Updated Rules Announced for the Tennessee Hemp Program

Miller & Martin PLLC Alerts | June 04, 2019

On Monday, June 3, 2019, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (“TDA”) announced several changes to Tennessee’s hemp program by issuing an updated set of rules. These changes follow the enactment of the 2018 Federal Farm Bill in December and are intended to make the hemp program regulations more consistent with the management of other crop programs in Tennessee. The following summarizes certain material changes in the newly updated rules:

  1. The rules only apply to hemp growers. Under both federal and state law, any person growing hemp, regardless of the quantity, must have a growers license. This remains unchanged. However, the former Tennessee rules applied to growers, processors, and any other person who distributed hemp and required hemp processors to register with the TDA. Under the newly updated rules, hemp processors are not required to be licensed or register with TDA. Processors that process hemp into a product for consumption are required to be licensed as a food manufacturing facility.
  2. The application period for hemp growers is now year-round. Under the former rules, the application period to apply for a hemp grower license was open for a limited period from November 15 through February 15 each year. Individuals wishing to grow hemp can now apply at any time for a hemp grower license. All licenses issued by the TDA will be for a one-year period, expiring on June 30.
  3. Licenses are not required for certified seed breeders. While TDA will not issue licenses to certified seed breeders, “anyone manufacturing, distributing, or labeling seed should be licensed through TDA’s Ag Inputs section.”
  4. Movement permits are required for rooted and harvested plants. Under the newly updated rules, hemp growers are still required to obtain movement permits for rooted and/or viable hemp. In addition, hemp growers are also required to obtain movement permits when hemp is moved to “anyone who treats or transforms harvested hemp.”

TDA’s public notice on the New Rules for Tennessee’s Hemp Program can be found here.

A copy of the newly updated Hemp Rules can be found here.

For questions, please contact Miller & Martin Attorneys Stephanie Savage and Merrill Nelson.

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