Idaho gets OK to license farmers to grow and transport hemp

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Matt Slocum

Ashley Walsh, founder of Pocono Organics farm, holds a hemp plant used for research at the farm adjacent to Pocono Raceway, Friday, June 25, 2021, in Long Pond, Pa. The 380 acre farm is the title sponsor for Saturday's NASCAR auto race, The Pocono Organics CBD 325, the first Cup race with a CBD sponsorship.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. officials have approved Idaho’s plan for growing and transporting hemp with up to 0.3% THC, the cannabis compound that gives marijuana its high.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture on Monday announced receiving the approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture following a new Idaho law approved earlier this year. The agency said it will open online license applications to grow hemp on Monday.

The new law, however, doesn’t allow selling to Idaho consumers hemp products containing any amount of THC.

The law was a compromise effort after Idaho lawmakers failed for several years to approve a hemp law. Some lawmakers feared legalizing the sale of hemp products to consumers containing THC could make it more difficult to enforce the state’s marijuana laws.

Backers of the new law said the state’s climate is ideal for growing hemp, and farmers could sell hemp seeds and a hemp-derived extract called cannabidiol, or CBD, which is seen by many as a health aid.

Idaho was the last state to make growing and transporting hemp legal following the 2018 farm bill that legalized hemp production at the federal level.

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