The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and by providing a detailed framework for the cultivation of hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill gives the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulatory authority over hemp cultivation at the federal level. In turn, states have the option to maintain primary regulatory authority over the crop cultivated within their borders by submitting a plan to the USDA.
This federal and state interplay has resulted in many legislative and regulatory changes at the state level. Indeed, most states have introduced (and adopted) bills that would authorize the commercial production of hemp within their borders. A smaller but growing number of states also regulate the sale of products derived from hemp.
In light of these legislative changes, we are presenting a 50-state series analyzing how each jurisdiction treats hemp-derived cannabidiol (Hemp CBD). Today we turn to Puerto Rico. (Under Section 297A(4) of the 2018 Farm Bill, the term “state” is defined to include Puerto Rico.)
According to information published in Crónicas, Puerto Rico’s Office for Licensing and Inspection of Hemp (OLIC; part of the Department of Agriculture (PRDA)) is set to unveil the island’s proposed state plan for hemp production at Puerto Rico HempBiz, an upcoming industry event.
Puerto Rico is banking on hemp to bring much-needed good news on the economic front. As OLIC points out, given its climate, Puerto Rico could have three growing seasons each year. OLIC’s director estimates that hemp production “could represent about 100 to 150 million dollars for the treasury”.
Puerto Rico started issuing licenses to hemp producers in September 2019 as part of a pilot program. Under the program, crops are limited to ten cuerdas (9.71 acres). Once the state plan is approved by USDA, PRDA estimates that at least 10,000 cuerdas (9,710 acres) will be used for hemp cultivation.
With many public events being cancelled over COVID-19 concerns, it remains to be seen if Puerto Rico HempBiz takes place as scheduled, from April 2-3. Hopefully, OLIC will in any case present its proposed state plan no later than those dates.
For additional updates on changes to Pennsylvania hemp laws and Hemp CBD laws, please stay tuned to the Canna Law Blog. For previous coverage in this series, check out the links below: