Sec. 7606  of The Farm Bill Authorized Hemp Research & Pilot Programs

Sec. 7606  of The Farm Bill Authorized Hemp Research & Pilot Programs

On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill of 2013 into law. Section 7606 of the act, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, defines industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and authorizes institutions of higher education or state department’s of agriculture in states that legalized hemp cultivation to regulate and conduct research and pilot programs.

Download the text of Sec. 7606 the Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research of the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 2642. (PDF file 37 KB)

What is industrial hemp and how is it defined in the Farm Bill?
Industrial hemp is the non-psychoactive, low-THC, genetically distinct varieties of the plant Cannabis sativa. Hemp has absolutely no use as a recreational drug. Section 7606 of the Farm Bill defines industrial hemp as “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

What is the purpose of Section 7606?
The U.S. House passed the hemp amendment to the Farm Bill in order to allow pilot programs and research to begin on industrial hemp and determine whether hemp farming would be beneficial for American farmers and businesses.

Dozens of states have defined industrial hemp as distinct and removed barriers to its production. These states will be able to take immediate advantage of the industrial hemp research and pilot program provision.

Are there any rules or regulations that I must follow once I am registered and certified by the department of agriculture?
Sec. 7606 authorizes state departments of agriculuture to regulate hemp research and pilot programs. Each state that allows hemp farming may promulgate its own regulations regarding industrial hemp research and pilot programs. Anyone authorized by the state to conduct research must follow the state regulations AND grow industrial hemp as defined under Section 7606. Varieties of cannabis with more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis are not authorized under Section 7606.

I am a farmer and I am interested in growing industrial hemp. Does Section 7606 authorize me to grow hemp?
Farmers in states where hemp is legal may be able to grow hemp for research purposes under Section 7606. In order to be in compliance, the farmer must be certified by and registered with the State department of agriculture AND conducting research or a pilot program approved by the State department of agriculture. We recommend you contact your State department of agriculture for more information.

Do I need a DEA license to grow hemp under Section 7606?
If you are registered and certified by your State department of agriculture to grow hemp for research purposes under Section 7606, you do not need a DEA license.

Can processed hemp seed, fiber and hurd produced under section 7606 be marketed and sold under Section 7606?
Section 7606 authorizes “agricultural pilot programs” which “study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp.” Thus, sales and marketing of hemp raw materials is allowed under the research and pilot programs authorized in Section 7606.

Where can I get certified industrial hemp planting seed?
Industrial hemp seed that meets the definition of Section 7606 is available from seed breeders in Canada, Europe and China. The hemp seed must produce plants that contain 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or less in order to meet the definition. Official policy on the importation of hemp seed needs to be worked out with the Department of Justice and Customs and Border Patrol. A top DEA official testified before Congress on March 4, 2014 that the policy regarding industrial hemp was under review at the Department of Justice. We recommend anyone who is licensed to do research have their broker contact Customs and Border Patrol and advise them you intend to import seed under a license from your state per Section 7606 of the Farm Bill and have them confirm what they need to process the import. Typically a phytosanitary certificate is required for seed imports. You should also have documentation that the variety of hemp you are importing is certified by the supplier as industrial hemp seed that will produce plants of 0.3% THC or less.