When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law nearly a year ago, it opened up new opportunities for businesses but also created a level of confusion as to which hemp-related activities would be permitted under the new rules.
Transportation of hemp across state lines was made legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, but there have been multiple instances of hemp transporters running into trouble with law enforcement in Idaho and other states while driving through.
Possession of hemp is prohibited under current Idaho law unless it is the stalks of mature cannabis plants and contains 0.0 percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
On Tuesday, November 19, Idaho Governor Brad Little issued an executive order authorizing the transportation of hemp through the state in an effort to resolve conflicts between state and federal law.
The executive order does not authorize the production or possession of hemp in Idaho.
Governor Little says his administration expected that changes to federal law would result in hemp traveling across state lines and have been working on an appropriate response.
“From the start, I have stated I am not opposed to a new crop such as hemp, but that we need to be sure the production and shipping of industrial hemp is not a front to smuggle illicit drugs into and around Idaho,” said Governor Little. “My administration has prepared for this development, working with partners in law enforcement and other interested parties.”
Little says that the rules were published at a time when his administration was unable to quickly respond and that his executive order is meant to address the narrow issue of transporting hemp between states until the Idaho Legislature can develop a permanent regulatory framework for hemp.
The Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho State Police, and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture will be promulgating temporary rules and working cooperatively to carry out the executive order.
Before hauling hemp through Idaho, transporters must consent to an inspection of their cargo.
Under the rules of the new executive order, hemp transporters must stop at the first port of entry they encounter in Idaho and present a valid laboratory report on their cargo, a complete bill of lading, verification of the hemp being legally produced, and an affirmation that their vehicle does not contain illicit drugs or hemp variations not authorized by the 2014 or 2018 Farm Bills.
The rules also state that all cargo must be properly labeled with the producer’s address, lot number, and quantity of hemp.
After passing inspection, transporters must proceed through Idaho only on interstate highways and their immediate vicinity without any unnecessary delays and be ready to present their inspection report documents during any contact with Idaho law enforcement.