Ogburn opens growing station

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

George Ogburn, whose residence in Kenbridge was searched by police earlier in the year, is in the process of opening a station to grow hemp in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) in the Nottoway County area, Ogburn said in a recent interview.

The Nottoway Sheriff’s Office Sheriff, Larry Parrish, confirmed that the sheriff’s office received coordinates by VDACS of the location Ogburn will be growing hemp.

Ogburn, in October, received a registration from VDACS to grow industrial hemp.

“Registrant may process industrial hemp in the Commonwealth in a controlled fashion solely and exclusively as part of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Research Program,” the license from VDACS provided by Ogburn cited. Ogburn, who said the hemp would be located in a 1,800-square-foot building, added that the project is “moving forward.”

Ogburn said he is growing the mother plants, and then cutting and distributing clones.

Clones are when, instead of planting seeds, the leaves are cut and used to grow a new plant.

He said that other registered farmers with similar VDACS licenses could purchase clones.

He said he expects to grow two varieties of hemp, which may include berry blossom and cherry wine.

Ogburn, in August, filed a formal complaint toward three police officers in response to a search warrant at his Kenbridge property that involved removing plants he cited to be legal to plant in Virginia.

Ogburn in a previous interview said he left his home Aug. 8 to make an appointment in Emporia. A search warrant by police took place when he was away.

Ogburn said his next door neighbor saw the raid and contacted Ogburn. Ogburn responded he was on his way home. Ogburn said the neighbor notified officers at the scene that Ogburn was on his way back home.

Ogburn said the officers left when he reached his home.

He said he had a broken lamp, a toilet running, and the entrance to his attic broken at his residence following the search.

He said the plants in question removed were not cannabis, or marijuana plants, but kenaf, which he said is legal to grow in Virginia.

The General Assembly also recently created a new hemp research program effective July 1 in addition to the existing higher education industrial hemp research program. The program is directly managed by VDACS and allows Virginians “to grow or process industrial hemp without being a participant in a research program managed by an institution of higher education.”

Ogburn filed a formal complaint toward Christopher Wallace, Mike Landry and Jason Lacks of Kenbridge Police Department.

A representative of Virginia State Police, in November, said the case involving Ogburn’s case is still under investigation.

A statement from Virginia State Police said the Tri-County Drug and Gang Task Force executed a search warrant at a residence in Kenbridge Aug. 8.

“The task force secured the search warrant based on a tip and additional intelligence regarding the residence and suspected illegal drug activity,” the statement cited. “During the course of the search warrant, the task force seized drug paraphernalia, processed narcotics that tested positive for marijuana and what appeared to be marijuana plants.”

Police said all materials were transported to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for testing.

Ogburn said his advocacy for the medicinal benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD), which does not create the high most commonly associated with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cannabis, began after he got hit head-on in a bike accident.

He said the accident resulted in two neck surgeries and two back surgeries. He said he was put on pain medication, including Percocet and Valium for four years.

He said he visited his niece in Colorado, where he received a card that allowed him to purchase CBD. Ogburn said he found relief through CBD. He said he has been off pain medication for six years.

He said after finding the relief CBD brought for his chronic neck and back pain, his goal has been to help others experience the same.