Ask Our Experts: Interstate Transport of Hemp


Q: How do the rules for interstate transportation apply if a grower from a state adhering to the 2014 Farm Bill (and delta-9 THC limits) wants to ship into a state respectively operating under the 2018 Farm Bill regulations?

A: Testing remains one of the most pressing issues for hemp cultivators to address, especially when it comes to delta-9 THC and THCA. While the USDA requires states with approved plans to test for THCA, many states operating under their respective pilot programs do not. So, what happens for those cultivators operating under pilot programs when they ship their crops out of state? Are they still legally protected?

The answer is yes.

In the latest of its free industry webinars, New Frontier Data presented Navigating the USDA’s Hemp Rules, wherein cannabis law expert Rod Kight addressed the issue directly in explaining how the interstate transport provision in the interim rules also applies to pilot program states.

“One of the strongest provisions that we have for the hemp industry in the 2018 Farm Bill is this clause about interstate transport,” he said.

Indeed, last year the USDA issued an opinion letter in response to several states’ seizing legal hemp shipments. In it, the USDA stressed several key points, including the following provision:

“States and Indian tribes… may not prohibit the interstate transportation or shipment of hemp lawfully produced under the 2014 Farm Bill.”

A crucial point to note, however, is that the free pass only applies for the 2020 growing season. By October 2020, pilot program states will need to have adapted their hemp regulations in line with the USDA’s rules. Pending any change otherwise, pilot-program cultivators will need to adapt their cultivation methods accordingly.