The 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law on December 20, 2018 legalizing Hemp in all 50 states! Now there is much work to do in Washington State to bring us in line with the Farm Bill regarding hemp. Legislation has to be passed in the next session beginning mid January to change our state language to open up farming and the supply chain. It will be at least 6 months before the new hemp program will be in affect and new licenses are available. Hemp field GPS coordinates and THC results are mandatory under the 2018 Farm Bill.
The WSDA must submit a proposal to the USDA for approval of our new program. It will be at least 6 months before the new hemp program will be in affect and licenses available. There is a chance the time frame for state laws to change may be after the 2019 planting season begins. Washington's Hemp Research Pilot Program will expire January 1, 2020. The current program rules and regulations will be in effect until state law is implemented and new rules and regulations written and signed off on. There will most likely be a Grandfather Clause for IHRP licensees to move over to the New Program rules and regulations.
A WSDA request for hemp funding was not included in the Governor's budget but is going to be put in this coming legislative session in another form. There are back up plans. I will let you know more on funding and other new hemp program specifics when I have details. Stay Tuned for updates on developments.
House Bill Hb1401 relating to a New Hemp Program was filed on January 18, 2019 in the Washington State Legislature! An amendment has been proposed to clarify that there is No buffer zone as well as others to be announced soon. Once this bill passes in the House and Senate and is signed off by the governor, it will replace the IHRP. Senate Bill Sb 5276 is now a substitute bill based on Hb 1401 with some amendments. HB 1401 is in line with the farm bill and fixes major issues that were part of the IHRP. The 4 mile buffer zone between hemp and marijuana is eliminated, the whole plant is in the hemp definition and CBD is able to be harvested as food. There is a grandfather clause for those with IHRP licenses to move under the new program rules and regulations once set for the remainder of their license term. The IHRP expires on January 1, 2020. IHEMPAWA is excited to be part of the wild west of hemp!
The Final version of the budget bill under the WSDA funds the program for the coming year at $100,000. This final bill is $42,000 less for this year and is not ongoing as was originally asked for by Rep Sawyer of the 29th LD and Senator Hasegawa of the 11th LD Something is better than nothing as long as we can keep rolling this hemp cart up the hill! There is always another go around....
We will be continuing to work on Industrial Hemp bills with both Democrats and Republicans in the coming week, months and years to help set the stage for a strong and responsible agricultural hemp industry that protects farmers.
SB 6032-S Pg. 277, Sec 310, "(8) $100,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2019 is provided solely for the industrial hemp research pilot program. Expenditures shall be prioritized for processing licenses and expanding the industrial hemp market."
Originally, House Budget Bill 2299 included language: "$142,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2018 and $145,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2019 are provided solely for the industrial hemp research pilot program". with an amendment added by Rep. Shea as: "Expenditures shall be prioritized for processing licenses and expanding the industrial hemp market."
Senate Budget Bill 6032 included the language: "$100,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2019 is provided solely for the department to continue the industrial hemp research pilot project."
The two bills did not match, the House bill was the funding level requested by the WSDA.