Utah Draft Industrial Hemp Rules Published

Industrial hemp in Utah
Image: Niksy

Industrial hemp finally reappearing in more fields across the U.S. State of Utah is another step closer.

While Utah research and educational institutions have been able to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes in the state for some time due to provisions under the 2014 federal Farm Bill, new rules expand access to any suitable applicant over the age of 18.

Unlike some states, Utah’s rule will also allow the production of industrial hemp for medicinal purposes rather than just food and/or fiber.

The first set of three administrative rules relating to cannabis laws passed by the Utah Legislature earlier this year were published at the beginning of the month.

  • No. 43145 – Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program for Growers
  • No. 43146 – Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program for Processors
  • No. 43147 – Industrial Hemp Product Registration and Labeling

Among the rules for growers, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels must be below .3 percent – not an uncommon level in the USA, although elsewhere in the world it can be as high as 1% – still not enough to give the plant any recreational value in this regard.  Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will test for THC levels before each harvest.

Crops will also need to be kept at least 300 metres from schools and signage must be in place to indicate the plants are industrial hemp and not marijuana, to discourage theft.

With regard to processing and in the case of extracting cannabidiol (CBD), processors will be required to submit to the department a detailed description of the proposed extraction method; including how any harmful solvents will be removed, if applicable.  The department says it may deny a processing license in cases where methods post a risk to public safety.

Industrial hemp products for human consumption or absorption will be tested before being made available to sale for their cannabinoid profile, solvent, pesticide, microbial and heavy metal levels.

All industrial hemp products distributed or available for distribution in Utah will be required to be officially registered annually with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.

The draft rules were published on September 1 and are subject to a 30-day public comment period, which will be accompanied by two public hearings on the specific rules.

Trivia: The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food  banned the use of hemp and hemp products in pet food in October last year.