Editor's Note
This articles explores the growing industrial hemp industry in Oregon, which is increasingly focused on the cannabidiol (CBD) market and less on the fiber market. Growers find extracting the oil requires less infrastructure than processing hemp into usable fiber. In addition to CBD oil, growers are also looking at using the leftover stalks for animal feed. The farm bill currently being negotiated in Congress includes language that would make hemp just like any other commodity crop by removing it from the feds' list of controlled substances, in effect legalizing it nationwide.
October 8, 2018
Oregon Business

Sipping a tea brewed from peppermint, licorice root and cannabidiol extract, Rochelle Koch and her husband Peter gaze proudly at their 90-acre hemp farm, Whole Circle Farms, nestled in the foothills of the Willamette Valley. In the fields, part-time high school students harvest indigo and green buds and dry them in wood-framed beds in a barn.

The pastoral scene belies the turbulent world in which the Kochs do business, one defined by outdated regulations, public misconceptions and increasing competition—but also by considerable opportunity.

The Oregon hemp industry is like a raging river, restrained by a dam that might soon break and allow products to flood an array of new markets. A provision in the 2018 Farm Bill before Congress would strike cannabidiol from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of Schedule 1 drugs, those the agency deems to have the highest potential for abuse.