How the Idaho legislature killed hemp possibilities for the state’s farmers

How the Idaho legislature killed hemp possibilities for the state’s farmers

Last week, lawmakers in Idaho became some of the first in the United States to make moves against liberalizing hemp laws amid a spate of bills nationwide to reduce regulations and make it easier for farmers and customers to deal in cannabis.

Idaho’s House of Representatives recently voted to kill a bill moving through the legislature that would legalize the non-psychoactive cannabis plants that are useful in textiles, plastic manufacture and the extraction of the popular supplement, CBD.

According to reporting in the Idaho Statesman, the decision to strike down the bill and its amendments leaves hemp regulation at the mercy of federal standards. [1]

Although hemp in general was legalized as an agricultural product at the end of 2018, both the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have floundered in determining a solid ruleset for hemp products and growing.

Farmers are often at the mercy of federal regulators and bureaucratic offices, waiting on permits and vital loans that make up the decision to plant hemp crops possible.

When amendments were added in the state Senate that would empower Idaho to handle its own plan for handling hemp, the Congress struck down the bill. [1]

Despite the fact that the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the plant federally, the result of this legislative fumble is that it will remain illegal in Idaho itself. [2]

While exemptions were the goal of some late amendments to this bill last week, including the right to transport hemp plants across the state in accordance to the lift of the federal ban, they failed when the bill did and transporting hemp will remain illegal as well. [1]

Strong interest group and legislative pressures contributed to keeping excited Idaho farmers out of the promising and lucrative hemp industry, but local news station KTVB reports that this result will lead to “unnecessary chaos” in the words of one Idaho senator. [3]

According to reporting at the station, Idaho classifies any substance with even a trace amount of THC as marijuana. [3]

This is misleading and unfortunate, as many CBD distillates don’t induce the same mind-altering effects of marijuana but do contain small amounts (often up to 0.3%) of THC as an activator for CBD’s benefits.

"This is a bad situation for the companies involved, it's a bad situation for the drivers, and it’s a bad situation for the people of Idaho," Idaho Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D - Boise, told KTVB. "Idaho will now begin to fall behind what's going on in the rest of the country, and that will present more issues and problems." [3]