Washington state sets law for hemp processing

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Hemp interests in the state of Washington may now apply for processing licenses for all parts of the plant, but extracts from hemp flowers may be produced only for export to other U.S. states.

Gov. Jay Inslee last week signed a law that sets a framework for hemp processors under the Washington Department of Agriculture. The state allowed hemp processing before, but had no licensing program.

“Until such time as hemp extract is federally authorized for use as a food ingredient, hemp extract is not an approved food ingredient in Washington state,” the law says.

Processors who want to produce hemp extract for use as a food ingredient may apply for a hemp extract certification that assures compliance with Washington’s inspection and good manufacturing practices requirements, according to the law, but may only sell those products out of state.

Other key provisions in the law:

  • Marijuana processors may obtain separate hemp processing licenses, but production must be in separate facilities.
  • Licensing fees for hemp-processing, to support the state hemp program, are to be set by the Department of Agriculture.
  • A licensed hemp processor is not required to obtain a hemp producer license.
  • All adult persons and companies can apply for the licenses, but felons are barred from hemp processing.

Washington’s state hemp plan, which until now did not address processing, was approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in early 2020.

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