WASHINGTON: The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has adopted rules establishing the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot (IHRP) in Washington state. The adopted rules were signed by Director Derek Sandison and will take effect on May 14. A state law approved last year directed WSDA to design a program that would license researchers to grow, process and market industrial hemp.
Some of the details in the adopted rules 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.
A public comment period on the proposed rules was open from March 1 through April 7, and two public hearings were held in Yakima and Olympia.
“It was important for us to move quickly to fulfill our statutory obligations,” said Sandison. “We heard during the comment period that these rules may not meet everyone’s specific needs. However, it’s critical that we move quickly so licensees can take advantage of the growing season. Our team will be looking for opportunities to improve these rules to support industrial hemp in our state.”
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 has many potential uses. It’s a source of fiber used in textiles, rope, paper, and building materials, and hemp seed can be 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.
To read the adopted rules and learn more about IHRP, see website.