Update on SB 315 and Hemp Program

— Written By

6/4/2020 – The NC General Assembly (GA) has voted to pass SB 315, commonly referred to as the NC Farm Act. This is the same bill that was debated in 2019, and previously included language that would have banned what has been termed “smokable” hemp. However, all of the provisions in the bill that referred to hemp were taken out of the bill before it was passed.

There were other provisions in the version from 2019 that would have provided regulatory oversight over hemp retailers. It also had language that would have given the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services the authority needed to submit a state plan to USDA.

Results:

  • There is no ban on “smokable” hemp.
  • NCDA&CS does not have authority to submit a state plan to USDA. Under USDA’s Interim Final Rule, all pilot programs will expire at the end of October 2020. This includes the one we are currently operating under in NC.
    • Without a permanent state plan in place by the end of October, growers in NC will have to follow the USDA’s plan/regulations. It is unclear right now, but seems likely that this means that licenses held under the pilot program will also expire at the end of October.
  • The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) has adopted a policy that supports the extension of pilot programs until December 31, 2021. Congress would need to take action in order to allow USDA to do this. So far, this has not happened.

We will continue to provide updates as they become available.