Washington farmers will learn about the essentials of raising hemp during an upcoming workshop.

Bellingham, Wash., farmer Tom Lauerman will speak with state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, on June 1 to discuss the legalities of raising hemp. Shea is the author of a state bill on industrial hemp production.

The June meeting will be at the Museum Event Center, 5225 N. Freya St., Spokane. The exact time is yet to be determined. Cost is $50.

The state is issuing licenses to raise hemp, said Naked Science Topicals co-owner Tracy Sirrine, who is sponsoring the meeting.

“This is a very viable crop. It has a large number of uses — everything from fiber to fuel,” Sirrine told the Capital Press. “Hemp can replace a lot of the things we’re having issues with now, such as deforestation, and can be used to clean soil.”

The business has been operating for a year.

Sirrine’s company buys cannabidiol isolates, or CBD, to make topicals. She hopes to find a local source of hemp.

“We have so much farmland here in Eastern Washington that has been government-supplemented that we can actually put back into the hands of the farmers, where they will actually make a profit on their land,” Sirrine said. “This crop, at a low, brings in anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 an acre, all the way up to $50,000 an acre.”

Under state law, industrial hemp may be grown, produced, possessed, processed, and exchanged in the state solely and exclusively as part of an industrial hemp research program supervised by the Washington Department of Agriculture.

The program will address cross-pollination concerns, production requirements, crop insurance, seed costs compared to clone planting, and production needs, Sirrine said.

Sirrine expects farmers from Idaho to participate. Industrial hemp production was recently passed in the Idaho Senate and is under consideration in the Idaho House.

Call Sirrine at 509-306-0127 for more information.

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