An Oregon hemp grower is suing two counties after sheriff’s deputies allegedly seized and destroyed $2.5 million worth of hemp, claiming it was marijuana.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little issued an executive order Nov. 18 authorizing interstate transportation of industrial hemp within the state’s borders.

The executive order is meant to resolve a conflict between state and federal law and serves as a stopgap measure until the Idaho Legislature enacts a more permanent solution.

The executive order does not authorize or legalize the production of hemp, its byproducts, oils or any other derivative prohibited by Idaho law.

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production and prevents states from prohibiting the transportation of hemp. In October, USDA issued interim rules regulating the production of hemp in states where it is legal.

Idaho law prohibits the possession of hemp unless it is comprised of only the stalks of the mature cannabis plant and contains 0.0% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Executive action is needed to temporarily resolve the conflict between state and federal law with respect to interstate transportation of hemp, the governor’s office stated.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture, Idaho State Police and Idaho Transportation Department will promulgate temporary rules and work cooperatively to carry out the executive order.

“From the start, I have stated I am not opposed to a new crop such as hemp, but that we need to be sure the production and shipping of industrial hemp is not a front to smuggle illicit drugs into and around Idaho,” Little said in announcing the executive order.

The legal transportation of hemp was expected, and his administration has prepared for that development by working with law enforcement and others, he said.

“My executive order is a stopgap measure to address the narrow issue of interstate transportation of hemp until the Idaho Legislature develops a permanent regulatory framework around hemp,” he said.

Drivers transporting hemp across Idaho will be required to stop at the first port of entry and present documentation. Transportation will be limited to interstate highways and the immediate vicinity of an interstate highway, except in the case of a state-authorized detour.

Possession of any quantity of hemp other than the narrow purpose of transporting it across the state remains illegal, and drivers shall proceed through the state avoiding unnecessary delay.

The executive order does not apply to hemp transported prior to Oct. 31, 2019.

In January of this year, Idaho made headlines when state police at a port of entry in Ada County arrested a trucker hauling more than 6,000 pounds of industrial hemp from Oregon to Colorado. He was charged with trafficking marijuana.

In September, the trucker pleaded guilty to a lesser violation. He was sentenced to jail, with time suspended, according to media reports.

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