Hemp: Arcadia Biosciences' next frontier

By Kristine Sherred

- Last updated on GMT

Hemp production stands to increase after the US declassified it as a drug through the 2018 Farm Bill. Pic: Getty Images/chriss_ns
Hemp production stands to increase after the US declassified it as a drug through the 2018 Farm Bill. Pic: Getty Images/chriss_ns

Related tags Hemp Cbd Agriculture Arcadia Biosciences Wheat Ingredients Hawaii

In addition to its value-added wheat branded GoodWheat, Arcadia has pushed into the hemp market through a partnership with Legacy Ventures Hawaii.

“Hawaii’s unique geographic and climate conditions for growing and harvesting hemp year-round give us a long-term competitive advantage that many mainland cultivators cannot match,” ​said Arcadia CEO Matthew Plavan.

Archipelago Ventures, the resulting vertically integrated company, has expanded its hemp-growing land in Hawaii from 10 to 30 acres and introduced a new auto-flowering hemp varietal to the state’s pilot program, ‘to support year-round growth cycles unimpeded by the agronomic constraints of day length.’

It will also install large-scale mobile extraction and processing equipment to produce THC-free, sun-grown hemp isolates and distillates.

“The introduction of hemp cultivation in Hawaii is already transforming the lives of farmers and local communities, creating new professional and economic avenues for islanders’ and stimulating our economy,”​ said Shane Victorino, a former Major League Baseball player and native Hawaiian who is a principal in Archipelago.

The bigger footprint will enhance testing capabilities to determine variables within one microclimate (e.g. soil type, elevation), for instance, ultimately ‘bringing sophistication and reliability’ to Hawaii’s hemp crop.

This move is important because more than half of last year’s crop tested ‘hot,’ meaning it exceed the federal limit of THC for hemp (0.3%), according to the state’s agriculture department.

Industrial hemp comes from the cannabis sativa plant, used to make fibers for clothing and building materials in a $700m industry​, according to a Congressional Research Service report from 2018. Before the US Congress approved the most recent Farm Bill last year, hemp’s cultivation was regulated as a drug, but it has gained momentum as a valuable commodity.

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