BY DAN SHARP, GREEN LIGHT LAW GROUP —

According to information released by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon farmers are growing almost six times more hemp in 2019 than in 2018.   As of June 2019, Oregon had 1,342 licensed growers with more than 46,000 associated acres devoted to hemp.  By contrast, in 2018 there were 7,808 acres devoted to hemp farming.

With the increase in hemp farming throughout the state, there has been a corresponding rise in concerns of cross-pollination of valuable female hemp plants and subsequent crop damage.

According to reporting from the Capital Press[1] in Salem, Oregon, the Oregon Department of Agriculture is now considering measures to address concerns regarding cross-pollination through new regulations, though it is unlikely such regulations would go into effect until 2020 or even later.  The regulations are expected to focus on the prevention of crop problems with measures to ensure compliance.

Oregon currently lacks any specific law or regulation addressing this issue, as opposed to Washington’s recently enacted RCW 15.140.100, which contains a “first in time, first in right” provision in the context of cross-pollination disputes.  Regardless of the lack of any specific law in Oregon addressing the cross-pollination of hemp, Green Light Law Group takes the position that traditional concepts of negligence provide some guidance in protecting against and proving liability.

 

[1] Perkowski, Mateusz (2019, October 8). Oregon regulators to target ‘volunteer’ hemp plants. https://www.capitalpress.com/state/oregon/oregon-regulators-to-target-volunteer-hemp-plants/article_cf45971c-ea1b-11e9-a565-c7b0bfc5b201.html