Hemp Farming Legality Update 4/24/19

The 2018 Farm Bill passed last December gave us a legal definition of hemp as Cannabis sativa containing less than 0.3% THC. This particular strain of the plant and the substances extracted from it will no longer subject farmers, vendors, and consumers to be forcibly removed from civil society and locked in cages. “Hemp” is now a legal plant. “Marihuana” remains illegal on a federal level. Thanks for catching up, partly, oh wise ones.

However, the federal bill made it clear that the states and their all-wise elected officials are to decide whether hemp farmers are a menace to society within their own borders.

Last month on the Nectar Leaf blog we learned that Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota decided it was too dangerous to cultivate hemp in her state, and those who do so should continue to be locked in cages. This decision had nothing to do with fact that hemp cannot yet be legally insured until the feds flesh out the rules, and that her husband happens to sell crop insurance. So she vetoed the state’s hemp farming bill, even though every other South Dakotan supported it.

Here are three states who have slightly saner people at the helm:

Texas

From the Texas Tribune:

The Texas House gave broad preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow farmers in the state to legally grow industrial hemp — a move lauded as a win for the state’s farmers.

“There’s no good reason for Texas farmers and ranchers not to have hemp as a crop option,” said Gene Hall, a spokesman for the Texas Farm Bureau. “I suspect a lot of farmers will choose this option once it’s available. It’s a drought-tolerant crop and can be grown anywhere where cropping is prevalent right now.”

House Bill 1325 from state Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville, would also legalize hemp and hemp-derived extracts like CBD oil as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC

HB 1325’s initial passage Tuesday came in a voice vote. No one voiced opposition to the bill, and members applauded when the vote ended.

Austin’s own Willie Nelson, who contains way more than 0.3% THC, could not be reached for comment.

Iowa

From the Sioux City Journal:

The Iowa House joined the Senate in opening the door for farmers who want to grow industrial hemp.

Although he doubts many farmers will jump at the opportunity, Rep. Jarad Klein, R-Keota, called passage of Senate File 599 “a win for every one … most importantly for me, farmers.”

After adding an amendment sought by the Department of Public Safety addressing the transportation of hemp, the House voted 95-3 to approve the bill.

A near unanimous vote, but notice how Iowa’s a little more cautious than Texas. No rowdy rounds of applause or revolvers firing in the air like in the Texas House. More of a Midwestern-style caution about it. The title of the article is “Iowa House OKs hemp farming, though some see ‘limited opportunity'”.

Worry. Caution. Trepidation. Let’s let’s let’s be prudent about this thing now folks.

The bill authorizes the production, processing and marketing of industrial hemp in Iowa subject to USDA approval and under the guidance of the state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Guidance.

It would set up a fund managed by state ag officials for fees, appropriations and other revenue that would be generated to help administer the new activity.

Managed. The New Activity.

Like Klein, Rep. Chris Hall, D-Sioux City, saw the bill as creating a “limited opportunity,” though business owners in his community encouraged lawmakers to join 41 other states that have created industrial hemp programs.

Limited. Watch what yer doin’ there you crazy farmers!

Approval came with warnings.

Warnings!

We’ll refer you to the source if you want to read about the warnings, but we’re not interested in them today.

Vermont

We go from rowdy cheering cowboys, to skittish mouse-like Midwesterners, to damn hippies! (as the cowboys would call them)

Recreational marijuana is already decriminalized in Vermont, and medical marijuana laws are in place.

But Vermont still has to enact laws in its best interest now that we have the federal legalization of hemp.

From the news site VTDigger.org (of course it’s a dot org):

The state Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, which regulates the hemp industry, worked with a group of Vermont growers and processors to come up with the rules, which lay out a preliminary framework that covers the hemp cycle from grower to processor and set out what permits are required.

The rules released Thursday cover the cultivation and use of the cannabis plant for the purpose of producing CBD

The hemp rules define “acceptable potency level” for hemp as a crop with a total…THC concentration of 1% or less…The federal level of compliance for hemp is .3% THC by dry weight.

The Vermont definition of 1% is critical for Vermont producers, said Dan Chang, the co-founder of Kria Botanicals, a CBD laboratory in South Burlington.

“This document does a lot of good things for the growers,” Chang said of the rules, which are 12 pages long. “That means that although the federal level is three tenths of 1%, we won’t make you destroy your crops. That pretty much means all the hemp genetics will be legal, and that’s a big distinction.”

Of course Vermont has to challenge the federal government by 0.7%, you rebels. But I’m not sure a 1% THC CBD would be able to legally ship across state lines.

However, all of these developments are indications that we are gradually becoming a more rational nation, at least when it comes to cannabis.

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