In Idaho, one of the last remaining states with zero cannabis access, hemp transporters can now drive through the state without fear of prosecution.
While marijuana for any purpose continues to be outlawed in Idaho, those transporting licensed hemp on interstate highways can now securely move through the state.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little issued an executive order acknowledging the legality of hemp transport through the state under the Farm Bill. Little signed off on the executive order on Nov. 19 after state lawmakers had wrangled for nearly a year over the legality of hemp’s presence in the state.
“I did an executive order to where we would not be in conflict with federal law,” Little told local news station KMVT.
The order requires those transporting hemp to stop at the first point of entry to declare the presence of hemp and to undergo an inspection and all receptacles must be labeled with the name and address of the producer and other details.
In June, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that states cannot interfere with hemp transportation, even if the state has deemed hemp as a legal substance. Nearly two years ago hemp production was federally legalized for all purposes under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Although the Farm Bill granted protection of hemp interstate transport, Idaho lawmakers had not been recognizing the federal rule due to their state’s cannabis laws. According to Idaho cannabis law, no amount of THC is legal. That means that hemp, which by law has less than 0.3 percent THC, is seen as the same as marijuana with intoxicating amounts of THC.
Little’s executive order applies only to hemp transported after Oct. 31. That is the date when the USDA released the interim final rule on hemp regulations. The USDA has been flushing out the hemp regulations since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill left regulation up to the agency.
Idaho State Police Arrests Hemp Drivers
Little’s executive order comes after months of criticism over the state’s arrest of interstate hemp transporters. In January, a truck driver transporting hemp from Colorado to Oregon was arrested on felony drug trafficking charges and booked into jail on a $100,000 bond.
According to reports, Idaho State Police did not believe the truck driver when he told them the crop he was transporting was not marijuana, but industrial hemp. The truck driver pled not guilty.
In April 2018, prior to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, two other truck drivers transporting hemp to Oregon were arrested by state police. Both pled guilty to felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
A coalition of advocates along with state representatives delivered a petition with more than 13,000 signatures to the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office in May urging the county to drop all charges against all three of the hemp transporters.
The felony charges against all the hemp transporters were dropped to misdemeanors in September and instead, the drivers were given unsupervised probation, fines and restitution.
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