John McKay

By February 28, 2016
john mckay

New West GeneticsThe 2014 US Farm Bill contains language providing for the cultivation of Cannabis sativa for research to study the “growth, cultivations, or marketing of industrial hemp” (defined as Cannabis sativa with THC levels below 0.3% by dry weight) in states that allow such cultivation. I will report on research and Development in Colorado, a state that has legalized hemp and high THC cannabis. My first venture was co-founding New West Genetics in 2014, a privately funded effort at Research and Development of US hemp. We have created a pedigreed breeding program and are also working at developing an agricultural market for Colorado hemp. I am also a professor at Colorado State University and in 2015 CSU decided it was OK to do hemp research. With minimal funding we conducted a variety trial of 16 cultivars from Europe . These trials were done in collaboration with researchers in Europe and grown at 2 locations spanning the latitude and growing conditions of Colorado. One year of such data is insufficient to begin to define an ideal ideotype for Colorado, so trials will be continued in 2016 and beyond. We have also began sequencing these varieties, and comparing to US marijuana strains in order to understand how Cannabis cultivars differ in divergence and diversity across their genomes. This includes efforts to define regions of the genome that contribute to gender and other important traits. At present, public sector research on hemp in the US is still greatly constrained by the availability of federal competitive funding, but collaborations are being developed and progress is being made.