OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) seeks public comment on proposed rules establishing the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot (IHRP) in Washington state. A new state law (Chapter 15.120 RCW) approved last year, directed WSDA to design a program that would license researchers to grow, process and market industrial hemp.
Some of the details spelled out in the proposed rules that create IHRP include:
· How to apply for a state license to participate in the pilot, the types of licenses that will be available and fees for each.
· How to obtain, handle, transport and store approved industrial hemp seed. · The state’s authority and process for inspecting, sampling and testing industrial hemp seeds, plants and products.
· Licensees’ data and reporting requirements.
Read the IHRP proposed rules and other background on WSDA’s website. Comments on the proposed rules are due by April 7, 2017 and may be provided in the following ways:
· Email to WSDARulesComments@agr.wa.gov
· Mail to Henri Gonzales, WSDA Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 42560, Olympia WA 98504-2560
· Attend one of two public hearings:
o YAKIMA - April 6, 2017, 11 a.m., 21 North 1st Ave, Conference Room 238
o OLYMPIA – April 7, 2017, 11 a.m., 1111 Washington St. SE, Conference Room 259
As a cannabis plant, industrial hemp is considered a controlled substance under federal law. However, the 2014 Farm Bill authorized state agriculture departments to grow the crop for research purposes under state legislation.
Industrial hemp is an agricultural product with many potential uses. It is grown as a source of fiber used in textiles, rope, paper, and building materials, and hemp seed is used for food, oil and other products. Thirty U.S. states have passed legislation regarding industrial hemp, either legalizing production, allowing research and pilot programs, or a combination of both.