Idaho governor warns hemp haulers to be wary

November 20, 2019

Chuck Robinson

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When it comes to hemp, the governor of Idaho has issued an executive order declaring that his state will only grudgingly allow hemp to be transported across it.

Idaho will cleave to a narrow interpretation of the loosening of hemp restrictions brought on by changes in the 2018 farm bill that distinguished hemp from marijuana by the amount of psychotropic compound THC in it.

Court cases where truck drivers hauling cargos of what they believed to be hemp but were charged of drug trafficking have put a spotlight on Idaho’s restrictive stance on hemp and marijuana. The drivers were arrested and jailed. Eventually, they were given plea deals that included fines, being charged for court costs restitution, and probation.

In his executive order, Gov. Brad Little emphasized that hemp is not allowed at all outside of the narrow constraints of interstate commerce unless it is only the stalks of the cannabis plant and it contains 0% THC.

“Possession of any quantity of hemp other than for the narrow purpose of transporting across the state of Idaho in interstate commerce remains illegal in this state,” reads the executive order.

Little noted that Idaho law as currently written conflicts with federal law and, since the Idaho Legislature could not react quickly, an executive order was necessary.

According to the executive order, no hemp may be transported in Idaho except on interstate highways and the immediate vicinity of an interstate highway.

Required stop and documents

Any driver carrying a cargo of hemp is required to stop at the first port of entry the driver encounters in Idaho and declare the presence of any hemp. At the port of entry, the driver is required to present several documents:

  • An affirmation that the driver’s vehicle “contains no illicit drugs or variations of hemp not explicitly authorized by the 2014 farm bill or the 2018 farm bill.
  • A copy if the hemp production license from the producer of the hemp.
  • A lab result report confirming the hemp cargo complies with federal law and was tested at a Drug Enforcement Administration-registered laboratory.
  • A bill of lading detailing the shipment contents, origination (including lot number), destination, load weight, and vehicle type.

All containers of hemp must be labeled with the name and address of the producer, quantity of hemp, and lot number to match other documents.

The executive order notes that Idaho’s neighboring states have taken part in the U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved research pilot project authorized under the 2014 farm bill or plan to allow hemp production under the 2018 farm bill, which authorized the USDA to formulate rules. USDA’s interim final rule on hemp production were published and went into effect on Oct. 31.

Chuck Robinson

Chuck Robinson formerly was senior copy editor for a weekly trade publication serving the fresh produce industry. He has served trade publications, horticultural journals and community newspapers for 25 years.