KELLER - The Colville Confederated Tribes have sold hemp seeds grown in their 120 acre agricultural hemp project to Hemp Northwest, a Hood River, Oregon hemp food company.
The Capital Press first reported the sale as the first Washington-grown hemp commercially processed since lawmakers allowed cultivation in 2014.
Hemp Northwest reportedly received additional hemp seeds from North Dakota and Minnesota.
“We were so excited when we connected with Colville,” said Hemp Northwest CEO Tonia Farman. “We want them to produce more. We would love to see them double their acreage. Midwest farmers are wonderful, but we would love to have the hemp grown by farmers regionally.”
The Colville Tribes were the only licensed hemp agricultural project in Washington.
According to the Capital Press, a Moses Lake farm grew hemp in 2017, but the crop remains in storage.
Hemp Northwest opened this year and sells products regionally under its brand, Queen of Hearts Hemp Foods. The company presses seeds into vegetable oil. The husks become protein powder to add to drinks and baked goods.
A new federal farm bill signed by President Donald Trump in December legalized the plant’s production nationwide. The move will give hemp farmers access to interstate commerce, crop insurance, standard business loans and tax deductions, giving the hemp industry an advantage over medical marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law.
Hemp generated $820 million in U.S. sales in 2017, though most of the product was imported, according to the Hemp Business Journal. Hemp could grow to a nearly $2 billion industry by 2022 as production increases in the U.S., the journal said.
Industrial hemp stalks can be converted to clothing, rope, carpeting, caulking, insulation, cardboard and newsprint. Seeds can be processed into coatings, solvents, varnishes, inks and fuel. Lotions, soaps and shampoos can be produced from stems, and CBD oil can be extracted from its flowers, an option for pain relief without the marijuana high.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this article.