The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is creating a real niche in the beverage product design industry through some of its most recent policy pronouncements. As has always been the case, edible (and drinkable) marijuana products are regulated so that they are not appealing to children. There are a host of old and new policies and rules that focus on avoiding marketing marijuana to kids, some of which are explicit (new policy mandating dull colors), and some of which are subjective (packages and labels cannot be designed in a manner that is “especially appealing to children.”).
But in one of a new set of policies that the WSLCB has issued recently, it has also sought to avoid packaging and labeling reminiscent of products made for adults — alcohol. Under BIP-07-2018, marijuana-infused products must not “Mimic, imply, represent or contain any statement, depiction, illustration, design, brand, or name of a product containing alcohol.”
Further, the WSLCB claims that if a product looks like alcohol, a licensee can’t get its product approved even if it includes a disclaimer on the packaging that the product does not contain alcohol. Even though this is a recent development as a written policy, we know that the WSLCB has been treating this as actual policy for a while. We have seen products turned away because of their bottle shape, the typeface on the label, and the ingredient list.
We have so many questions about this policy. Why? Are there large numbers of people going to marijuana retail stores, buying a product because they think it has alcohol, and going home to be disappointed that it doesn’t? Is this something that the alcohol lobby wants the LCB to do? To what end?
In trying to come up with some reason that this policy makes sense, the most charitable interpretation is that the WSLCB is trying to protect someone who lives with other people and reaches into the fridge to get a beer, only to find later that the beer was in fact marijuana. But even that case doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, as it could apply to marijuana beverages in any sort of container. There are only so many types of bottles and labels in the world, and all of them could conceivably be used for drinks that are either marijuana-infused or not. There’s nothing special about a beer bottle that would make it especially more confusing than a plastic soda bottle.
More importantly, this policy seems to contradict the WSLCB’s policy that marijuana beverages should not be marketed to children. I remember being a kid and being nervous when someone handed me a dark glass bottle of root beer for the first time. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to drink alcohol, and I had to triple check, that there wasn’t any in there because the color and shape of the bottle communicated to me that the drink was for adults-only. The WSLCB seems to be taking that tool away from marijuana beverage processors.
Now the WSLCB seems to be telling people that they can’t communicate with their products that something is specifically for children or specifically for adults. This is where smart product designers come in. Marijuana drink makers in Washington must find some type of middle ground that communicates neither. We’re not sure exactly how they can do that, but we wish them the best.
Washington Marijuana Beverages Can’t Be Too Enticing for Children… or Adults? Find more on: Felicia's Smokin' Blog
It’s undeniable that the cannabis industry has evolved at a dizzying pace over the last decade, with a multitude of new genetics and products that we couldn’t even imagine a few years ago. A clear example of this is the new CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide) technology in illumination for indoor cultivation, also known as LEC (Light Emitting Ceramic). Based on the design of conventional high intensity discharge bulbs, these new lamps are innovative for replacing the quartz used in the familiar metal halide bulbs with a ceramic element, which provides a series of advantages, especially in terms of width of the light spectrum and better use of light, which translates into bigger harvests.
The explanation is simple: CMH LEC lighting systems emit a spectrum of light that is much closer to natural light than any other bulb on the market, with an unrivalled richness in the different wavelengths and that ranges from UV to far red. It is, in a manner of speaking, the perfect artificial light for cultivating plants indoors, increasing photosynthesis and reaching yields of 1.5 grams per watt in the case of cannabis, and with a higher production of terpenes! In addition, and as you will see below, some of the biggest brands in the illumination business already offer their own CMH equipment, which in itself is a guarantee of its effectiveness.
CMH LEC Nanolux CMH/LEC grow lamps
The famous manufacturer of lamps and ballasts for indoor cultivation Nanolux has entered fully into the worlds of high quality CMH lamps. Like all the other options that we present here, these devices are built with the electronic ballast mounted next to the reflector, which is an advantage in terms of comfort (not needing to have the ballast outside the grow area) and efficiency of the equipment (the shorter the distance between ballast and bulb, the better the performance of the lamp).
As you can see, with the CMH LEC technology we can find bulbs with two types of light spectrum: the 3100K bulbs (perfect for flowering) and the 4200K bulbs (suitable for the complete cycle of the plants). However, it is important to remember that you can illuminate a grow from start to finish with either of thess two spectra without any problem, and with excellent results.
In terms of power rating, Nanolux offers 315w and 1000w DE (Double Ended, double-cap) lamps, covering the needs of both the domestic grower and the most demanding of professionals. The Nanolux CMH 315w bulbs can be purchased, as we have said, in both 3100K and 4200K, and the same applies to the Nanolux CMH 1000w DE bulbs. These bulbs are used in all of the Nanolux CMH complete kits, that is, the sets including everything required, ready to plug in: bulb, reflector, bulb holder, electronic ballast and power cable. Of course, they can also be fitted in CMH systems of other brands.
The first, and smallest lamp of the range is the Nanolux 315w CMH LEC Fixture, which immediately catches the eye for the vertical position of the bulb. This, together with the 97% reflection achieved by the material used to manufacture the reflector, ensures a more even diffusion of the light over the plants, which in turn translates into more flower production in the areas that are furthest from the light and that normally produce considerably less than the buds closer to the lamp. The low frequency digital ballast is built into one side of the reflector, which as we know increases its efficiency.
The second option is the Nanolux CMH LEC 630W Fixture, which thanks to its versatile design allows the use of two 315W bulbs of either of the two available spectra, 3K (3100K) or 4K (4200K). In this way growers can install two 3K bulbs, two 4K bulbs, or one of each, and depending on their needs or the stage of the plants development, they can customise the type of spectrum as they see best. In addition, this equipment can be connected to the Nanolux Cloud Control System through an app, offering even more control to the user.
Finally, Nanolux proposes its most powerful lamp, the Nanolux CMH LEC 1000w. This lamp uses a double-ended 1000w CMH LEC bulb, whose power output can be controlled via the adjustable digital ballast built into the reflector. In this way, the grower can choose to operate the lamp at different outputs (500w, 750w, 875w or 1000w), which allows us to use the same equipment from the beginning to the end of the crop, as well as reducing the electric power consumption according to needs (heat, plant transpiration, etc).
Lumatek CMH/LEC grow lamps
Another of the leading brands in the agricultural illumination sector, Lumatek, has also presented its new CMH equipment, which, with the construction of these new lamps brings together the latest technology, the excellent features and high quality of this well-known brand. One of the main features of the Lumatek CMH Aurora 315w LEC 3100K is the possibility of regulating the output (something not usually seen in 315W equipment) from 50% to 100% in 10% intervals. This versatility makes them perfect both for the growth of small seedlings and for the flowering of adult specimens.
Lumatek offers – like Nanolux – a 630w unit, the Lumatek Tekken Pro 630w LEC CMH 3100K. However, in this case the light source is not two 315W bulbs but instead is one double-ended 630w DE CMH bulb. As in the previous kit, the adjustable digital ballast gives us control over the output power, in this case 80%, 90% or 100%. In addition, it has connections for use with the Lumatek controller, known as Lumatek Digital Panel. Without a doubt, Lumatek is once again at the forefront of illumination thanks to these two splendid grow lamps!
Newlite CMH/LEC grow lamps
Last but not least, we present the latest innovations in CMH/LEC lamps from Newlite. As in the previous case, we find ourselves with a 315w lamp and a 630w lamp. The Newlite 315w CMH/LEC lighting kit has a lightweight digital ballast (not dimmable) coupled to the German-made Alanod reflector and can be purchased with a 3K bulb, 4K bulb or without a bulb.
For its part, the Newlite 63ow CMH/LEC lighting system uses a 3K or 4K DE (double ended) 630w bulb, like the Lumatek Tekken. This new type of bulb has a lower thermal index, which combined with a higher PAR output than conventional bulbs makes them more efficient than two 315w bulbs. On the other hand, and as we’ve already seen, the advantage of units with two x 315w bulbs lies in the possibility of employing both spectra (3K and 4K) in the same lamp.
As you can see, the choice of CMH/LEC lamps increases by the day, with more and more manufacturers choosing this new type of lighting technology for indoor growing, and also as support for natural light for plantations grown in large greenhouses. We encourage you to try them, we’ve already done it and we can definitely say that the results do not disappoint, everything points to them being the future of high intensity discharge lamps for indoor grows.
CMH/LEC Grow Lamps See more on: Felicia Sullivan's Blog
The ups, downs, and unknowns around L.A. cannabis licensing have abounded from the passage of Measure M back in March 2017. This is not uncommon, especially in large cities, as regulators determine how to handle things on the fly and as issues arise (see, for example, social equity in L.A. and the ability to re-locate for Existing Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (“EMMDs“). L.A., to its credit, has been transparent and pretty consistent in the way it’s treated licensees and stakeholders. To that end, this month, L.A.’s Department of Cannabis Regulation (“DCR”) released a Phase 2 licensing bulletin that’s significantly important for those Phase 2 would-be licensees that seek a temporary license.
Recall, to qualify for Phase II temporary approval/licensing (which triggered priority licensing for existing “non-retailers” like growers and manufacturers) — folks had to meet all of the following criteria:
Number 4 above was causing a lot of heartburn amongst Phase II license applicants in that they didn’t really know what to expect. Pre-licensing inspections can be fairly labor intensive depending on the state of the property at issue versus the build out and business plans of a given applicant, and each City has a different standard for a passing grade. In L.A., pre-licensing inspection (which is a pre-requisite to temporary approval) “may include, but is not limited to [an inspection of the business premises by], employees or agents of the following City or county departments: DCR, Building and Safety, Police Department, Fire Department and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.” And a pre-License inspection consists of, but is not limited to, the following: “approval of the premises diagram; on-site inspection of all applicable building code and fire code requirements; approval of the security plan; fingerprinting; and approval of the fire safety plan (if applicable).”
Plus, applicants must upgrade all applicable electrical and water systems to Building and Fire Code standards before their application will move forward. Again, this is no small task depending on how your building is holding up/what its previous uses and occupancies were.
Temporary approval in L.A. is essential for applicants to also apply for and receive their temporary licenses from the state, which will not be given out or renewed after December 31. This month, L.A. thankfully illuminated for Phase II applicants what to expect for pre-licensing inspections in the City. In its bulletin, the City states:
The onus here is on the applicant to confirm for the City that it’s ready for pre-licensing inspection. In addition, when DCR confirms a date for an applicant’s inspection, the applicant will be asked to provide its most up-to-date premises diagrams to the DCR (including showing. accurate placement of security cameras). The bottom line of the City’s bulletin is that the physical premises be substantially similar to the premises diagram submitted to the DCR and that the premises be sufficiently secured per City and state law. During the inspection, the DCR will:
Another big question in L.A. was what the DCR would do with premises that are not 100% built out. The bulletin tells us that:
All of this means that it is best to be fully built out (in accordance with your premises diagram and with the fire and safety code) and ready for inspection if you want to get your temporary approval in L.A. anytime soon for your entire facility.
On inspection, also don’t expect to sweet talk the DCR investigator or to learn about the status of your application. Neither will advance your cause with the DCR at this point. Instead, applicants should proceed with business as usual in a professional manner and be as helpful as possible to the DCR investigators and to LAFD.
The post ICYMI: Los Angeles Updates Its Phase 2 Cannabis Licensing Process is available on Felicia Sullivan
MedMen, a popular California cannabis retail company, has been hit with a class action lawsuit from former employees. Class action lawsuits are no joke. These lawsuits involve a few plaintiffs suing on behalf of multiple similarly situated plaintiffs. The claims, money, and other associated costs add up very fast.
In MedMen’s case, two former employees, Chelsea Medlock and Anthony Torres, allege that MedMen failed to pay them for all hours worked, failed to pay overtime wages, failed to provide mandatory meal and rest breaks, and failed to keep accurate records of employees hours worked. Medlock and Torres worsened the blow by bringing the lawsuit as a class action on behalf of all MedMen employees (current and former) from the last four years. If the class is “certified” by the Superior Court of the State of California, where it was filed, the class of plaintiffs could include thousands of employees.
Specifically, Medlock and Torres allege MedMen required them to perform work “off-the-clock” for which they received no pay. Medlock and Torres are seeking minimum wage, liquidated damages, interest and attorney fees for the unpaid time. Although Medlock and Torres have not made specific allegations in the complaint, Starbucks was recently ordered to pay an employee $102.67 for the time the employee spent locking up the store and setting alarms, without compensation. While this amount may seem small, if Medlock and Torres get their class certified, MedMen could be paying out a similar amount or something much greater, to thousands of employees.
Medlock and Torres also allege in their lawsuit that MedMen failed to pay employees required overtime wages. In California, employers must pay overtime rates to non-exempt employees who work in excess of eight hours per day. Medlock and Torres also allege they either were not provided the required meal and rest periods, or were not paid for the meal periods they had to work during. Medlock and Torres have not identified specific dates these alleged violations occurred, but if done over a significant period of time, the back wages and penalities owed will add up quickly.
In addition to their claims relating to their wages, the plaintiffs allege they were not provided accurate wage and hour statements as required by the California Labor Code and failed to provide accurate payroll records. Failure to provide accurate wage and hour statements can result in a penalty of up to $4,000 per employee.
Finally, Medlock and Torres allege that MedMen failed to timely issue final paychecks. Failure to issue final paychecks can result in penalty wages of up to thirty days of pay at the employee regular rate of pay.
In short, Medlock and Torres’s claims are numerous and serious. If they have merit, MedMen will have to pay pack wages and may be hit with treble damages, attorney fees, and interest. Of more important, if the class is certified, MedMen will have to pay those types of damages to potentially every employee they employed in California over the last four years.
Cannabis companies are growing. With growing businesses come more employees. More employees means a higher chance of litigation. For these reasons, if you are ever unsure whether your employment practices are compliant with state and federal law, it is best to have a cannabis employment attorney evaluate and provide advice. You may be able to stave off litigation, or, if you are hit with a lawsuit, you’ll have procedures in place to adequately fight it before it gets too far.
Cannabis Employment Law: The Class Action Lawsuits are Here was initially seen on Felicia's Smokin' Blog
Last Friday, December 7, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (“ECDD”), was scheduled to make a recommendation about the international legal status of cannabis. The WHO is a “specialized agency” of the United Nations, and the ECCD is a WHO committee consisting of experts in the field of drugs and medicines, that assesses the health risks and benefits of the use of psychoactive substances. Alas, the ECDD announced it would temporarily withhold the results of the assessment until January, declaring it needed additional time “for clearance reasons.”
Earlier this year, the ECDD released a preliminary report (“Pre-Review”) on the effects of the plant, which concluded that cannabis is a “relatively safe drug.” The Pre-Review also revealed that cannabinoids (“CBD”) offer numerous therapeutic benefits, including reduction of pain, promotion of sleep, and improvement of motor function for individuals affected by Parkinson’s disease. As a result, the ECDD made the recommendation to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (“CND”), that pure CBD not be scheduled under any international drug treaty.
The Pre-Review results gave us and other reform advocates great hope that a more in-depth review would take place before the ECDD makes a final recommendation to U.N. Secretary António Guterres. Comprehensive scientific data on the effects and benefits of cannabis are hard to find. Indeed, the current status of cannabis as a strictly prohibited substance has forced researchers who wish to study the plant to overcome additional hurdles that do not exist for the study of other drugs. To this end, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared last week that the federal government should evaluate how it classifies the drug because the restrictive scheduling hinders research.
This statement by one of the key officials of the Trump administration highlights a shift in the U.S. federal government’s strict position on the prohibition of cannabis. As we previously discussed, the federal government has repeatedly cited to obligations under international treaties to perpetuate the current ban on cannabis and its derivatives. Back in May, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) concluded that CBD should be descheduled but felt forced to recommend rescheduling the plant to Schedule V of the Controlled Substance Act to comply with international treaties to which the U.S is a party. Nonetheless, the FDA specified that if treaty obligations were to no longer require control of CBD that its recommendation would need to be promptly revisited.
Accordingly, the potential recommendation by the ECDD to remove cannabis from international control would create wide-ranging implications for the global effort to legalize the plant, including in the U.S. But for now, we must wait patiently for the ECDD’s recommendation to the CND, which is scheduled to be discussed and to go up for a vote in March 2019. The delay is frustrating, although we are encouraged to see that the U.N. continues to take a hard look at cannabis. Sit tight.
The following post World Health Organization Temporarily Withholds Marijuana Scheduling Recommendations is available on https://www.feliciasullivan.com
No matter how you like to consume your cannabis, the artificially intelligent cannabis grinder OTTO can help get a precise grind that's great for smooth-smoking joints and much more.
The following article The OTTO Joint Machine Has Something for Everyone is courtesy of Felicia's Smokin' Blog
The federal 2018 Farm Bill is likely to become law in the very near future. If it does, it will redefine the hemp industry nationwide. We intend on writing more in the near future as to the specifics of the 2018 Farm Bill, but one interesting question is what effect it will have on California’s industrial hemp and CBD policies.
As anyone in the California hemp business knows, the Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued a FAQ policy guideline over the summer which took the position that industrial-hemp derived CBD in food products is unlawful. The FAQ justified this position in part because the federal Controlled Substances Act included industrial hemp as a Schedule I drug, and in part because the federal Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) had concluded that it was unlawful to place THC or CBD into food products.
The 2018 Farm Bill, if it passes, will essentially amend the Controlled Substances Act to take industrial hemp out of the definition of marijuana. In essence, this would make industrial hemp derived products lawful products. The question then is: Will the 2018 Farm Bill negate the FAQ?
The answer is probably not. Even though the Controlled Substances Act may be amended and some of the underlying support for the FAQ may be undermined, that won’t change the fact that the FDA has not concluded that CBD in food products is lawful. While the CDPH certainly could change its position, the de-scheduling of industrial hemp won’t necessarily change the FDA’s positions right away. In the meantime, it’s safe to conclude that the FAQ still stands.
Ultimately, the 2018 Farm Bill is likely to have far-reaching impacts throughout the industrial hemp industry. We’ll make sure to keep you updated along the way.
The following post What the 2018 Farm Bill Could Mean for CBD in California was initially seen on FeliciaSullivan.com
Phil Seda, CEO of Sky High Gardens, joins Will and Bailey to talk about developing strains and growing craft cannabis.
The post What Are You Smoking? Episode 64: Sky High Gardens’ Phil Seda appeared first on Leafly.
What Are You Smoking? Episode 64: Sky High Gardens’ Phil Seda was originally published to https://www.feliciasullivan.com
Running a cannabis business is difficult and many people fail. There are a myriad of reasons why these ventures bottom out, although owners tend to blame federal law issues first of all. It’s true that federal law creates a tough environment for cannabis businesses (banking issues, tax issues, branding issues, etc.), but federal prohibition also kept big money sidelined at first, giving small business a real head start. My personal view, after seeing many spectacular business failures and slow motion crashes over the past several years, is that most are some combination of the following: 1) a challenging legal and regulatory environment, 2) saturated markets, and 3) operator error.
A start-up cannabis business cannot control the first two items listed above, but should be able to navigate them. The third item is a different animal. Margin of error tends to be slim for most new ventures, and self-inflicted wounds are difficult to overcome. This blog post covers the five biggest mistakes we continue to see in early stage Oregon cannabis business, and gives suggestions to avoid them.
Because the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) “paused” review of applications submitted after June 15, 2018, most new market entrants are buying their way in through asset or stock sales from existing licensees. The OLCC has a small and overtasked team of change-in-ownership investigators who work with both buyers and sellers on these transactions. Recently, agency higher-ups have advised us that these changes can still happen in as quickly as four to six weeks. However, that almost never occurs. Four to six months seems more common.
Even a non-cannabis business sale can be delayed by many things, from diligence issues to lease negotiations to ironing out terms in final agreements. In the Oregon cannabis industry, administrative vetting and disclosure requirements must be added to that list. Delays are almost always on the buyer side, stemming from initial business structuring, filling out OLCC business structure and individual history forms, submitting fingerprints, etc. Buyers should create realistic timelines to avoid hemorrhaging cash during this phase, and should strongly consider working with someone who has navigated the change-in-ownership process before. It’s a singular process and there is definitely some art to it.
This is a bad idea, and many people do it. Whether for new applications (pretty straightforward) or change-in-ownership (harder) many new businesses spend significant money on lawyers to guide them through the application process. Our Portland office philosophy has always been not to blow through client retainers on ministerial work: We want people to succeed so we can work with them for years. For that reason, we have trained licensing paralegals who push these applications through efficiently and expertly. Attorneys only come in for unusual situations. The bottom line here is that new businesses should save their legal budgets for work that cannot be done by non-lawyers.
You are not going to sell your marijuana for $2,000 a pound in Oregon. Forget it. You also do not have a strain of marijuana that you will patent and license one day to big pharma. You are not the only person trying to run down hemp for distillate, and, closer to home, you should not budget a six-figure salary for yourself or anyone else in the early stage. Although the market challenges have been well publicized, too many people believe that an OLCC marijuana license is tantamount to a license to print money. It’s not. All of this means that it is crucial to dial in your research and expectations before starting out – especially if you are taking on investment and the legal risk attached to that.
For whatever reason, employment practices are often subpar with cannabis businesses. There are a couple of important things to note here. The first is that employee actions, even if unauthorized, can lead to license revocation in Oregon. This means you must ensure your employees are well versed in compliance, and you have to watch them. The second thing to note is employment law is complex and seems to change as often as cannabis licensing rules. We have a host of new employer requirements coming online January 1, 2019 in Oregon, for example. Whenever there is a dispute, courts and administrative bodies tend to favor employees, so it’s important to keep your team in order.
You do not need a tall stack of complex documents to start a cannabis business. You do need the basics, though, and those agreements should be solid. If you are renting property, get a tailored industry lease. If you are organizing an LLC, get an operating agreement that covers matters important to your business– management, distributions, protocol when someone jeopardizes the OLCC license, etc. If you have a white label agreement, ensure that all processes and intellectual property ownership are properly delineated. Etc.
Starting a business can be expensive, and people tend to skim on legal. But nearly all of the cannabis litigation matters my firm is currently handling stem from defective contracts, and from people operating informally in that sense. Reasonably tailored contracts should be a part of any new business plan, and they should not break the bank. These contracts will set both guidelines and expectations for the business, and they operate like insurance when things go wrong.
Oregon Cannabis: Five Common Early Stage Mistakes is courtesy of The Felicia Sullivan Blog
After a long last, it’s finally happened. The 2018 Farm Bill has made it out of conference and has been approved by the Senate. It currently awaits approval from the House, which is expected this week. If Donald Trump signs the 2018 Farm Bill before the current legislative session ends on December 21, industrial hemp will be legal under U.S. federal law. Though we still are likely a few years out from full marijuana legalization, it appears that 2019 is going to be the “Year of Hemp” if Washington D.C. can make this happen before the deadline. Now, we’ll turn to the long awaited hemp-related text of the 2018 Farm Bill, as agreed to by the House and Senate. A copy of the full 2018 Farm Bill is available, via the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, here.
Some key provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill remain. “Industrial hemp” still means parts of the cannabis plant, whether growing or not, with less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. Cannabis with more than 0.3% is still considered marijuana and is still classified as a schedule I substance. Additionally, the 2014 Farm Bill’s hemp provisions will continue for a year after the 2018 Farm Bill is signed. That means that the agricultural pilot programs that we know and love will stick around for a little bit longer.
However, the new version of the Farm Bill differs significantly in that industrial hemp is explicitly defined to include “all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers” of industrial hemp. Technically, this isn’t necessarily a change in the sense that industry stakeholders (including yours truly) have long interpreted the 2014 Farm Bill to make derivatives and cannabinoids from industrial hemp legal. Now that interpretation has been codified into US law.
The CSA will also explicitly exempt “hemp” from the definition of marijuana. That means that the CSA will acknowledge two different types of cannabis, hemp and marijuana. Hemp is an agricultural commodity. Marijuana is a controlled substance. The problems that plague the marijuana industry including the lack of access to banking, bankruptcy, and federal intellectual property protections should no longer impact businesses dealing solely in industrial hemp. This distinction will also likely lead to increased research by the FDA and other agencies, and remove any question as to whether industrial hemp producers are subject to IRC 280e, which prohibits the taking of deductions related to the trafficking of Schedule I or II controlled substance.
The questions of the interstate transfer of industrial hemp is also addressed. Section 10114 of the 2018 Farm Bill states the following:
This is a major development as the 2014 Farm Bill did not require states to make any distinction between hemp and marijuana. The new provision means that states that don’t adopt an industrial hemp program cannot interfere with the transportation or shipment of industrial hemp. Though this may not go so far as to require each state to allow the sale of industrial hemp or hemp products, including Hemp-CBD, it does prevent states from interfering with the distribution of industrial hemp.
The 2018 Farm Bill also gives Indian tribes the authority to regulate industrial hemp. This is an important change as the Menominee tribe, who’s territory falls within the state of Wisconsin had its initial hemp crop destroyed by DEA agents. A Federal Court ruled that the 2014 Farm Bill required that hemp be cultivated in compliance with state law and therefore, because Wisconsin had not implemented an agricultural pilot program to research industrial hemp, that the Menominee tribe could not legally cultivate hemp. The 2018 Bill explicitly gives tribes the ability to implement programs allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp.
One of the reasons the 2014 Farm Bill’s hemp provisions have been so murky is that no federal agency was given regulatory authority over hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill addresses this by appointing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA will oversee a state or tribe’s regulatory authority over industrial hemp. The state or tribe will submit a plan to monitor and regulate the production of industrial hemp and the USDA will have 60 days to review the plans. Plans must track the land where hemp is cultivated, procedures for testing hemp and disposing of non-compliant hemp, and indicate how the state will enforce against violations of the 2018 Farm Bill.
The 2018 Farm Bill covers penalties for violations of approved state or tribal plans and breaks them into the following categories:
The 2018 Farm Bill will prohibit “any person convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance” under state or federal law before, on, or after the date when the Farm Bill passes to produce hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill or participate in a state or tribal hemp program for a period of 10 years following the date of conviction. This prohibition will not apply to any person lawfully growing hemp with a license, registration, or authorization under a 2014 Farm Bill agricultural pilot program prior to the 2018 Farm Bill enactment. In addition, anyone who makes a false statement on an industrial hemp application will also be banned from the industry.
Finally, the 2018 Farm Bill would also extend federal crop insurance coverage to industrial hemp, meaning that the feds will actually insure a cannabis crop. Hemp producers can also apply for USDA certification and grants, as with other agricultural commodities.
Expect us to write more on this in the near term. This is an important day in the history of cannabis reform and will have a major and positive impact on the cannabis industry.
Breaking News: Industrial Hemp Legalization is Happening! Find more on: The Felicia Sullivan Blog