Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205

02/08/2017 03:30 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
03:30:07 PM Start
03:30:58 PM Overview: Mapping the State of Alaska
04:14:49 PM SB6
04:50:05 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overview on Mapping in Alaska TELECONFERENCED
United States Geologic Survey
Alaska Department of Transportation & Public
Alaska Department of Natural Resources
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
               SB   6-INDUSTRIAL HEMP PRODUCTION                                                                            
4:14:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GIESSEL  announced consideration  of  SB  6, sponsored  by                                                               
Senator  Hughes. It  proposes to  introduce industrial  hemp back                                                               
into  Alaska  as  an  agricultural  product  allowing  it  to  be                                                               
developed into value-added products.                                                                                            
4:15:35 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
4:18:05 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES,  sponsor  of SB  6,  Alaska  State  Legislature,                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska,  said  her  district includes  quite  a  bit  of                                                               
agricultural land.  So, last  spring former  Senator Ellis  had a                                                               
bill  on this  topic.  She got  a call  from  a highly  respected                                                               
farmer  in her  area  and former  Borough  Mayor Larry  DeVilbiss                                                               
expressing interest in  taking hemp out of  the criminal statutes                                                               
and putting it into the  agricultural statutes. During the course                                                               
of summer  and fall  in town  halls and  other forums,  she heard                                                               
various folks express  interest in that, as well,  and heard from                                                               
other farmers and innovative thinkers around the state.                                                                         
The  federal Farm  Act was  signed in  August and  guidelines are                                                               
being  rolled  out  now.  Today she  is  presenting  the  initial                                                               
version and as  more is learned about the  federal guidelines, it                                                               
will get updated.                                                                                                               
SENATOR HUGHES  said this  is one  more economic  opportunity for                                                               
farmers and  Alaskans. Interestingly,  hemp was legally  grown up                                                               
until 1937 in  our state. It has  25,000 industrial applications.                                                               
Centuries ago it  was used for canvas for ship  sails and covered                                                               
wagons, and  it was used for  the paper on which  the Declaration                                                               
of Independence was written.                                                                                                    
Federal law has changed and a  number of states have also changed                                                               
their laws to allow its growth.  Europe was a little bit ahead of                                                               
us and  prints bibles on  hemp paper, because it  doesn't yellow.                                                               
It's a  good option for  biofuels and construction  materials. In                                                               
fact,  a  gentleman in  Homer  is  building  a model  home  using                                                               
multiple  hemp products  for  drywall,  insulation, and  plywood.                                                               
Farmers are interested in it as a great feedstock for animals.                                                                  
4:21:41 PM                                                                                                                    
BUDDY WHITT,  staff to Senator Hughes,  Alaska State Legislature,                                                               
Juneau, Alaska, provided  an overview of SB 6.  He explained that                                                               
the  bill has  three  sections  in its  present  form. The  first                                                               
section under Title  11 adds a paragraph  that defines industrial                                                               
hemp that  matches the federal  definition, which is:  "All parts                                                               
and  varieties of  the plant,  cannabis sativa  L, containing  no                                                               
more than  .3 percent THC."   Federal  studies have shown  that 1                                                               
percent  THC is  the  threshold  for it  to  actually be  present                                                               
enough  to  cause hallucinogenic  side  effects.  The .3  percent                                                               
threshold, well below  that, is what the  federal government used                                                               
as  a definition  for industrial  hemp,  therefore separating  it                                                               
completely from the drug, marijuana.                                                                                            
4:23:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Section  2 was  added  so that  under  Title 11  it  would be  an                                                               
affirmative  defense  to keep  one  from  being prosecuted  under                                                               
Title  11, Sec.  71.33.060 (If  you had  industrial hemp  and you                                                               
were  caught  and  charged  with  manufacturing,  delivering,  or                                                               
possessing with intent to manufacture or deliver.)                                                                              
Finally  section  3  states  that  an  individual  manufacturing,                                                               
delivering  or  displaying industrial  hemp  is  not required  to                                                               
4:24:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WHITT  said he would next  cover what needs to  be changed in                                                               
state  statute  in  order  to match  the  federal  statutes.  The                                                               
federal  Farm Act  of  2014, the  Omnibus  Appropriations Act  of                                                               
2016, and  the U.S.D.A  Statement of  Principles relating  to the                                                               
Farm Act of 2014, which was  enacted August 12, 2016 are the main                                                               
federal pieces  that are  referred to in  looking at  the changes                                                               
needed  in  this  bill.  They   say  basically  that  states  may                                                               
participate in an industrial hemp  pilot program that is designed                                                               
to  study the  growth, cultivation,  and marketing  of industrial                                                               
hemp within their state.                                                                                                        
The state department responsible for  agriculture is the one that                                                               
is  responsible  for  oversight  and  regulatory  authority  over                                                               
industrial  hemp. Registration  is  required by  the Division  of                                                               
Agriculture in  Alaska's case and  is recommended to  include but                                                               
not  limited to:  the name  of the  authorized manufacturer,  the                                                               
period of the  license/registration that is being  given, and the                                                               
GPS  coordinates  for the  "grow"  for  identification by  a  DPS                                                               
officer flying  over it, which  avoids misidentification  of hemp                                                               
as marijuana from the air.                                                                                                      
The act also defines industrial hemp  and it allows those who are                                                               
authorized under  an industrial hemp pilot  program, institutions                                                               
of higher  education, or  those who  are employed  under contract                                                               
through an institution of higher  education to grow and cultivate                                                               
industrial hemp. Section 3 of  the bill says that registration is                                                               
not required and would not meet the federal guidelines.                                                                         
CHAIR GIESSEL said  she will work with Senator Hughes  to craft a                                                               
committee substitute for SB 6.                                                                                                  
4:28:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES commented that it has  been a delight to work with                                                               
the  Division  of Agriculture  Director,  Arthur  Keyes, and  Rob                                                               
Carter at the Plant Materials Center on this issue.                                                                             
SENATOR  COGHILL said  some of  the questions  he will  be asking                                                               
along the way  are because of what has been  done with legalizing                                                               
marijuana in  Alaska, and  asked if  SB 6 will  have a  fire wall                                                               
between the growing of industrial  hemp and marijuana because one                                                               
has  federal rules  that are  permissive  and the  other one  has                                                               
federal  rules  that forbid  such  actions.  He also  asked  what                                                               
amounts  would  be  tested: batches  or  individual  plants,  and                                                               
remarked that  the testing  could be expensive  if it  isn't done                                                               
SENATOR HUGHES  said his second question  was a good one  for the                                                               
Division of  Agriculture experts,  and because SB  6 is  going to                                                               
the Judiciary Committee,  that would be a great place  to look at                                                               
his  other concern  about posing  as a  hemp grower  but actually                                                               
growing marijuana.  However, her  understanding is that  it would                                                               
then fall under the criminal  statutes as not being licensed. The                                                               
mapping coordinates will also provide a check.                                                                                  
ARTHUR KEYES,  Director, Division  of Agriculture,  Department of                                                               
Natural Resources  (DNR), Anchorage,  Alaska, responded  that Rob                                                               
Carter has some good information on this issue.                                                                                 
4:31:04 PM                                                                                                                    
ROB CARTER,  Manager, Alaska Plant Materials  Center, Division of                                                               
Agriculture,  Department of  Natural Resources  (DNR), Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska,  responded that  truly testing  to differentiate  between                                                               
industrial  hemp  and  recreational marijuana  would  require  an                                                               
expensive machine,  but luckily the commercial  laboratories that                                                               
are now  in place for  the recreational marijuana  industry could                                                               
very  easily  do  the  test  for  a  nominal  fee.  But  fronting                                                               
industrial  hemp as  recreational  marijuana  would be  difficult                                                               
when  you actually  come  down to  the  agronomic principles  and                                                               
practices  of  growing  each. The  planting  densities  are  much                                                               
different; industrial hemp is planted  very similar to grain with                                                               
a grain drill,  and the seed and row spacing  are more similar to                                                               
corn.  This  would  be  very  unproductive  in  the  recreational                                                               
cannabis world.                                                                                                                 
Physiologically,  the  recreational  marijuana growers  are  very                                                               
specific in growing  strains that are high in THC,  and those are                                                               
specifically  females.  On  the  industrial hemp  side  for  seed                                                               
production you want both females  and males. So, anyone who tried                                                               
to  grow industrial  hemp as  a ruse  for recreational  marijuana                                                               
would end up with some pretty  poor product. He just didn't think                                                               
it would be attempted.                                                                                                          
SENATOR COGHILL said  last year he heard that  the growing season                                                               
for  industrial hemp  could actually  suit Alaska  very well  and                                                               
asked if that is true.                                                                                                          
MR.  CARTER  answered  that  since   the  real  research  on  the                                                               
production of hemp stopped between  1932 and 1937, he didn't have                                                               
a  lot  of  agronomic  practices   that  bind  non-production  of                                                               
industrial hemp in  Alaska. That is why the  division believes it                                                               
is  so important  to give  this crop  an opportunity.  Looking at                                                               
Alaska's  dramatic  day lengths  and  photo  periods, this  plant                                                               
should produce very well on  a biomass basis. There are questions                                                               
involving the  production of seed  and the photo  period required                                                               
by that genus  and species, but that won't be  known until it has                                                               
been  trialed.  However,  they   expect  great  results  for  the                                                               
production  of fiber  and  plant products  and  the thousands  of                                                               
other uses.                                                                                                                     
4:34:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  VON  IMHOF said  the  plants  look  alike but  they  are                                                               
chemically  different  and  one  of the  letters  says  they  are                                                               
different in  terms of stalks  versus flower seeds, and  asked if                                                               
that is another difference.                                                                                                     
MR. CARTER answered yes. He explained  that a lot of that is very                                                               
dependent  on the  plant  density within  the  acreage that  it's                                                               
planted.  The  tighter  plants  are  planted  together  the  more                                                               
upright  they grow;  they are  phototropic  so they  try to  grow                                                               
toward  the  sun.  He  said  the  recreational  marijuana  plants                                                               
planted outside  in California are  probably planted  on six-foot                                                               
centers and six to ten feet  between each row, where a hemp field                                                               
is  going to  look more  like corn  or an  extremely tall  cereal                                                               
4:36:10 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GIESSEL opened public testimony on SB 6.                                                                                  
4:36:29 PM                                                                                                                    
FRANK TURNEY, representing  himself, Hempsters, Fairbanks Alaska,                                                               
supported SB 6. He said their  files should include copies of the                                                               
first and  second resolutions passed  in Fairbanks in  support of                                                               
industrial  hemp along  with other  related  letters of  support.                                                               
Creating  a hemp  industry  would boost  the  economy and  create                                                               
jobs. He mentioned  meeting Jack Bennett at  the Fairbanks Energy                                                               
Conference who started  building a hemp house with  mud in Homer.                                                               
"Nobody  that I  know is  going  to smoke  industrial hemp.  They                                                               
would be coughing themselves and choking, believe me," he said.                                                                 
4:38:26 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN BRADING,  representing himself, Fairbanks  Alaska, supported                                                               
SB 6. He said on  November 14, 2011, Fairbanks Councilman Hilling                                                               
introduced Resolution  4497 urging  the Alaska  State Legislature                                                               
and executive branch  to make expressly legal  the cultivation of                                                               
industrial  hemp in  the  State of  Alaska.  A second  supporting                                                               
resolution was introduced in February 2, 2012.                                                                                  
MR.  BRADING said  hemp and  marijuana are  essentially different                                                               
varieties  of the  same plant.  Hemp is  used when  the plant  is                                                               
grown cane-like for  its fiber, seed, oil,  and herbs. Industrial                                                               
hemp's THC  content is too low  to produce a high.  Today hemp is                                                               
used for  thousands of different products  ranging from textiles,                                                               
paper, building materials, food products, and cosmetics.                                                                        
He said  hemp is popular because  it can be grown  easily without                                                               
harmful  pesticides   and  fertilizers;  its  deep   root  system                                                               
prevents soil  erosion and  retains soil  fertility making  it an                                                               
ideal rotation crop. Hemp fiber is  one of the strongest and most                                                               
insulating and  absorbent of all natural-occurring  fibers. It is                                                               
used  in the  oil industry  to absorb  oil spills.  Hemp produces                                                               
more pulp  paper than timber  on a  sustainable basis and  can be                                                               
used for every  quality of paper. Hemp seeds are  high in protein                                                               
and  contain  a  polyunsaturated  oil,   which  is  rich  in  the                                                               
essential fatty acids.                                                                                                          
CHAIR GIESSEL asked him  to wrap up and to email  the rest of his                                                               
comments to her  office and she would distribute  it to committee                                                               
4:41:41 PM                                                                                                                    
EMBER   HAYNES,  representing   herself,  Denali   Hemp  Company,                                                               
Talkeetna, Alaska, supported SB 6.  She and her husband have been                                                               
creating  balms and  lotions using  hemp  seed oil  for about  10                                                               
years and  have seen  a change  in the  views of  their customers                                                               
over the  years. Alaska is  prime right now; everyone  is looking                                                               
for  healthy   alternatives.  They  are  excited   to  have  this                                                               
opportunity  for Alaskans  to be  able to  grow hemp.  They would                                                               
love to feed hemp leaves to their livestock.                                                                                    
4:43:43 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE SHULTE,  representing himself, Anchorage  Alaska, supported                                                               
SB 6. He  spends much of the summer flying  over the MatSu Valley                                                               
and  sees a  lot of  fallow land  and making  it more  productive                                                               
would be fantastic.                                                                                                             
He  said  Section  2's  affirmative   defense  in  the  event  of                                                               
prosecution harkens  back to an  earlier version of  another type                                                               
of legislation  a few years ago,  and while the intent  is noble,                                                               
his concern is  that a farmer growing hemp could  be raided, have                                                               
their crops  destroyed, and their  material seized and go  a long                                                               
way  down the  road and  stand a  lot of  legal fees  before they                                                               
would be  able to take  advantage of an affirmative  defense. So,                                                               
in rewriting this  bill, he asked them to  consider removing hemp                                                               
entirely  from the  list of  classified materials  to avoid  that                                                               
particular legal stumbling block.                                                                                               
4:45:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL   DRUCE,  Owner,   Summer   Peonies,  Sterling,   Alaska,                                                               
supported SB 6. He said that  growing peonies is a labor of love,                                                               
require a large upfront investment,  are labor intensive and take                                                               
several years  before a profit  is realized.  On that note  he is                                                               
looking for  another way to profit  from the land he  has, but he                                                               
also   believes   our   state   must   support   new   industries                                                               
4:46:49 PM                                                                                                                    
JACK BENNETT,  representing himself, Homer, Alaska,  supported SB
6.  He  is  building  a  model home  made  with  industrial  hemp                                                               
insulation material  that is made in  just a handful of  shops in                                                               
the United States.  As a construction material,  just one product                                                               
replaces  formaldehyde-based OSB  plywood, sheetrock,  fiberglass                                                               
insulation, and  house-wrap. It  will lower  heating costs  by 70                                                               
percent, and the life cycle of  these homes is hundreds of years.                                                               
He said  data indicates that  two and a  half weeks in  a 100-day                                                               
harvest produces  enough of the woody  core construction material                                                               
to build  a 1,000-square foot  shell in  8 days depending  on how                                                               
many laborers  worked on  it. He  presented a  model home  at the                                                               
World  Energy Conference  in Fairbanks  and wants  to do  a pilot                                                               
home in rural Alaska that has a 6,000-home shortage.                                                                            
MR.  BENNETT said  this may  not be  the solution  for affordable                                                               
housing,  but  it  is  a solution.  He  represents  a  commercial                                                               
manufacturer  that   owns  North   America's  largest   piece  of                                                               
machinery  called a  decorticator that  separates the  industrial                                                               
hemp  fiber  from the  woody  core.  The  fiber  sold out  to  an                                                               
automotive partner. He said the State  of Indiana is working on a                                                               
facility  to   design  and  manufacture  automobiles   with  hemp                                                               
plastics, both  interior and exterior.  They are  a formaldehyde-                                                               
replacement to  carbon fiber. At  the end of the  car's lifecycle                                                               
the ingredients  are 100 percent biodegradable.  He had presented                                                               
it to petroleum companies as an  oil spill cleanup method that is                                                               
five times more absorbent than polypropylene technology.                                                                        
CHAIR  GIESSEL held  public testimony  on SB  6 open  and invited                                                               
everyone to submit their testimony in writing.                                                                                  
[SB 6 was held in committee.]                                                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Agenda-2-8-17.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6 Version A.PDF SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6-Fiscal Note-DOL-CD-2-8-2017.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6-Fiscal Note-DPS-AST-2-8-2017.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6-Fiscal Note-DPS-SS-2-8-2017.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Supporting Documents-Alaska Industrial Hemp Grow 1916.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Supporting Documents-Letter Ember Haynes.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Supporting Documents-Letter Jack Bennett.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Supporting Documents-Letter Ken Ray.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Supporting Documents-Letter Larry DeVilbiss.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Supporting Documents-Letter Sara Williams Letter.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Supporting Documents-Letter-Mayor Navarre-Kenai Borough.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Sponsor Statement - Version A.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SRES-Presentation from DOT-2-8-17.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SRES-Presentation from USGS-2-8-17.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6- Support KPEDD.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Support Chis Haynes.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6
SB 6 Support- Druce - 2 - 8 - 17.pdf SRES 2/8/2017 3:30:00 PM
SB 6