House Bill 126 — Industrial hemp

House Bill 126 — Industrial hemp

by
Parrish Miller
February 15, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 126 would legalize and regulate the production, processing, and transportation of industrial hemp in the state, and regulate research on it.

Rating: -4

Analyst Note: House Bill 126 would allow Idahoans to legally produce, process, transport, and research industrial hemp in Idaho. Unfortunately, it also calls for regulations, licensing mandates, fees, fines, warrantless searches and seizures, and the incorporation by reference of federal laws. 

Does it increase barriers to entry into the market? Examples include occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and restrictions on home businesses. Conversely, does it remove barriers to entry into the market?

House Bill 126 creates Chapter 17, Title 22, Idaho Code, titled the "Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act." This new chapter will "allow production, processing, transportation, and research of industrial hemp in Idaho." 

(+1)

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

House Bill 126 requires the director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to "prepare and submit a state plan" to the "secretary of agriculture in compliance with the 2018 (federal) farm bill and the rules promulgated thereunder." This plan "must be created in consultation with the governor, the director of the Idaho state police, and Idaho's agricultural industry."

There are some contradictory ideas contained in this bill. For example, the state plan must "allow for the production, processing, transportation, and research of industrial hemp in Idaho to the greatest extent allowed under federal law." Notice the last phrase.

A different section of the new chapter requires the director to create and issue rules that are "compliant with the 2018 farm bill." House Bill 126 also creates a process for the promulgation of a rule "that is broader in scope or more stringent than federal law or regulations as outlined in the 2018 farm bill." There is no need for rules more stringent than federal law.

The bill also establishes a dedicated fund in the state treasury called the "industrial hemp administration fund." It will be "credited the revenues derived from fees and civil penalties collected as authorized by this chapter and rules promulgated under this chapter."

(-1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments?

House Bill 126 explicitly authorizes the Department of Agriculture to "promulgate rules establishing fees" related to the new chapter.

(-1)

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for nonviolent crimes? Conversely, does it eliminate or decrease penalties for victimless crimes or non-restorative penalties for non-violent crimes?

House Bill 126 allows for the legal production, processing, and transportation of industrial hemp in Idaho, and research into it. Under current law, these victimless actions are banned. Under the system implemented by this bill, it would be possible to engage in these actions legally, provided one scrupulously complies with many regulations and mandates. 

(+1)

House Bill 126 also authorizes the Department of Agriculture to promulgate rules establishing "penalties for violations associated with the provisions of this chapter."

House Bill 126 creates Section 67-2921, Idaho Code, which states, "It is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess industrial hemp without a license." It further states that "any person who pleads guilty to or is found guilty of a violation of" this mandate "for the first time is guilty of a misdemeanor and is subject to a fine" of up to $150. A second offense doubles the maximum fine and a third offense increases the fine to $1,000 and adds the threat of six months incarceration. 

Any industrial hemp transported or possessed by someone without a license is "deemed contraband and is subject to seizure and destruction."

(-1)

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

The fiscal note for House Bill 126 indicates it will cost $150,000 to develop and implement the state plan and to engage in inspections and other activities. Conversely, simply repealing all of Idaho's various prohibitions concerning industrial hemp would impose no additional costs.

(-1) 

Does it violate the spirit or the letter of either the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution? Examples include restrictions on speech, public assembly, the press, privacy, private property, or firearms. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution or the Idaho Constitution?

House Bill 126 requires that when a "transporter or vehicle hauling industrial hemp" is "lawfully detained by a peace officer," the transporter "must consent to inspection of the shipment." 

It further stipulates that "the peace officer may randomly select reasonably sized samples ... and retain them for future off-sight testing" and that "transporters are not entitled to compensation for these de minimis samples."

Searches and seizures without a warrant are unconstitutional.

(-1)

Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism?

The entire structure of House Bill 126 is based on compliance with federal law, specifically the 2014 farm bill, the 2018 farm bill, and 7 CFR 990.1 et seq. The federal government does not have the authority to compel Idaho to enforce the provisions of these federal laws. Idaho could choose to fully legalize and deregulate industrial hemp without imposing any of the federal regulations or licensing mandates on Idahoans.

(-1)

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