:02:30 PM                                                                                                                    
JACK BENNETT,  representing himself, Homer, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
support of  SB 6. He  encouraged committee members to  google his                                                               
name  followed by  hemp  to  learn about  his  team's efforts  on                                                               
sustainable  building. He  described presentations  he has  given                                                               
throughout  Alaska  on  sustainable  building and  an  oil  spill                                                               
recovery  product that  replaces  polypropylene technologies.  He                                                               
noted that he  has also given presentations  to the Environmental                                                               
Protection  Agency and  military emergency  prevention teams.  He                                                               
highlighted  that  his   bosses'  company  processes  plant-based                                                               
material that  helps fluid engineers  drill faster,  lighter, and                                                               
cheaper.  He  noted  that  last  summer  the  state  of  Oklahoma                                                               
purchased 100  million pounds of  hemp for their  oil reclamation                                                               
He emphasized  that industrial hemp  is not a  marijuana product.                                                               
It contains just trace amounts of  THC but the CannaBiDial or CBD                                                               
oil derived from hemp has profound medicinal purposes.                                                                          
CHAIR COGHILL said your enthusiasm is noted.                                                                                    
2:06:16 PM                                                                                                                    
DON  HART,  representing  himself,   Wasilla,  Alaska,  said  his                                                               
testimony on SB 6 relates  to the definitions in AS 11.71.900(14)                                                               
and  AS 17.38.900(10).  He requested  the  committee remove  hemp                                                               
entirely from  AS 17.38 because  despite the exemption,  it would                                                               
be  open  to interpretation  whether  hemp  would be  subject  to                                                               
regulation as marijuana. He also  pointed out that the definition                                                               
in AS 11.71.900(14) conflicts with AS 17.38.900(10).                                                                            
MR. HART  also pointed out  that if  the university were  to take                                                               
this as a pilot program it  would qualify for federal funding. He                                                               
noted the  university already has  a pilot program  for marijuana                                                               
and with the  combination, the governor could  declare the entire                                                               
state  a study  area for  the  cannabis industry.  He listed  the                                                               
areas  that  hemp could  be  used  including building  materials,                                                               
automobile parts,  and safety vests.  He concluded, "The  idea is                                                               
you have a tremendous amount of economic opportunity here."                                                                     
2:12:02 PM                                                                                                                    
KEN  RAY, representing  himself,  Wasilla,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 6. He has  been a horticulturist in  Alaska for 40                                                               
years and he  believes that legalizing industrial hemp  is a good                                                               
idea. He  said that regulation should  be kept to a  minimum, but                                                               
crop  inspection should  be required  to ensure  that the  plants                                                               
have not cross pollinated with  marijuana. This could potentially                                                               
raise the  THC level  above the  threshold. If  the hemp  has too                                                               
much  THC, the  crop should  be destroyed,  and the  owner should                                                               
bear the  cost. He opined that  hemp fields should be  posted "so                                                               
the   growers   can   protect  each   other   from   this   cross                                                               
He reported that in 1916  the Alaska Experiment Station grew hemp                                                               
in  Rampart and  posted  the  results. He  noted  that hemp  seed                                                               
currently  is  sold in  retail  stores  in  Alaska and  he  would                                                               
suggest there is an economic  opportunity for seed production for                                                               
livestock  feed. He  said home  gardeners may  also want  to grow                                                               
hemp and they too should be subject to the registration process.                                                                
2:17:19 PM                                                                                                                    
FRANK TURNEY, representing  himself, Fairbanks, Alaska, testified                                                               
in support  of SB  6. He  mentioned the  versatility of  the hemp                                                               
plant  and noted  that over  25,000  products are  made from  its                                                               
fiber  and  oil. He  stated  his  preference  to have  the  pilot                                                               
project run by  farmers rather than the  university. He suggested                                                               
the sponsor  or committee look  into how to transport  hemp seeds                                                               
to  Alaska  because   it  might  be  difficult   due  to  federal                                                               
CHAIR COGHILL said that is part  of the discussion, and the pilot                                                               
project is not limited to one entity.                                                                                           
MR. TURNEY  expressed hope that  hemp be  given a chance.  It has                                                               
economic opportunity and is the  fasted growing biomass on earth.                                                               
He can testify that it will grow in Alaska.                                                                                     
2:20:04 PM                                                                                                                    
EMBER HAYNES,  Denali Hemp Company, Talkeetna,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in  support of  SB 6.  She  said she  and her  husband have  been                                                               
importing hemp  oil and  hemp seed to  make natural  products for                                                               
their store  and they look  forward to  being able to  grow their                                                               
own.  She  said  her  testimony  comes from  the  heart  and  her                                                               
personal use. She  voiced support for the  pilot program focusing                                                               
on both large  and small acreages. She opined that  being able to                                                               
grow hemp  fits into the  sustainable lifestyle of  Alaskans. She                                                               
listed the  ways that hemp can  be used as a  food/protein source                                                               
including  hemp milk,  hemp flour,  and sprouted  hemp seeds  for                                                               
microgreens. She  expressed hope  that the  bill would  move from                                                               
CHAIR  COGHILL  said  it  is  not his  intention  to  impede  the                                                               
progress of the bill.                                                                                                           
2:23:53 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  OTNESS, representing  himself, Cordova,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in support  of SB 6. He  expressed support for coming  out of the                                                               
dark ages and being pragmatic  about viable crops in Alaska. This                                                               
is an opportunity to diversify  the economy and remove the stigma                                                               
of 1933  laws from  industrial hemp.  He discussed  the gardening                                                               
page he and a friend started  two years ago and the interest they                                                               
have stimulated  in the community of  Eyak to grow food  for both                                                               
Cordova and  four other communities around  Prince William Sound.                                                               
He   agreed  with   previous   testimony   that  the   industrial                                                               
opportunities  for  hemp  seem  to  be  endless.  He  listed  the                                                               
products   hemp  is   used  for   including  automobile   panels,                                                               
insulation, and building blocks.                                                                                                
He questioned  the assertion that  there would be a  problem with                                                               
cross  pollination  with  marijuana. His  understanding  is  that                                                               
serious  marijuana growers  hand  pollinate their  crop within  a                                                               
confined space.  He voiced support  for keeping regulations  to a                                                               
minimum  and  suggested  placing  the  pilot  program  under  the                                                               
Cooperative Extension Service.                                                                                                  
2:29:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL  stated  that  the   committee  is  working  on  a                                                               
committee substitute to protect a  farmer whose hemp crop tests a                                                               
little over the upper THC limit.                                                                                                
He held SB 6 in committee awaiting a committee substitute and                                                                   
kept public testimony open.                                                                                                     

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