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Getting hep to hemp: The FAQsGetting hep to hemp: The FAQs

Wyoming Department of Agriculture develops a list of frequently asked questions about this crop under consideration for growth in the state.

August 3, 2017

5 Min Read
HEMP QUESTIONS: Wyoming has created a list of frequently asked questions about hemp. The state is sharing what's driving the move by several states to develop rules for raising this once-controversial crop.Mirkob87/iStock/Thinkstock

At one time, hemp was an important crop used for making a wide range of products, from rope to oil and more. Yet the crop's relationship to the more intense cannabis relative — marijuana — led to bans on raising it for profit.

The 2014 Farm Bill changed that, providing for states to set down rules for raising the crop. The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has set down a set of frequently asked questions, or FAQs, that offers insight into its program for the crop, but there are also insights that benefit other states in the West that are turning to hemp as part of this newfound support.

Check out the Wyoming FAQs:

What is industrial hemp?
As defined in Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill, industrial hemp is the plant Cannabis sativa L., and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

As defined by Wyoming Statute §35-7-2101(a)(ii): "Industrial hemp" means all parts and varieties of the plant Cannabis sativa l. containing a total of no more than three-tenths of 1% (0.3%) of any combination of tetrahydrocannabinols. (Further information may be found at House Enrolled Act 0116.)

What is the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) working on now with its industrial hemp program?
This is a new program for the state of Wyoming, with a two-part effective date: authorization for drafting rules and obtaining a U.S. Department of Justice-Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) permit effective on July 1, 2017, and authorization to establish a licensure program on July 1, 2018. The WDA is drafting rules and regulations for the new program and researching the requirements to obtain a permit for importation from the DEA to allow the growing of hemp in the state of Wyoming.

Can I plant hemp right now?

Why not?
In establishing a legal hemp program in Wyoming, there are several steps that must occur before the licensing stage. First, rules and regulations will need to be completed, and the DEA will need to grant an import permit. The WDA will also need to obtain equipment for testing seeds and substances, as well as the personnel to perform such tests and sampling. Once the law is fully implemented (meaning the rules and regulations are in place) the DEA import permit has been secured, equipment is in place, and personnel are trained and ready, the program will be ready to start licensure.

When will a licensing program be implemented?
The WDA, while working toward getting the program started, has no established or firm date for licensing growers to grow hemp. There is still a lot of work to be done before a program is implemented. We do not anticipate a licensing program prior to the start of 2019.

What are the current hurdles the industrial hemp program faces in Wyoming?
The main hurdle the program faces is funding. As part of House Enrolled Act 116, the WDA is required to sample and test hemp to ensure it has less than 0.3% THC content. To do this, the WDA will need equipment and personnel for testing. This process will also require training for sampling and testing. This legislation had no appropriation attached, and in order to start the new program, the WDA needs funding to start and implement the program.

Can WDA use laboratories in other states?
No. While the 2014 Farm Bill explicitly allows for states to establish research programs to grow industrial hemp, industrial hemp is still regulated by the Controlled Substances Act. Any seeds, plants or products must stay in Wyoming, and therefore cannot be sent to other states for testing. This necessitates having equipment in Wyoming that is capable of testing for THC.

May I test hemp for THC concentrations at a private lab?
During the pilot program, only results from the WDA Analytical Services Division will be used to determine the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis for industrial hemp grown in licensed Wyoming fields.

If I want to grow hemp when the program is implemented, what do I need to do?
In accordance with House Enrolled Act 116 and federal law, in order to grow industrial hemp, a person must obtain a license from the WDA with the following information:

• Name and address of the applicant
• Legal description of the land area to be used for the production of industrial hemp
 Other information required by the department identified in the rules and regulations.
• Along with this, each first-time applicant must submit a fingerprint card prepared by law enforcement and any other information necessary to complete a statewide and nationwide criminal history check. Finally, there will be a fee associated with the license that will be found in the rules and regulations.
Note: Additional requirements may be imposed through rules and regulations to comply with federal law.

What will need to happen once a grower is growing hemp?
Each person licensed by the WDA to grow industrial hemp must document and report that all seeds planted are of a type and variety certified to yield industrial hemp with no more than 0. 3% THC and a copy of any contract to grow, produce or market industrial hemp.

Note: additional requirements may be imposed through rules and regulations to comply with federal law.

What else can growers expect?
There are a wide variety of issues that can arise when growing industrial hemp. A few of those issues include insects, disease, weeds and other common issues that arise in growing crops. Additionally, the pressures of growing any crop will be enhanced, as no pesticides are federally labeled for management of common crop pests and diseases on industrial hemp.

Note: Additional requirements may be imposed through rules and regulations to comply with federal law.

Does the industrial hemp program have any bearing on the sale of cannabidiol (CBD) oils in the state of Wyoming?
No. The industrial hemp statute does not address the use of cannabidiol oils in Wyoming. Interested parties should consult with an attorney for compliance with other state and federal laws.

Note: This FAQ is for information only, and should not be interpreted as legal advice or relied upon in determining whether you are in compliance with state and federal law. Consult with an attorney on these issues.

Source: Wyoming Department of Agriculture

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