A local CBD dispensary hosted a hemp farming education class for the Maryville community Jan. 31.
Victor Santos, one of the first people allowed to legally grow hemp in Missouri in 2019, came as a guest speaker to Pure Natural Depot on Business 71 and spoke to community members about how to start farming hemp plants. He works at Hemp Hill Farms as the head grower.
Santos spoke on a variety of topics and provided insight on the best ways to take care of hemp plants.
Founder and owner of Pure Natural Depot Bridget Simon invited Santos to come to her store to spread awareness and educate the community about hemp and growing hemp.
“I am all about education,” Simon said.
Simon also said she wanted the Northwest community to have the opportunity to be successful and to grow hemp.
Simon said Santos was one of two farmers that were allowed to legally grow hemp. Santos was the only farmer out of the two to have a successful crop.
Simon said this year licensing to farm hemp will be open to the public. People who want to grow hemp have to submit an application and pay the fees listed at health.mo.gov to start the process. The fees vary based upon what kind of certification or license a farmer would like to get.
According to Pure Natural Depot’s Facebook event, Santos planned to speak about genetics, cloning, farming advice for indoor and outdoor growing, marketing analysis and many other hemp growing related topics.
The presentation started around 6:30 p.m., when Simon introduced Santos and his colleague, Eapen Thampy. Eapen is a lobbyist and consultant who graduated from the University of Missouri.
Santos said before he was a hemp farmer, he was an underwater coral grower after his father and grandfather. When his wife was diagnosed with cancer, he quit growing coral for aquariums and started growing medical marijuana to help ease his wife’s pain.
Santos said he started out growing six marijuana plants in his home and used his knowledge from his work growing underwater corals to help him grow his plants. Santos used his understanding of chemistry from his previous job to grow his first plants.
He said what he stumbled upon was a very good way to create better hemp.
“I would rather make gold, rather than what I thought was gold, when in reality is copper,” Santos said when describing the hemp plants he aims to grow.
After his first few grows, Santos was selected, along with one other person, to be the first legal hemp farmers in Missouri in 2019. Simon said hemp is open to the public for 2020 for those who apply for a license to legally grow hemp.
In his class, Santos said the difference between hemp and marijuana is the amount of THC in the product. hemp is anything with less than .3% THC. The product is considered marijuana when it contains more than .3% THC. An article by the Chicago Tribune confirms this definition.
Santos said one of the laws for testing the legal limit of THC concentrations is Delta Nine, which, according to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, growers must send in a sample from their harvest for THC testing 15 days prior to harvesting.
If the testing shows that the plants contain more than .3% THC or Delta Nine THC, then the plant must be destroyed. If the THC testing comes back less than .3%, then the products can legally be sold on the market.
Santos also said a lot of the chemical outcomes in hemp are centered around genetics.
“It goes back to genetics, genetics, genetics,” Santos said throughout his presentation.
Santos said he tries to give people as much information as possible for them to succeed in the hemp growing business. He said he wants people to have the knowledge to make the best educated decision they can when farming hemp. Since legally farming hemp in Missouri is so new, there are a lot of unanswered questions that Santos tried to answer during his presentation.