Following the green light from the USDA, hemp should finally (legally) appear Idaho fields again next year.
Idaho was the last US state to have a ban on hemp cultivation. In April this year, the state’s senate voted in favour of HB 126, the Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act. HB 126 was subsequently signed into law by Governor Brad Little not long after.
But that didn’t mean cultivation could begin. The Idaho State Department of Agriculture was tasked with developing a hemp plan in harmony with the 2018 Farm Bill, which then required the USDA’s approval. On November 1, that approval was granted.
“I’m very proud of the entire ISDA team for working so quickly to implement the new law, and I know we could not have gotten here alone,” said ISDA Director Celia Gould. “We extend our thanks to the Governor’s office, industry stakeholders, Idaho State Police, USDA and the Idaho law enforcement community for excellent collaboration and assistance.”
ISDA will have a lot of work ahead of it as the Department will also be managing licensing, lab testing, sampling and disposal.
Interested parties will be able to apply for licenses to cultivate and handle industrial hemp from next Monday. Among other requirements, applicants will need to obtain an Idaho State Police or FBI background check and licenses will have to be renewed annually.
It remains to be seen how much interest there will be in cultivating hemp in Idaho, considering how much is already being produced across the USA.
Aside from food and fiber crops in the state, there’s also potential for CBD. But there likely won’t be much local demand as the situation in Idaho is still confusing with regard to cannabidiol. The Idaho Office of Drug Policy still shows the state’s Attorney General’s opinion on the issue:
“CBD must both contain zero THC and be derived from one of the five identified parts of the cannabis plant, otherwise it is illegal in Idaho under current law.”
Those five parts of the plant relate to the stalk and seed – and there’s near zero CBD in both.