New Jersey Hemp Farming Act
Lost amidst the
cannabis news last week indicating that adult use marijuana may be heading to a
voter referendum in 2020 while medical marijuana likely will expand this year,
the Senate introduced legislation to establish NJ’s hemp program.
Under the 2018
Farm Act, the Federal Government de-scheduled hemp from the Controlled
Substances Act and authorized states to develop their own proposed rules for
establishing a hemp industry in each state.
On May 13,
2019, Senate Bill No. 3686 was introduced by Senator Sweeney and 3 other
co-sponsors. The Bill would repeal the law passed last year
designed to establish a hemp pilot program in the state.
the 2018 Farm Act, hemp is defined as any part of the cannabis plant containing
not more than 0.3 percent THC (the psychoactive element in cannabis) on a dry
weight basis, including hemp derived CBD products. It provides that
licensed hemp producers are authorized to cultivate, harvest and process hemp
products (but it remains unlawful for unlicensed persons to cultivate, handle
or process hemp plants, seeds, leafs or floral materials.)
requires the NJ Department of Agriculture to adopt interim rules within 90-days
of adoption of the law.
directs the Department to establish rules to comply with the requirements of
the 2018 Farm Act, but largely leaves the details to the Department to
develop. The bill provides that producers who negligently violate any
rule are not subject to violations, but will be permitted to adopt corrective
action plans, except producers that have 3 negligent violations in five years
shall be ineligible to participate in the program for five years. The
bill would prohibit persons who have been convicted of controlled substances
violations from participating in the hemp program. The bill would
authorize hemp products, including hemp derived CBD to be added to cosmetics,
personal care products and products for human and animal consumption to the
fullest extent permitted by federal law. The bill authorizes retail sales
of hemp products produced pursuant to other state’s hemp programs and the
transport of NJ hemp products outside of the state.
So while adult
use marijuana legislation may be delayed, NJ is poised to move forward promptly
with the development of its hemp industry. As indicated in the
bill, this is intended to promote not just the popular hemp derived CBD
products but an entire industry of hemp derived products including cosmetics,
personal care products, cloth, cordage, paper, plastics, particleboard and
Pashman Stein Walder Hayden is carefully monitoring developments in New Jersey and federally with respect to marijuana legislation and will be available to help its clients navigate the sure-to-be complex regulatory framework of this potential business frontier.