Idaho aims to submit its hemp plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by Sept. 1.
“From there, we expect a fairly quick turnaround time on the review by USDA,” Idaho State Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Chanel Tewalt said.
ISDA could accept license applications from growers and handler-processors from mid-October through year’s end if USDA approval comes when anticipated, she said.
First, ISDA will deliver the plan in early August to Gov. Brad Little and the Idaho State Police — involved because the 2018 Farm Bill requires it and the state’s new law addresses transport — for review and approval. Draft administrative rules and other supporting documents will be included.
The Idaho Legislature this year approved industrial hemp production, to be overseen by ISDA. The Legislature in 2022 would review related administrative rules. First plantings could come in the spring of 2022.
The law allows production and transport of hemp containing tetrahydrocannabinol up to the 2018 Farm Bill’s limit but does not allow in-state possession or sale of THC-containing products.
Tewalt said USDA must approve Idaho’s plan including the state statute and proposed administrative rules. USDA also must verify the state can fulfill requirements of federal hemp rules.
ISDA negotiated-rule-making meetings with stakeholders June 23 and June 30 each drew about 40 people, she said.
Braden Jensen, of the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, said the sessions attracted more prospective handler-processors than growers, “which is good because processing and capacity can be a bottleneck in the system.”
“There is a handling portion of the (draft) rule because the new Idaho law references handling,” Tewalt said. “We need to ensure the product can get from the farm to a drying facility or grain facility. So we have accounted for that in the process.”
She said the draft rule calls for a $100 application fee. Applicants would report GPS coordinates of fields or facilities, and complete a backgroudn check.
Growers would pay $500 for an annual license and $250 per lot for inspection. Handler-processors would pay $1,000 for a license and $500 for an annual inspection.
“Inspection is required in the federal rule and will be in the state rule,” Tewalt said. Inspections will include verifying paperwork and pulling samples tested for THC content. A crop exceeding the allowed limit would have to be destroyed or remediated.
Tim Cornie of 1000 Springs Mill participated in rule-making sessions. The Buhl business plans to apply for a state license to handle hemp grain.
“Everything is totally manageable,” he said of the draft rule.