Acknowledging state law was conflicting with federal rules on the transportation of hemp, Idaho Governor Brad Little has enabled a stopgap measure to bring his state into line.
Back in January, Idaho was in the spotlight over the seizure of a truck travelling interstate carrying around 7,000 pounds of plant material Idaho police said contained THC. The company that owned the shipment claimed it was legal hemp. That case is still ongoing, with the Colorado company suing the Idaho State Police.
In April this year, legislation that would have permitted transport of hemp through Idaho failed.
However, a final interim rule issued by the USDA in October on hemp production and related activities states:
“…states and Indian tribes may not prevent the movement of hemp through their states or territories even if they prohibit its production.”
Governor Little said he expected federal rules would at some point clarify the issue, but when they did, the Idaho Legislature could not quickly respond.
“My executive order is a stopgap measure to address the narrow issue of interstate transportation of hemp until the Idaho Legislature develops a permanent regulatory framework around hemp,” said Governor Little.
Executive Order 2019-13 says transportation of hemp produced in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill or the 2018 Farm Bill is permitted, but drivers must stop at the first port of entry in the state to declare its presence. Among other obligations, the transporter will need to provide documentation showing the hemp was produced by an appropriately licensed grower, and a lab results report from a DEA-registered laboratory indicating it complies with the 2014 or 2018 Farm Bill.
Transporters won’t be encouraged to hang around in the state and are required to stay on interstate highways or in the immediate vicinity of an interstate highway.
The order also makes it very clear hemp remains illegal in Idaho.
“Nothing within this Executive Order or the corresponding rules adopted subsequent to this Executive Order shall authorize or be interpreted to legalize hemp, its byproducts, oils, or any other derivative prohibited by Idaho law,” it states.
Idaho is one of very few remaining states yet to enact legislation legalising the crop. Governor Little says he’s not opposed to hemp, but wants to ensure production and transportation isn’t a front for smuggling illicit drugs into the state.