BOISE — Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Tuesday issued an executive order temporarily allowing interstate transportation of hemp through Idaho, subject to certain regulations. The order is a stopgap put in place until the Idaho Legislature can address the issue more permanently.
According to the executive order, hemp produced in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill or 2018 Farm Bill will be temporarily allowed to travel through the state. The 2014 Farm Bill allowed states to set up pilot programs to grow hemp and the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the federal government’s list of controlled substances.
Hemp is cannabis, like marijuana. However, by federal law, hemp can contain only .3% or less of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Hemp does not produce a high but is used in many products, including lotion, rope and clothing. Hemp’s extract is valuable to the CBD industry.
Idaho is one of only three states in the country without a program set up to allow farmers to grow hemp. Under Idaho law, there is no distinction between hemp and marijuana, so the substance is illegal in this state, despite efforts to change that in the Idaho Legislature’s 2019 session.
New interim rules published Oct. 31 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, though, appear to protect the interstate transportation of hemp, even through Idaho. Little’s executive order is in direct response to the publication of those rules, according to the order.
However, the issue has also garnered a great deal of publicity after three people — a professional trucker and two other men driving a truck — were arrested on suspicion of trafficking marijuana for transporting hemp through Ada County.
A Colorado-based CBD company, Big Sky Scientific, is suing Idaho State Police for refusing to return the 6,701 pounds of hemp police confiscated from the company in January after the hemp was found in a truck driven by the professional trucker.