Idaho to start licensing hauling hemp cargos, production

November 3, 2021

Chuck Robinson


In 2018 and 2019, truck drivers hauling hemp cargos across the state of Idaho were stopped and jailed on suspicion of marijuana trafficking. Starting Monday, the state will open online license applications to grow and transport hemp.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture on Monday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had approved the state’s hemp law that was passed in April.

The USDA ruled that the plan was consistent with the 2018 farm bill, which defined “hemp” as different from marijuana and legalized it. Hemp can contain no more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Licensed operators will be allowed to cultivate, produce, harvest and transport hemp with up to 0.3% THC and can sell such hemp to licensed handlers in Idaho.

The new law, however, doesn’t allow anyone to sell to Idaho consumers hemp products containing any amount of THC.

The state hemp plan was created after Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed into law a bill in April that authorized the production, processing, transportation and research of industrial hemp.

Idaho was the last state to make growing and transporting hemp legal following the 2018 farm bill that legalized hemp production at the federal level.

Applications can be completed and fees paid entirely online. Fees are $100 for an annual application, $500 for a grower’s annual license and $1,000 for a handler’s license, $250 per lot for a grower’s pre-harvest inspection, and $500 for an annual site inspection and other inspections for handlers.

Previous hemp cargo-hauling truckers

Three truck drivers were arrested and charged with trafficking in marijuana for hauling hemp cargos on Idaho interstate highways before the state passed legislation legalizing hemp and submitting its plan to the USDA. All entered into plea agreements in September 2019 involving fines, probation and time served.

  • Denis Palamarchuk, 36, of Portland, Ore., was arrested Jan. 24, 2019, for driving a truck for third-party trucking company with a hemp load being hauled for Big Sky Scientific, Boise, Idaho. Police seized the more than 6,700 pounds of cargo and the semitrailer hauling it.
  • Andrew D’Addario, 28, of Colorado, and Erich Eisenhart, 26, of Oregon, were arrested on April 12, 2018, for hauling 915 hemp plants across Idaho from a licensed industrial hemp farm in Colorado to a licensed farm in Oregon. LL

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.