Regulatory, Legal Guidance Could Quickly Deliver Clarity on the Transport of Hemp


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Prospective options to some of the vexing troubles that truckers and law enforcement are facing with regards to the transportation of legal hemp across state lines could be coming quickly.

The U.S. Division of Agriculture has drafted an interim final rule that is becoming reviewed inside the division that could quickly offer regulatory guidance necessary for the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act that legalized industrial hemp.

In a current update to USDA’s regulatory agenda, the agency estimated it would be establishing the guidelines and regulations for the domestic production of hemp as early as August.

The farm bill signed into law in December removes hemp from the Schedule I list of illegal drugs and prohibits state authorities from interfering with the interstate transportation of the commodity.

Idaho State Police confiscated this load of industrial hemp in January. (Idaho State Police)

In addition to the regulatory improvement, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle has set oral arguments for Aug. 28 in a test case stemming from a bust in Idaho earlier this year in which a truck driver traveling by means of the state hauling a six,700-pound load of hemp from Oregon to Colorado was charged with marijuana trafficking. Authorities in Idaho pressed charges for the reason that they stated hemp is illegal in the state and that there is no federal regulatory guidance however on the interstate transportation of hemp.

The reality that USDA officials have not however issued regulatory suggestions primarily based on the new law has made confusion amongst law enforcement and motor carriers.

In response to the confusion, the Industrial Automobile Security Alliance is assembling a operating group to study approaches to offer industrial automobile inspectors guidance on what to do when they cease a truck carrying hemp, which can’t be effortlessly distinguished at roadside from marijuana.

Hemp and marijuana appear the very same and smell the very same,” stated Capt. John Hahn of the Colorado State Patrol, chairman of the operating group. “There’s frankly a lack of technologies for the roadside inspector who takes place to cease one particular of these trucks to decide the THC content material of the load. At this point, there are no quick answers.”

Hemp is a member of the cannabis plant family members, but is absent the higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, accountable for the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

Hemp is utilized for a quantity of items like cannabidiol, or CBD, a substance some think to efficiently treat such maladies as anxiousness, cognition troubles, movement issues and discomfort. It also is utilized in such typical items as paper, clothes and jewelry.

Hahn, commander of the Colorado State Patrol’s industrial automobile hazardous components enforcement division and a member of CVSA’s board of directors, stated that considering the fact that 2014, the legal hemp market place has exploded to come to be a billion-dollar business enterprise as of 2018.

A total of 35 states have legalized the commodity, Hahn stated.

“But you have got a handful of states out there in which it is not legal,” he told Transport Subjects. “We’re going to be seeking for exactly where there are lines that intersect with the farm bill and motor carrier regulations.”

Hahn stated the operating group will most likely start its discussions at CVSA’s late September annual meeting in Biloxi, Miss.

Till then, the common industrial automobile inspector will most likely be in “a bit of a quandary,” Hahn stated.

USDA General Counsel Stephen Vaden


Stephen Vaden, USDA’s common counsel, currently has spoken on the hemp transportation situation in a legal opinion in Could that could foretell the department’s stance when it publishes its regulatory regimen.

Vaden stated that although states and American Indian tribes at the moment can regulate the lawful production and sale of hemp beneath a 2014 law, they could not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment of the solution grown beneath a system authorized by the agriculture division.

Due to the confusing state of the legality of interstate hemp transportation, American Trucking Associations has been cautioning truckers to believe twice about transporting hemp till the USDA regulations offer clarity.

“Forty-one particular states enable the cultivation of hemp for industrial, analysis or pilot applications,” stated an ATA dispatch earlier this year. “However, legal inquiries have arisen to regardless of whether hemp at the moment in production meets the criteria of the farm bill’s interstate transportation pre-emption provision. ATA recommends that motor carriers continue to exercising caution in accepting shipments of hemp.”


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