TWIN FALLS — Although the growing and production of hemp is now legal in Idaho, adoption is going to take time.
Nineteen applications have been entered into the system since the online program went live Nov. 8 on the Idaho State Department of Agriculture website. This includes both producer and handler applications as well as partially completed applications.
If approved, the production of hemp and handling of hemp products will start on Jan. 1, 2022.
“I expect more farmers will apply,” said Buhl farmer Tim Cornie who submitted an application. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Buhl farmer Tim Cornie testifies in the Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee on February 18, 2020, in favor of a hemp bill.
The online system has been running smoothly and the agency has been able to fix any bugs that have appeared, said Chanel Tewalt, deputy director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.
Tewalt encourages interested parties to check the website, agri.idaho.gov/main/hemp, and reach out with any questions.
“Please do not assume, because you have worked in another state or have been operating in another state for a long time, that Idaho’s regulations look like that other state,” she said.
The website includes links to different how-to videos that explain the application process. The application is $100, for both producers and handlers.
Applicants will need to submit a background check, along with maps, and information about their farm or handling facility.
Individuals are ineligible to receive a license if the applicant is under 18 or if they have been convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in the past 10 years. A full list of eligibility rules can be found on the ISDA website under the State Hemp Plan document.
Once an application is approved, growers will need to have the ISDA pull a sample no more than 30 days before harvest. The hemp is required by law to be less than 0.3% THC—the chemical cannabinoid that has psychoactive effects.
Cornie, co-owner of 1,000 Springs Mill, has been interested in growing hemp for a long time.
“We have been lobbying for it for over two years because we knew it was a product that went well with our product line and was super healthy,” Cornie said.
Hemp has a bad reputation because of its connection to marijuana, Cornie said. The plants are both part of the same species, however hemp contains less THC.
Idaho lawmakers and law enforcement were worried that growers could attempt to hide marijuana plants in a hemp field.
“That would cause cross-pollination and make it worth zero THC,” Cornie said. “They saw the benefit of it and realized it was just a commodity like wheat and corn.”
Harvesting will be the hardest part to figure out, he said. Because hemp is extremely fibrous, it is hard on farming equipment. …….