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.
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.
Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives took a historic voice vote on HB1325 (the “Bill”). HB1325 is an act which, if passed, will permit growth of hemp as an agricultural commodity in Texas and will allow sale of hemp products in Texas. At the voice vote, Representative King offered a floor amendment making minor changes to the Bill’s text, which was passed. Today, the House entered its formal vote for passage of HB1325.
Hemp will be descheduled in Texas on April 5, 2019 by the Texas Department of Health Services. If you have been following the blog, then you know that hemp and CBD are both considered illegal substances under current Texas statutory law. However, we have some clarity and action from the Texas Department of State Health Services (“SHS”) in relation to its scheduling of controlled substances. The Department has descheduled hemp in Texas from its list of controlled substances. The Drugs and Medical Devices Division of SHS is responsible for the scheduling of controlled substances for SHS. SHS has the power to amend its scheduling of controlled substances anytime that a change in federal scheduling has occurred. Tex. Health & Safety Code § 481.034 (g) (available here).
Since implementation of the Agricultural Act of 2018 (“Farm Bill”) on January 1, 2019, we have had several business and individuals in Texas contacting our office regarding growing hemp in Texas. Most want to begin growing hemp on their land in Texas or want to know how to lease their land to a hemp farm in Texas. Unfortunately, hemp growth in Texas remains illegal.