INDUSTRIAL HEMP TRACKING & REGULATION INFO
President Obama signed the Agricultural Act of 2014 (or the 2014 Farm Bill). This bill included Section 7606 allowing universities and state departments of agriculture to begin cultivating industrial hemp for limited purposes.
“(1) the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research;
(2) the growing or cultivating of industrial hemp is allowed under the laws of the state in which such institution of higher education or state department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.”
The law also requires that the grow sites to be certified by, and registered with, their state.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in consultation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, released a Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp in the Federal Register on Aug 12, 2016, on the applicable activities related to hemp in the 2014 Farm Bill.
36 states have passed legislation related to industrial hemp. State policymakers have taken action to address various policy issues to establish guidelines for rules and regulations:
State statutes, with the exception of West Virginia, all have a blanket definition for Industrial Hemp
The definition of industrial hemp is a variety of cannabis with a THC concentration of no more than 0.3 percent. West Virginia defines hemp as cannabis with a THC concentration of less than 1 percent.
Many state definitions for industrial hemp specify the THC concentration is on a dry weight basis and can be measured from any part of the plants. Some states also require the plant to be possessed by a licensed grower for it to be considered under the definition of industrial hemp.
Some states have passed laws creating (or allowing the establishment of) industrial hemp research or pilot programs. State agencies or educational institutions administer these programs to study the cultivation, processing, and economics of industrial hemp. Some of these programs have very specific goals and guidelines regarding their research:
- Colorado S.B. 184 (2014) created an Industrial Hemp Grant Research Program for state universities to research and develop hemp strains that are best suited for industrial applications and develop new seed strains.
- Colorado S.B. 109 (2017) directed the commissioner of agriculture to create a group to study the feasibility of hemp products’ use in animal feed.
- Kentucky’s industrial hemp research program studies the environmental benefit or impact of hemp, the potential use of hemp as an energy source or biofuel, and the agronomy research being conducted worldwide relating to hemp.
- Minnesota has created an industrial hemp research pilot program to study the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp.
- North Carolina Hemp Commission studies the best practices for soil conservation and restoration in collaboration with two state universities.
Compliance with state regulations for commercial and research programs – growers must be licensed, registered or permitted with the state agency overseeing the program. Requirements might include:
- Criminal background checks
- Periodic renewals, usually every one to three years
- Registering the location or GPS coordinates of grow sites
- Record keeping and reporting any sales or distributions including whom it was sold or distributed, including processors.
- Documentation from the state agency or institution of higher education to prove to the grower is participating in an approved program.
To implement commercial and research programs, farmers require access to seeds that are guaranteed to produce plants that comply with the Definition of Hemp. These seeds can be difficult to obtain because cannabis is still regulated under the federal Controlled Substances Act.
As a solution to this problem, states are taking independent action to regulate industrial hemp seeds. Certified seeds are defined as seeds that contain less than 0.3 percent THC or produce hemp plants that contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
At least four states have established specific licenses or certification programs for these types of seed distributors and producers:
- California requires seed breeders to register with their local county agricultural commissioner
- Indiana allows grower who obtain an agricultural hemp seed production license to produce seeds. Licensees may then sell seeds or retain them to propagate future crops.
- Maine allows the commissioner of agriculture, conservation, and forestry to issue licenses to seed distributors if their seeds are from a certified seed source.
- Oregon requires growers who produce hemp seeds capable of germination to register with the Oregon Department of Agriculture if they intend to sell seeds. Growers who wish to retain seeds do not need to register as a seed producer.
State Industrial Hemp Statutes
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