As the legalization of cannabis and cannabis-related products continues to make progress, keeping legalities straight can be challenging. The rise of the cannabidiol (CBD) industry has also led to an abundance of misinformation online and in the media, making it harder for the average consumer to find the right answers to their questions. But cannabis, hemp, hemp derivatives, CBD, and marijuana continue to gain popularity, and it is important to fully understand what is legal and what is not. Below, we have put together a comparison between the legalities of marijuana and the legalities of hemp as a thorough examination and differentiation.
We are pleased to announce that attorney Chelsie Spencer has been selected by Thomson Reuters as a Super Lawyers Rising Star of 2020.
Super Lawyers is a rating service for exceptional lawyers that covers over 70 areas of practice. Only 2.5% of lawyers in each state are selected as Rising Stars by Super Lawyers. These lawyers are selected based on independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.
Our hemp attorneys recently sat down to identify six issues with the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (“TDA”) Revised Proposed Rules for Texas’ hemp program. If you are a hemp industry business, it is not too late to submit your comments directly to TDA. Comments on the Revised TDA Hemp Production Plan may be submitted HERE.
“GOOD STANDING” WITH THE TDA
As criteria for evaluation of an applicant for a hemp license, the Revised Proposed Rules require that an applicant “be in good standing with TDA.” What exactly does this mean?
Over the next few days, hemp attorney Chelsie Spencer will be addressing issues that she has noted with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) proposed program rules, the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (“TDA”) Revised Interim Program Rules, and the Texas Department of State Health Services (“DSHS”). Keep in mind that these rules are all in their proposed period and that now is the time for the public to provide input. Today, we will be highlighting issues with the USDA’s program rules.
Comments on the USDA Interim Rules may be submitted HERE.
After learning the application and hemp license holder requirements in Part I of this Series and the rules and procedures regarding the sampling and testing of hemp in Part II, it is now time to turn to the TDA plan’s provisions covering violations, license suspension and revocation, hemp transportation, and hemp seed requirements.
As a hemp license holder, if you violate the TDA plan, it is imperative to comply with any enforcement action or corrective action plan imposed by the TDA in order to avoid any further negative consequences for you and/or your hemp operations.
Now that you have read Part I of the Revised TDA Hemp Production Plan series on the application and license requirements for hemp producers, it is crucial to understand the rules and methods for the sampling and testing of hemp for tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”) concentration levels.
To conform with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) hemp production plan, the Texas Department of Agriculture (“TDA”) proposed its own hemp production rules and regulations (the “TDA plan”) to the Texas Register in December of 2019. The proposed rules were then revised and released on Friday, January 10th, and they are open to public comment until Monday, February 10th. Comments are to be submitted to Philip Wright, Administrator for Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Texas Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 12847, Austin, Texas 78711, or by email to [email protected]. If dissatisfied with any provision of the TDA plan, it is highly recommended to raise and send concerns to the TDA during this window for public comment.
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.