As you will have noticed, publication of this issue of the Journal of the International Hemp Association (JIHA) is extremely late. Although our tardiness is not unusual, a new record has been set. This is due to a combination of factors. Dave Pate is on academic leave to complete his Ph.D. at Kuopio University in Finland and Rob Clarke has been away on a research expedition to Yunnan Province in China for the past 10 weeks. As the IHA is an all-volunteer organisation, this leaves the remaining staff extremely short-handed. This situation may be temporary, but does serve to highlight the limitations and difficulties under which we operate. The IHA has always been hard-pressed in terms of journal content, funds to cover publication costs, and time to attend to the business of creating each issue. The editorial advisory board and publication staff of the IHA is now in the process of making some very important and difficult decisions about the future of the JIHA. Our most promising option is to allow the Haworth Press to take over publication of the JIHA, which will then be renamed the Journal of Industrial Hemp (JIH), much as Lloydia evolved into the Journal of Natural Products. Volume numbers between the two journals would be contiguous. Although reorienting the new journal toward the commercial sphere, this US publisher has promised to remain true to our basic format and ideals, with the exception of reserving medically- oriented scientific articles for their new Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics. However, our medical reporting would continue. The new JIH is proposed to be larger, be issued three times a year, and enjoy the financial advantage of a larger publisher. For example, Haworth promises to commit at least US$50,000 to organize a massive direct-mail campaign to solicit new subscribers and to promote the new journal in other ways. Although the JIHA would no longer be the "in-house" organ of the IHA, most of the Editorial Staff and our Editorial Advisory Board have committed to continue in their roles, including Hayo van der Werf, who will remain as Editor-in-Chief. IHA members would receive the JIH as a benefit of IHA membership. The editors and staff of former hemp journals should consider this as an opportunity to have their voices heard again as contributors, without the overtime effort and formidable financial liabilities. Members who feel strongly about this impending decision should contact the IHA and let their views be heard.
In the USA California, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Virginia have passed resolutions or legislation to allow industrial hemp research. Rumor has it that the US federal government, up to now hysterically opposed to anything having to do with Cannabis, is considering its options. This may be due to the incongruity of having Canada, their close and good neighbor to the North, take a decisive lead in North American hemp production. In Europe, Holland has formally announced the setting up of a bureau that will oversee all medical research and use of Cannabis. This act formalizes the reality of medical marijuana, which up to now was officially unrecognized and relegated to the same status as recreational use. Although Switzerland has always had legal industrial hemp, they are now considering several forms of liberalized legislation on other Cannabis products. This situation is in flux, but its outcome will probably become apparent next year.
We hope that a restructured publishing agreement will free our time to develop and fund additional projects. Funding another year of Cannabis germplasm reproductions at the Vavilov Research Institute is of great importance. A full grow out and evaluation of the entire collection is a worthy goal, that would require additional funding by a foundation, but would get a good return of valuable information about the collection’s accessions trades and performance data. IHA member Jane Potter has successfully completed a vegetable fiber identification course at Durham University and plans to set up a small laboratory in the United Kingdom for the verification of hemp fiber content in modern and traditional textiles (see pg. 18). The IHA hopes to continue our support of her endeavors. Be assured that with the continuing support of our members we will strive to use available funds to achieve our goals in the most cost effective manner.
Late breaking news, Canadian growers have achieved very high average yields of hempseed grain (more than 2000 kilograms per hectare) using the new Finnish-developed variety ‘FIN-314’ (see pg. 22). ‘FIN-314’ was bred from seeds originally provided by the Vavilov Research Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia and serves to illustrate the great potential of this valuable, yet continually threatened, Cannabis germplasm collection.