The state Division of Agriculture released proposed regulations implementing state and federal laws authorizing a pilot program for a legal industrial hemp industry in Alaska.
Although hemp is derived from the same plant family that includes marijuana hemp does not have the same qualities as marijuana and was removed from the list of federal controlled substances by the 2018 federal farm bill.
Senate Bill 6, passed by the Alaska Legislature in 2018, directed the division to design and conduct a pilot program. The division is working to identify what varieties of hemp are best suited to commercial cultivation in Alaska, to create a registry of hemp farming, manufacturing and retail operations in the state, and to issue the regulations necessary to implement an industrial hemp pilot program.
Senate Bill 6 builds on elements of the 2014 federal Farm Bill authorizing individual states to develop pilot programs for the development of an industrial hemp industry. The 2018 farm bill contains other provisions encouraging farmers to grow hemp.
“These proposed (state) regulations are a result of the efforts to implement that directive,” in Senae Bill 6, said David W. Schade, director of the Division of Agriculture. “Our staff has researched the issues surrounding development of a program, including the challenges of regulating cannabidiol (CBD), one of the compounds found in cannabis plants. We’ve worked with the Department of Law to develop a good legal framework for the industry.”
“With the 2018 farm bill declassifying industrial hemp as a controlled substance, there is even greater interest in this proposed industry.” said DNR Commissioner Corri Feige. “Alaska is one of the leading states in this effort, and it’s important that we hear from all interested parties on these regulations so we can get it right.”
Industrial hemp is defined as “all parts and varieties of the plant Cannabis sativa L. containing not more than 0.3 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)”, the psychoactive element of marijuana.
Interested parties can review the proposed regulations on the Alaska Online Public Notice system, by contacting Robert Carter at 907-745-4469 or 907-745-8127, or by going to www.http://plants.alaska.gov. Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday July 3, 2019.