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Industrial Hemp

The 108th General Assembly enacted Public Chapter 916 regarding the growing of industrial hemp in Tennessee. The Act removes industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana in the criminal code. The cultivation of industrial hemp is not immediately authorized by this new law. The Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture is authorized to promulgate regulations establishing a program of licensing and registration of authorized hemp producers. The regulations are to be developed within 120 days of Act becoming law.

TDA's goal is to develop reasonable rules and regulations that will allow for the cultivation of hemp beginning in 2015 and that will support the development of a viable industrial hemp industry for benefit of producers and processors. As in any proposed rulemaking, we will seek broad input from key stakeholders and subject matter experts, and will follow state procedures for providing public notification, receiving formal comments and holding a public hearing (to be determined). Care will be taken to implement a program that benefits hemp producers and yet protects the interests of the general public.

A draft of proposed regulations (updated September 18, 2014) is provided to stimulate discussion and promote awareness of potential requirements to obtain a permit to produce hemp.

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Sec. 7606. Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research contained in the 2014 Federal Farm Bill, which was signed into law Feb. 7, provides for the cultivation of industrial hemp for purposes of research by institutions of higher education or state departments of agriculture in states where it is legal. The interaction of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the provisions of Sec. 7606 is a developing process. As TDA develops Tennessee's industrial hemp program every effort will be made to minimize the impact of federal law on potential hemp producers in Tennessee.

At this time the importation of viable industrial hemp seed across state lines and country boundaries is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) without a permit from DEA.

For more information contact the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control or see the Application for Registration for Under Controlled Substance Act of 1970.

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