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Approval of Idaho hemp plan means planting can start in 2022

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved Idaho’s state hemp plan, opening the way for planting next spring. USDA approval means the state has put rules in place that are compliant with provisions in the federal Farm Bill of 2018.

Idaho was the last of the 50 U.S. states to establish a hemp program when Gov. Brad Little signed the state’s hemp bill in April 2021, legalizing the production, sale and processing of industrial hemp under the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). ISDA is managing licensing for growers and processors and administering THC testing under the hemp program.

CBD is illegal

The law allows the production and transport of hemp containing THC up to 0.3%, the federal limit. But in-state sale and possession of products containing THC are banned, and CBD is illegal under provisions of the law.

Prospective licensees must get an Idaho State Police or FBI background check no more than 60 days before applying. They must also identify and provide background-check details on persons managing operations, and maps of crop plots and facilities.

ISDA is to manage lab testing, sampling and disposal under protocols in the plan. While not required, the state agency is encouraging producers to identify the labs they intend to use in their license application.

Inspection rules

ISDA said it will conduct inspections and collect samples no more than 30 days before harvest, which can begin only after those procedures are complete. Once sampled, hemp crops hemp must then be harvested within 30 days, or re-sampled. Licensees must receive notification their samples are THC compliant before their outputs can can be sold.

The department will also carry out annual inspections among handler licensees, and may take samples of any lots on hand. Producers and handlers can request a re-test of original samples retained by the lab.

ISDA said it will begin taking licensing applications Monday, Nov. 8 when an online system goes live. Applications can be completed and fees paid entirely through the system.

All applicants must pay a basic fee of $100; growers pay an additional $500 for an annual license and $250 per lot for inspection. Processors pay $1,000 for a license and $500 for an annual inspection.

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