Senate Passes NC Farm Act, Loosens Hemp Regulations

Establishes regulatory requirements to allow NC to expand hemp production immediately following
federal approval
Staff Report

Raleigh, N.C. – The NC Senate voted Monday evening to pass the North Carolina Farm Act of 2019, which positions North Carolina to be a national leader in hemp production by taking advantage of recent federal changes that loosen restrictions on hemp farmers.
“Agriculture and our hardworking farmers have always been the driving force of North Carolina’s economy and this ensures that will continue to be the case in the future,” said Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) “Hemp production is a potential boom industry and the Farm Act of 2019 gives North Carolina the opportunity to be a pioneer in that industry.”
The federal government recently changed laws governing hemp production in the United States to be more in line with much of the world. Previously, Congress permitted only small-scale hemp pilot programs, which North Carolina adopted successfully. The 2018 federal farm bill allows for wide-scale hemp production provided states adopt stringent licensing and enforcement standards.
Federal law requires hemp to contain less than 0.3 percent THC, which is a very small fraction of the THC contained in marijuana plants. The rules imposed by the 2018 federal farm bill require states to implement regulations to license hemp producers and to closely monitor the THC levels in their product.
To comply with those requirements, The North Carolina Farm Act of 2019 modifies the existing North Carolina Hemp Commission, sets forth qualifications for hemp production licensees (including prohibitions on licenses to individuals with past drug offenses), and defines civil and criminal penalties for producers who violate the law. The bill also requires a valid license to market and sell cannabinoid-related products, including CBD oil.
The bill directs the Commissioner of Agriculture, in consultation with the Governor and the Attorney General, to submit a State plan for regulation of hemp production to the United States Department
of Agriculture for approval, as provided by the federal farm bill of 2018.

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