What Does Tennessee’s New Hemp Regulations Mean For Hemp Processors?

Miller & Martin PLLC Alerts | July 11, 2019

In June 2019, we reported the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s (“TDA”) announcement of several changes to Tennessee’s hemp program by issuing updated regulations. Among these changes were that the newly updated regulations would apply only to hemp growers, meaning that hemp processors would no longer be required to be licensed or to register with the TDA under the hemp program.

However, if you or your entity are processing hemp for human consumption (e.g. tincture oil, gummies, chocolate, water, honey, etc. – anything ingested into the body), the TDA now requires such hemp processors to obtain a food manufacturing facility license by contacting the TDA’s food and dairy section. This change is consistent with the regulations under Tennessee’s other production programs, which require all food and ingredients used in food sold or food products produced in Tennessee to originate from an approved source inspected and permitted by the TDA.

So what does this mean for current or future hemp processors in Tennessee? If you are currently processing or planning to process hemp into a product that is not ingested, then you can process without regulation. However, if you are currently processing or planning to manufacture, process, or package hemp into a product that is ingested, and sold in interstate commerce (e.g. commercial sale), then you must be licensed as a food manufacturing facility. This means that, even if you previously applied for a hemp processor license through the TDA before the February 15, 2019 application deadline in compliance with the former hemp program regulations, you must now apply and obtain a food manufacturing facility license.

For more information about these new Tennessee hemp regulations, contact attorneys Merrill Nelson or Stephanie Savage.  

For more information on the 2018 Farm Bill and hemp in Tennessee, see these related alerts: