Industrial Hemp as an Agricultural Crop Resolution Proposal

Bill Wohlsifer drafted the two proposed industrial hemp bills and a proposed industrial hemp resolution with the intent that these drafts would find legislative sponsorship in the 2014 legislative session. The three drafts work together or each can implement new law standing alone. Please read and comment on these draft proposals. If one or more meet your approval, please ask your State Representatives and State Senators to consider filing these drafts or language of similar import in the upcoming 2014 legislative session.

This proposed draft bill creates chapter 575, a comprehensive plan to initiate industrial hemp growth in Florida, without awaiting change in the Controlled Substances Act, but with respect for federal limitations. The governing authority is assigned to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The draft can made more appealing to a larger pool of voters (but significantly delay its impact) by adding a provision that delays the effective date until after hemp cultivation becomes legal under federal law. This is what several states have done. Another alternative is to draft the bill so that it only permits university testing of hemp cultivation’s viability and to forecast its economic impact. Several states have done this also.

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PDF Version – Florida Hemp Bill

This proposed bill is an unsponsored draft prepared by William R. Wohlsifer, Esq., Region 3 Representative for the Libertarian Party of Florida. This draft has not been approved by or endorsed by any committee or party as of the date of last revision shown below.

Last revised on October 10, 2013.

William R. Wohlsifer, Esq. – William R. Wohlsifer, PA

1100 East Park Ave, Ste B – Tallahassee, FL 32301

Tel: (850) 219-8888 – Fax: (866) 829-8174

william@wohlsifer.com – www.infringement-attorney.com

Chapter 2014 – ____________

House Bill No. _____________

A bill to be entitled

INDUSTRIAL HEMP AS AN AGRICULTURAL CROP

An act to allow a person who holds a license issued by the Commissioner of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes. Upon meeting the licensure requirements, an individual in this state may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, or sell industrial hemp if the hemp does not contain more than 0.3% delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol. Industrial hemp shall be subject to testing during its growth. A criminal history record check must be completed on an applicant for licensure, but a prior criminal conviction shall not render a person ineligible for licensure. Creates license exemption for employees of the State University System of Florida that are actively involved in research and related activities and allows for license exemption for non-state university employees to facilitate market research, evaluation, and recommendations to the legislature.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

CHAPTER 575

INDUSTRIAL HEMP AS AN AGRICULTURAL CROP

Section 1. Section 575.01, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.01 Legislative findings and intent.—

(1) The Legislature finds that although hemp is a variety of the genus Cannabis, the same plant species as marijuana, hemp is genetically different and distinguished by its use and chemical makeup. Hemp has long been cultivated for non-drug use in the production of industrial and CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

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Personal care products. Some estimate that the global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products, that will have long-term economic benefits to both the farmers who grow hemp and the persons who utilize hemp in the production of yarns and raw or processed spun fibers, twine, rope, fabrics, textiles, paper products, animal bedding, automobile parts, plastics, cosmetics, food, nutritional supplements, body care products, fuels such as biodiesel, ethanol, and butanol, building materials including plywood, concrete, composites, roofing and insulation, carpeting, home furnishings, auto parts, and consumable foods.

(2) The Legislature finds that the inclusion of hemp with marijuana under the definition of Cannabis is based upon reliance on outdated norms, without any reasonable distinction between the delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol levels in the different species of Cannabis plants and without distinction between the psychoactive and medicinal uses of marijuana and the agricultural and industrial applications of hemp.

(3) The Legislature finds that on August 29, 2013, the United States Department of Justice issued a memorandum updating its federal marijuana enforcement policy in response to recent state laws that have legalized the possession, production, processing, and sale of marijuana under strict state regulatory systems. In light of such updated federal policy and this state’s ability to impose strict regulatory requirements for hemp cultivation, it is reasonable to expect a similar non-interference policy with regard to the cultivation, processing, and sale of hemp in this state, despite the categorical scheduling of hemp as an illegal drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

(4) The economic impact of this act is expected to generate agribusiness activity that will lead to new innovations, products, businesses and jobs throughout the state. This economic impact can be accomplished using this state’s existing infrastructure without the need for new appropriations.

Section 2. Section 575.02, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.02 Definitions.—The following words and phrases as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Agribusiness” means nonconsumable products used in the producing, processing, distribution, and marketing of consumable farm products, including, but not limited to, machinery, equipment, and supplies. CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions. Page 3 of 8

(2) “Agricultural crop” means plants useful to humans, including to a variable extent the preparation of products made from such plants.

(3) “Cannabis” means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis sativa, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin with a delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

(4) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Agriculture.

(5) “Department” means the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

(6) “Hemp” means a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant that is primarily grown as an agricultural crop (such as seeds and fiber, and byproducts such as oil, seed cake, hurds) and is characterized by plants that are low in THC (delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana. Hemp is of the same plant species as marijuana, but is genetically different and distinguished by its chemical makeup. Hemp plants have a THC concentration level of not more than 0.3 % on a dry weight basis.

(7) “Industrial hemp” means all parts and varieties of a cannabis plant containing no greater than 0.3% delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis that is grown in this state for commercial purposes.

(8) “Marijuana” means a pistillate hemp plant whose scientific name is Cannabis sativa. Although the plant contains hundreds of compounds, its dried leaves and flowering tops yield the pharmacologically active ingredient delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can be ingested, vaporized, smoked, sprayed, applied topically, or manufactured as a component ingredient in food, drink, pill or hemp oil form, to produce an intoxicating or physiological healing effect.

Section 3. Section 575.03, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.03 Industrial hemp growing permitted.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, or sell industrial hemp for commercial purposes if that person holds a license issued pursuant to s. 575.04.

Section 4. Section 575.04, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.04 Application for license.— CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

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(1) A person desiring to grow industrial hemp for commercial purposes shall apply to the commissioner for a license on a form prescribed by the commissioner.

(2) Each application for a license required by the provisions of this chapter shall be filed in writing with the department.

(3) The application for a license must include the legal description of the land area to be used for the production of industrial hemp.

(4) Each application shall require, as a minimum, the full name, date of birth, place of birth, physical description of the applicant, residence address and telephone number, and business address and telephone number of the applicant. Each application shall be accompanied by an accurate and current photograph of the applicant and a complete set of fingerprints of the applicant taken by an authorized law enforcement officer; however, a set of fingerprints shall not be required if the applicant has possessed a valid Florida license under this chapter during the prior license year if such Florida license has not lapsed or been suspended or revoked. If fingerprints are required, the set of fingerprints shall be submitted to the department for state processing. Each application shall be in such form as to provide the data and other information set forth therein, shall be sworn to by the applicant or, if the applicant is a corporation, a limited liability company or a partnership, shall be sworn to by each director, member or partner. The directors, members or partners applying on behalf of a same shall provide all their personal data and other information required.

(5) The department may require an applicant to furnish such other information or data not required by this section if the information or data is deemed necessary by the department.

(6) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly withhold information or present to the department any false, fictitious, or misrepresented application, identification, document, information, or data intended to or likely to deceive the department in connection with a license.

(7) Nothing in this section should be construed to exclude electronic filing.

Section 5. Section 575.05, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.05 Industrial hemp licensing exemptions.—

(1) The provisions of this section do not apply to employees of the State University System of Florida that are actively involved in research and related activities. CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

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(2) The department may, in its own discretion, issue letters of exemption outside of the State University System of Florida for the lawful growth, cultivation, and processing of industrial hemp under this section to facilitate market research, evaluation, and recommendations to the legislature for the purpose of furthering the intent of this chapter.

(3) The department may adopt reasonable rules regulating persons engaged in the lawful teaching, researching, or testing of industrial hemp and hemp products.

Section 6. Section 575.06, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.06 License to be displayed.—

(1) Each person to whom a license is issued under this chapter shall keep such license conspicuously displayed in his or her office, place of business, or place of employment and, whenever required, shall exhibit such license to any member or authorized representative of the department.

(2) A licensed industrial hemp agricultural business may use the words or terms, “hemp,” “industrial hemp,” or “agricultural hemp” or any combination thereof in connection with the licensee’s name or place of business to denote licensure under this chapter.

(3) Licenses issued by the department shall be valid beginning on October 1 of the year for which they are issued and shall expire on the following September 30.

(4) Each licensee shall renew his, her or its license annually, prior to its expiration date. If a renewal application and fee are not filed by the expiration date of any year, the license may be reinstated only upon payment of a delinquent fee that shall not exceed $750, plus the required renewal fees, within 30 days after the date of expiration. If any person who is subject to the requirements of this chapter fails to comply with the renewal, the department shall have the authority to seize the expired licensee’s raw or processed industrial hemp and dispose of same in any manner deemed appropriate by the department as of November 1 of the year the license expires. Any funds collected from the disposal of raw or processed industrial hemp under this section shall be deposited in the Florida Agricultural Promotional Campaign Trust Fund. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent an expired licensee from re-applying for a license. CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

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(5) If the department fails to issue a response to a valid license application submitted pursuant to this chapter within 60 days of its submission, the license shall be deemed issued and a copy of the license application shall be deemed as valid as a department issued license.

Section 7. Section 575.07, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.07 Rulemaking; fees.—

(1) No later than 90 days after the effective date of this act, the department shall promulgate rules that strictly regulate the industrial hemp industry in this state, including but are not limited to rules that govern:

(a) Testing of hemp crop by the department during growth for delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol levels.

(b) Supervision of the growth and harvest of the industrial hemp.

(c) Requirement that all licensees shall file with the department documentation indicating that the seeds planted by licensee were of a type and variety of hemp certified to have a concentration of no more than 0.3% delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol.

(d) Requirement that all licensees shall file with the department copies of any contract to grow industrial hemp.

(e) Requirement that all licensees shall maintain records of the sale or distribution of industrial hemp grown by the licensee and the dates, names of the persons to whom the industrial hemp was sold or distributed.

(f) Requirement that all licensees shall comply with all reporting requirements consistent with this chapter.

(g) Any other reasonable rules or procedures that demonstrates to the United States Department of Justice this state’s ability to self-regulate hemp cultivation in this state.

(2) To provide sufficient funds to pay costs associated the department’s monitoring and testing of industrial hemp growth, the department shall assess fees that include but are not limited to:

(a) An annual per applicant license fee to grow industrial hemp shall be set by the department, subject to change annually; the license fee for the first effective year of this act shall be $1,100. CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

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(b) An annual per applicant fee of $25 per acre, in addition to the annual license fee. The minimum annual acreage fee assessed shall be $150 per applicant, subject to change annually by the department.

(c) Fees that are commensurate with the costs of the department’s activities in licensing, testing, and supervising industrial hemp production.

Section 8. Section 575.08, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.08 Disposition of fees.—Other than the funds collected from the disposal of raw or processed industrial hemp under section 6, any fees collected pursuant to this chapter shall be applied first toward the cost of administering this act.

Section 9. Section 575.09, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.09 Affirmative defense for possession or cultivation of marijuana.—

(1) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for the possession or cultivation of marijuana under s. 893.13(1)(a)1, s. 893.13(1)(a)2, s. 893.13(1)(c)2, s. 893.13(1)(e)2 or s. 893.13(6)(a) and an affirmative defense to a prosecution for the possession of equipment that meets the definition provided in s. 893.145(7)(a)1, that:

(a) The defendant was growing industrial hemp pursuant to this chapter;

(b) The defendant had valid applicable controlled substances registrations from the United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration; or

(c) The defendant fully complied with all of the conditions of controlled substances registration.

(2) This section is not an affirmative defense to a charge of criminal sale or distribution of marijuana.

Section 10. Section 575.10, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.10 Severability.—If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the provisions or application of this chapter, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable. CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.

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Section 11. Section 575.11, Florida Statutes, is created to read:

575.11 Request for federal change or waiver.—

(1) The department shall send, if approved, a copy of this assembly’s Resolution Concerning the Recognition of Industrial Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity, along with a request to the Florida congressional delegation and to the director of the United States Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, for a change in federal law or a waiver that will allow persons in this state to grow industrial hemp as an agricultural crop for commercial purposes without federal preemption.

(2) Nothing in this section, nor the categorical scheduling of hemp as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801, shall be deemed to prohibit or prevent this state from implementing the provisions of this chapter.

Section 12. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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