Recent federal and state legislation has cleared the way for Wyoming farmers to grow industrial hemp. Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) won’t finalize their rules until fall, The Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA) is already actively preparing a regulatory program.
The federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, recognizing it as an agricultural crop distinctly different from marijuana.
WDA began its preparations during the 65th session of the Wyoming State Legislature, including developing a plan, rules, a fee schedule, applications, and other necessary documents to implement a regulatory program for industrial hemp in Wyoming. Following Gov. Mark Gordon’s signing of HB171/HEA No. 0110 on March 6, the preparations have ramped up.
As defined by the legislation, “hemp” or “hemp product” means all parts, seeds, and varieties of the plant cannabis sativa l., whether growing or not, or a product, derivative, extract, cannabinoid, isomer, acid, salt, or salt of isomer made from that plant with a THC concentration of not more than three‑tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis when using post‑decarboxylation or another similarly reliable testing method.
The WDA has 30 days to submit its plan to the USDA to request delegated authority for the regulation of industrial hemp.
“With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the work of the Legislature throughout the session, we have been working hard on the industrial hemp program to make sure we are ready when the time comes to implement a program here in Wyoming,” said Doug Miyamoto, director of the WDA, in a press release. “If we are legally able to do it, we are anxious to start a hemp program in Wyoming to provide more opportunities for our producers and processors with this productive, diversifying permitted crop across the state.”
According to the USDA, they will hold state plan submissions until their rules are promulgated in the fall of 2019. States may continue to operate under the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill.
“With the USDA not approving state plans until the fall, the most important thing right now is to make sure we have the legal authority to permit and regulate hemp under the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill and existing statutes in Wyoming,” said Miyamoto. “We are working with the Attorney General’s Office and Gov. Gordon’s office to answer this question but will continue developing the program so we are ready to go when we are legally able to start permitting.”
In the meantime, the WDA will continue the rulemaking process for the program, working toward obtaining and installing testing equipment at the WDA Analytical Services Lab, and training employees for regulating this new permitted crop.
For more information on the hemp program, visit the Wyoming Department of Agriculture’s website.