Last month, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed a new industrial hemp bill into law. The new hemp law revises and improves upon the state’s existing industrial hemp growing program. Washington State’s new hemp law follows upon Congress’ passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed industrial hemp from the Federal Controlled Substances Act.
Under Washington State’s new hemp law, the state’s Department of Agriculture (the “WSDA”) must develop an agricultural commodity plan to replace the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program. The WSDA’s plan must include procedures for:
- Testing THC concentration levels of hemp;
- The effective disposal of plants and products produced that are not hemp;
- The enforcement of the plan and for corrective action plans for licensees; and
- Conducting annual inspections of hemp.
The new law allows for hemp and processed hemp produced under the state’s hemp program or produced lawfully in another state or country to be transferred and sold within Washington State, out of state, and internationally. The WSDA will be in charge of regulating hemp processing for food products and creating standards for the same.
Under the new law, licensed hemp growers are not required to maintain a buffer from a licensed marijuana producer. The four mile buffer previously required per WAC 16-305-060(6) is no longer applicable to licensed growers. This could possibly allow licensed marijuana producers to grow hemp on the same property if the zoning permits.
The prior prohibition in state law on processing any part of industrial hemp, except seed, as food, extract, oil cake, concentrate, resin or other preparation for topical use, oral consumption, or inhalation by humans, is now removed. Hemp licensees can now process hemp in all of these ways that were formally prohibited. With the passage of the federal 2018 Farm Bill and Washington State’s new hemp law, licensees in this state should be well positioned to participate in a wide range of hemp and cannabidiol (“CBD”) industries and market places.
Licensees, however, should be aware that hemp derived CBD products remain subject to regulation by the Federal Drug Administration (the “FDA”). The FDA’s stance on the regulation of CBD continues to evolve and a public hearing will be held later this month to get input from stakeholders regarding the regulation of hemp derived CBD. Stay tuned to this blog for more updates on hemp and CBD rules and regulations.
For more information on the regulation of hemp and marijuana businesses in Washington State, please contact Heather Wolf.