Hemp farmers and companies that sell CBD-infused products can finally heave a sigh of relief after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that they would take extra steps to ensure the security of interstate hemp shipments. This comes after a New York man was arrested and slapped with federal drug trafficking charges after a shipment of legal hemp he was receiving from a hemp farm was intercepted and confiscated by the New York Police Department.
In a bid to ease interstate hemp transport, the two departments are talking about an information-sharing platform that could ‘provide some level of solution’ that shipments are legal hemp and not illegal marijuana. USDA attorney Mai Dinh talked about the plan during a conference of the Food and Drug Institute. According to Dinh, the system under development would include the licensing information provided to the USDA by approved hemp producers as well as reports on the sampling and testing of their crops.
“The goal is to allow law enforcement to tap into the system in real-time and be able to match up whatever certificate is with the shipment with the information that is in the database.” Although she didn’t offer a concrete timeline for when the database would be launched, she said that the first version will be launched next year. She adds that it’s likely the process will improve as the USDA spends more time and resources to build out a more sophisticated system.
This is incredibly good news for anyone looking to transport hemp across state lines. Although the lucrative cash crop was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, states have different legislation on the matter. The Hemp Farming Act, part of the Farm Bill, instructed states and territories to either create their own hemp programs for evaluation by the USDA or ban hemp cultivation. However, states and territories that banned hemp cultivation were forbidden from blocking any hemp shipments moving through their borders.
While this was put in to protect hemp farmers, police have stated that since hemp is extremely similar to marijuana, they can’t differentiate between legal hemp and illegal marijuana. For instance, the New York Police intercepted a shipment of hemp and arrested Ronen Levy who was receiving the shipment on his brother’s behalf. Authorities have since stated that they will drop the federal drug trafficking charges brought against Levy.
Experts believe that hemp companies like Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) and VPR Brands LP (OTCQB: VPRB) are pleased by this collaboration between the DOJ and the USDA since fewer hemp industry players are likely to be victimized once the system is up and running.
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