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HB 1839 Industrial hemp; federal Farm Bill.

Introduced by: Daniel W. Marshall, III | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS PASSED: (all summaries)

Industrial hemp; federal Farm Bill; emergency. Conforms Virginia law to the provisions of the federal 2018 Farm Bill by amending the definitions of cannabidiol oil, marijuana, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to exclude industrial hemp in the possession of a registered person, hemp products, or an oil containing no more than 0.3% THC. The bill defines "industrial hemp" as any part of the plant Cannabis sativa that has a concentration of THC that is no greater than that allowed by federal law, and it defines "hemp product" as any finished product that is otherwise lawful and that contains industrial hemp. The bill adds the category of "dealer" in industrial hemp to the existing registration categories of grower and processor.

The bill requires any registered grower, dealer, or processor who negligently violates the law to comply with a corrective action plan established by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services (the Commissioner). The plan must identify a date by which the person is required to correct the violation and requires the person to report periodically for not less than two calendar years on his compliance with the law. No person who negligently violates the industrial hemp law three times in a five-year period is eligible to grow, deal in, or process industrial hemp for a period of five years beginning on the date of the third violation.

The bill directs the Commissioner to (i) revoke the registration of any registered grower, dealer, or processor who violates the law with a culpable mental state greater than negligence and (ii) advise the Attorney General of the United States and the Superintendent of State Police, or the chief law-enforcement officer of the county or city, when such person grows, deals in, or processes any Cannabis sativa with a concentration of THC that is greater than that allowed by federal law with a culpable mental state greater than negligence.

The bill authorizes the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (the Department), if it obtains the approval of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to refrain from requiring destruction of industrial hemp until the THC level is greater than 0.6%, and it authorizes the Department at that point to allow a re-test of the industrial hemp if the THC level is no greater than one percent.

The bill abolishes the higher education and Virginia industrial hemp research programs, along with the requirement that a grower or processor act exclusively within such a program. The bill authorizes the Commissioner to charge a fee for certain THC testing. Finally, the bill directs the Department to report by December 1, 2019, (a) to the General Assembly on the fiscal impact of the growth of the industrial hemp industry upon the Department's registration program and the existence of any need to alter the registration fee and (b) to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on the viability of markets for Virginia industrial hemp growers, the types of products made from industrial hemp that can be produced in Virginia, and the economic benefits and costs of production of such products. The bill also directs the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to report by November 1, 2019, on the appropriate standards, if any, for the production of an oil with a THC concentration of no greater than 0.3 percent that is derived from industrial hemp. The bill contains an emergency clause.