TDA amends rules for Tennessee’s hemp program

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The laws surrounding the growing of hemp have drastically changed in Tennessee, according to a recent statement released by the Tennessee Dept. of Agriculture (TDA). 

While the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the list of federally controlled substances, it is still illegal to grow hemp without a license from the TDA. The biggest change to the state’s program is that the new growers can apply for permits any time instead of during a specific window as was required in the past.

“Farmers have been growing and researching this crop in Tennessee since the program began in 2015 as a pilot program,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “The hemp industry and federal laws have changed in recent years, and we’re updating our program rules to be more consistent with how other crop programs are managed.”

According to state agriculture officials, hemp processors will no longer be required to register through the TDA. Likewise, the department will no longer issue licenses for certified seed breeders. 

However, anyone involved in the manufacturing, distributing or labeling of seeds will still be required to obtain a TDA license. Growers, likewise, must apply for movement permits to take harvested hemp off their growing site. 

According to the TDA, the state-licensed more than 2,900 hemp growers in 2019. That’s a 1,183% increase from the 226 growers in 2018. 

Joe Kirkpatrick, president of the Tennessee Hemp Industries Association, released the following statement to News 2 in response to the changes:

“The TNHIA and the Tennessee Growers Coalition greatly appreciate the efforts of Commissioner Charlie Hatcher and the dedicated staff at the TN Department of Agriculture in assisting our General Assembly in the creation of the best regulatory environment on the planet to grow, process and develop hemp derived products.

Senator Janice Bowling and many others will be present to discuss the landmark changes in state and federal law leading to this unprecedented movement toward environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture. Senator Bowling (R) Tullahoma, who has been a leader in cannbis policy, will be speaking this Thursday, June 6, at the TGC Hemp Victory Bash, being held at the Green Door Gourmet in Nashville from 10am-11pm. Details can be found here.”

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