Hemp regulation bill gets a facelift

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

BISMARCK — A legislative conference committee has voted to accept amendments proposed by the Attorney General’s Office on House Bill 1045, which relates to hemp growth in the state.

Tara Brandner, assistant attorney general, told the conference committee that her office has seen a misuse of hemp in the state due to a federal loophole in the law.

“The purpose of the amendments is essentially to address the inconsistencies that Delta-8 THC is a legal substance,” she said.

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Brandner said the amendment is aimed at cleaning up the federal law to prevent the loophole from being exploited in North Dakota.

The amendment still allows for the agriculture commissioner to determine the level of THC, but changes the definition to total THC rather than a specific compound. Delta-9 THC is the compound found in marijuana, which can get users high. Previously the bill only referred to Delta-9 THC as a regulation level.

Brandner said this is because there had been use of Delta-8 THC from hemp, which can be synthesized and used to get high.

“Delta-8 THC can get you high, not to the same extent Delta-9-THC can, but it is having a euphoric effect,” she said.

Brandner said the penalty for growers not abiding by the law would be to lose their license, and those who synthesize hemp to get high would face criminal charges.

Sen. Janne Myrdal, R-Edinburg, said the amendment was needed and beneficial.

“It is important for the growers and for the (agriculture) community to be protected,” she said. “And it gives them some coverage they need.”

In this June 23, 2016, photo, plants mature on a hemp farm in Pueblo, Colo. Three years into the nation's hemp experiment, the crop's hazy market potential is starting to come into focus. Most of it is being pressed for therapeutic oils, not processed into rope or fabric or more traditional products. Authorized for research and experimental growth in the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp is being grown this year on about 6,900 acres nationwide, according to industry tallies based on state reports. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

The bill will now be read on both the floors of the House and Senate.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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