Washington Legislature Passes Bill to Implement Hemp Licensing Program

Washington’s Legislature passed a bill that creates a hemp licensing and regulatory program that is required to implement the 2018 Farm Bill. The Department of Agriculture (DOA) is responsible for implementing rules establishing the hemp production licensing regime by June 2019. Businesses that are already licensed under the industrial hemp research program can transfer over into the new program. Businesses will continue to operate under the current research program if the DOA is not able to meet the June 2019 deadline.

The legislation charges with DOA with developing standards for creating hemp extracts that is intended for consumption, and the production of nonhemp food in accordance with state and federal regulations. The Department of Agricultural and the Liquor and Cannabis Board to establish policies and buffers that would prevent the cross pollination of marijuana and hemp. The bill requires the policy to provide preference to the producer that was first to grow, and require the second to cease operations.