The cannabis industry is complex and competitive, but it is also extremely appealing to young entrepreneurs and investors alike as it continues to shift away from negative stigmas and into a more defined regulatory pathway. The rapid growth of the industry attracts cultivators, extractors, retailers, and more, and like many people entering this complicated space, you may feel overwhelmed with where to begin. Whether you’re considering opening a dispensary business, a CBD business, an ancillary cannabis business, or simply obtaining a hemp license,we’ve put together a guide to starting up a cannabis company to further your understanding of the necessary moving parts and details.
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the USDA’s release of the interim final rules, the hemp market continues to grow. As many processing services remain hesitant to service the growing hemp industry due to legal uncertainties, companies continue to face difficulties securing a reliable merchant processor for processing payments for the sale of hemp-derivative products, such as CBD oils and edibles. Though organizations such as Square Inc. and WooCommerce recently have begun to provide processing capabilities and support to legal hemp and CBD sellers, many remain skeptical due to confusion on the legal status of hemp and hemp-derived products.
Under the Final Interim USDA Hemp Production plan, several rules, requirements, and regulations pave the way for those looking to start a legal hemp farm after approval of their relevant State’s hemp-growth plan. Below, we’ve compiled four fundamentals to growing hemp, including hemp licensing, growing conditions, testing, and record-keeping, to help ensure compliance and facilitate a legal operation.
After learning the licensing requirements in Part I of this Series and the complex rules and regulations on the sampling and testing of hemp in Part II, it is now time to turn our attention to the USDA plan’s matters of compliance, violations, license suspension and revocation, and mandatory recordkeeping.
As a hemp producer, if you violate the USDA plan, it is important not to panic. Instead, focus on remedying this situation by complying with the corrective action plan or other enforcement actions imposed by USDA.
Now that you have read Part I of the USDAHemp Production Plan series on the license requirements for hemp producers, it is critical to understand USDA’s methods and regulations for the sampling and testing of hemp for tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) concentration levels. Keep in mind: “tetrahydrocannabinol” and “delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol” are interchangeable phrases for THC.
Last December, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, was passed, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s (“CSA”) definition of “marihuana.” The Farm Bill allows for the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) to oversee and facilitate the commercial cultivation, processing, and marketing of hemp. As mandated by the Farm Bill, USDA has developed an interim final rule to establish the domestic hemp production program.
Texas hemp lawyer Chelsie Spencer was recently interviewed by the Texas Cannabis Collective for its article “What You Need to Know about Hemp Legalization in Texas.” Texas Cannabis Collective is a Texas-based informational and educational media organization focusing on cannabis news in Texas and across the United States. In April of this year, Chelsie was interviewed on Texas’ hemp growth bill, HB 1325, prior to its passage by Texas Cannabis Collective. In the recent interview, Chelsie discusses the impact that HB 1325 will have here in Texas and practical problems she anticipates that may arise as the hemp-growth program begins implementation.
Last night, Governor Abbot signed Texas HB 1325 (or, “Bill”) into law. HB 1325 establishes a hemp growth program here in Texas and governs manufacture and retail sale of hemp and hemp-derivative products. Because the Bill received the required vote threshold, it became effective immediately, making June 10, 2019, a historic date for Texas hemp and a celebratory evening for our hemp lawyers. Below, we provide a brief overview of the Bill’s requirements for a Texas hemp grower’s license.
HB 1325 (or, the “Bill”) began as a great draft of hemp legislation covering Texas hemp regulations. It aimed to establish a hemp growth program here in Texas and to amend some of our state criminal statutes that have led to arrests of individuals for possession of cannabidiol (CBD). Yes, the original draft Bill needed polishing and refinement to further expound on how the program would be implemented, what the regulations would be, and how it would work on a day-to-day basis. However, as the Bill has progressed through both the House and Senate committees, we have seen revisions included that provide unnecessary and onerous regulations for the Texas hemp industry. This over regulation will not benefit Texas and it certainly will not benefit hemp cultivators, processors, manufacturers, retailers, or consumers. Today, we cover some of the largest problems we have noted with the new text.
HB 1325 (or, “Bill”) is still pending in the Texas Legislature. The Bill will allow hemp growth in Texas for licensed hemp growers and will legalize hemp products, including CBD. HB 1325 will have an impact on manufacturers of hemp-derivative products in Texas and on hemp products in Texas. Today, we review what this impact will be and take a closer look at some of the pertinent provisions of the Bill.