NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — New hemp rules for Tennessee appear to be in limbo until Washington decides how to regulate the lucrative plant.
It was a theme heard frequently in this week’s inaugural meeting of the state’s hemp task force made up of lawmakers from both the House and Senate.
“We brought this forward to address issues that we are seeing in the hemp industry,” said task force member Chris Hurt. “There is a lot of potential in the state of Tennessee.”
Tennessee Department of Agriculture officials shared figures from what is called a “hemp explosion” in this state.
It coincides with the lucrative business of soothing oils drawn from the plant, but rules and regulations may have to wait for one simple reason.
“To see what the federal folks are going to do,” simply said David Waddell who is the department of agriculture’s legal and policy director.
For more than an hour on Tuesday, the new task force of lawmakers heard primarily from the state agriculture and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials saying that hemp regulation is a waiting game.
States like Tennessee are waiting to see what kind of superseding rules the federal government may pass about regulating the lucrative plant, but a question was raised about what Tennessee is already doing.
“If we don’t know what the federal government guidelines are gonna be are we doing the right thing by checking on the growing, cultivating and testing?” asked task force member Rep. Johnny Shaw.
The answer said the department’s Waddell goes back to the 2014 federal farm bill.
It allows states to keep track of such things as growing, cultivating and testing, but state lawmakers know that federal rules could tell them something different when they are expected to be announced this fall.
For more information, you can visit the state’s web page concerning hemp.