Bill description: HB 300 would provide legislative intent for the state department of Agriculture to develop a state plan for growing hemp and would allow for very restricted transport of hemp through the state.
Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?
Under current state law, Idaho State Police officers have arrested individuals who transport hemp products on highways through the state. This is due to the fact that hemp is classified as marijuana under current statutes, and anyone who has marijuana, or hemp, in their possession can be charged with a felony or misdemeanor. HB 300 would allow individuals and businesses to transport hemp through the state if they obtain a permit from the state Department of Agriculture. The amendments made to the legislation would ensure that hemp products which have zero THC, the psychoactive component to marijuana, would also continue to be legally transported through the state.
Additionally, farmers are not allowed to grow hemp, even though it has many productive uses. Hemp can be used to manufacture clothing, building materials, garden mulch, insulation, food, paper and much more. In addition, hemp can be used as part of a crop rotation, recharging the soil and aiding farmers. While farmers in other states have begun growing hemp, farmers in Idaho are prohibited from doing so. HB 300 would require the state Department of Agriculture to submit a state plan to allow for farmers to grow hemp by November 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?
However, HB 300 would require any individual transporting hemp through the state to obtain a permit from the Department of Agriculture and pay a fee to obtain that permit. An individual transporting hemp would have to show to the director of the department that they are legally authorized to grow hemp in another state and have the proper permits to do so there. If an individual is transporting hemp without a valid permit, issued by the Idaho Department of Agriculture, then law enforcement agencies would have the authority to seize the hemp.
This would be especially burdensome for growers and producers out of state, as they may not know Idaho’s specific laws and would be charged with a felony even if they are transporting legal hemp products. Rather than automatically recognizing that an individual has legally produced hemp in another state, HB 300 would mandate that they pay a fee to the state and obtain an entirely separate permit to be in compliance with the law.
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?
HB 300 would give the state police authority to “establish check stations at a port of entry or other location as established by rule.” These check stations would be utilized to inspect vehicles transporting hemp throughout the state. Any individuals who are transporting hemp would be required to stop at these check stations and submit to an inspection by the state police or the Department of Agriculture.
Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?
The fiscal note for HB 300 estimates that the passage of this legislation would require $150,000 in one-time startup costs and $150,000 in ongoing expenditures for 1.5 state employees. HB 300 includes a provision which would allow the state Department of Agriculture to regulate the hemp industry and submit plans for approval to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which would create the need for these new employees.
Update: This analysis was updated on 4/9 to reflect the Senate amendments to the legislation