Ongoing Hemp Transport Uncertainties Trigger Minnesota Warning

A hemp industry group in Minnesota has issued a warning to manufacturers to avoid ordering hemp biomass from out of state in the aftermath of a hemp delivery driver from Colorado who was arrested in South Dakota on drug-related charges. The hemp was destined for a manufacturing facility in Minnesota.

The warning, issued by the Minnesota Hemp Association, a newly formed group that has so far attracted a few dozen people to join its ranks, comes just as a federal court is scheduled to hear arguments regarding the transportation of hemp.

Joe Radinovich, the head of the Minnesota Hemp Association, revealed that a processor based around the Twin Cities area had ordered the hemp for purposes of testing their new processing equipment, but the consignment was impounded and the driver was arrested and charged. No charges were brought against the processor who ordered the hemp.

The attorney for the driver is confident that the charges against his client will be dropped, but this case highlights the challenges that Minnesota is likely to face since it doesn’t have a local supply of industrial hemp as yet, despite many processors being already active within the state.

The transportation of industrial hemp across state lines is proving to be one of the most difficult aspects of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp countrywide.

While the federal law forbids states from preventing the transportation of hemp across state lines, this law may be a lame duck until the federal government, though the U.S. Department of Agriculture, formulates rules that will govern the cultivation and sale of hemp. Because those rules aren’t in place as yet, some states are impounding hemp as an illegal substance.

The federal court referred to earlier is set to give its ruling on Thursday in a case brought by Big Sky Scientific, a Colorado-based hemp company whose consignment of hemp was seized in Idaho earlier this year as the biomass was being transported from Oregon.

A nonbinding legal opinion was issued by the USDA confirming that the 2018 Farm Bill guaranteed the right to transport industrial hemp across states lines, and the hemp industry hopes that the federal appeals court ruling expected on Thursday will bring further clarity to this matter.

The USDA admits that the complexity of testing hemp for THC is partly responsible for the delay to release hemp industry rules, and this has created the confusion in which one state certifies a harvest as hemp while another tests the same crop and declares it to be marijuana.

Experts agree with industry actors like TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8) and VPR Brands LP (OTCQB: VPRB) who believe that the jitters in the industry will only dissipate once the USDA releases the long awaited hemp rules.

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