The Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC) is warning growers to be aware of active untrustworthy hempseed suppliers not just in Indiana, but also throughout the country.
Donald Robison, an OISC seed administrator, expressed that the OISC received its first reported issues of unreputable hemp suppliers in Indiana in spring 2020. As the year continued, more reports started to emerge, driving the OISC to issue a warning early this year.
"We had a recent situation where a grower in Indiana who wanted to grow hemp bought seeds from an untrusted supplier in California," Robison tells Hemp Grower. "The untrusted seller sold him cannabis seeds instead, and Indiana is not a cannabis legal state."
When the grower realized the seller sold them cannabis seeds instead of hemp seeds, they tried to contact the seller. After several weeks and an unjustifiable response, the OISC got involved.
"My office tracked the seller down, and we found that they were selling seeds through a seed selling cooperative," Robison says.
The OISC informed the cooperative of what the seller had done, but they could never directly contact the seller.
The seller did not have a permit or license to sell seeds, which Robison says is essential for growers when deeming if a seller is reputable or not.
Although it is not illegal to buy from non-permitted seed suppliers in Indiana, Robinson urges farmers to only buy from permitted sellers because the law protects farmers in more ways if they buy from a permitted seller.
Farmers can ensure they are buying from a trusted seller by browsing for a list of licensed seed suppliers in the state online or directly calling the state department of agriculture or someone in the seed department, Robison says.
Robison encourages all farmers to report any issues they have with an untrusted seller, as this problem extends beyond state borders.
"Some of these untrustworthy suppliers are from other states and they are selling seeds to growers in Indiana," Robison says. "I'm on the board of the Association of American Seed Control Officials and we've talked about this in our meetings, that this is a common issue across the country."
He predicts that most of these untrusted sellers will be federally weeded out in four to five more years.
A list of companies holding an Indiana seed permit to sell hempseed in the state is available on the OISC website.