Farmers with a license can grow hemp but cannot sell hemp products to the public

Farmers with a license can grow hemp but cannot sell hemp products to the public

Monday, the Alabama Political Reporter talked with Gail Ellis with the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries about industrial hemp and complaints from hemp farmers that their state licenses are too restrictive.

Ellis told APR that it is illegal in Alabama for a farmer to sell hemp material to the general public or to anyone without a hemp license.

The Alabama Political Reporter asked about the legality of smokable hemp products being widely marketed in the state.

Ellis said that all of those products are presently illegal as are the hemp gummy bears and other chewable hemp products.

The 2018 Farm Bill make industrial hemp legal throughout the country. After the product was legalized by the federal government farmers applied for and received licenses from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries to grow hemp in Alabama in 2018. These are the first farms to grow hemp in Alabama legally in approximately 80 years. While hemp historically has been used to make paper, rope, building materials, wood substitutes, etc.; most of the hemp being grown in Alabama today are being grown for their flowers which produce cannabidiol when pressed or run through a centrifuge.

Ellis shared a directive from the Department.

“A licensed grower can legally sell unprocessed hemp to a licensed processor/handler. However, even licensed growers or licensed processor/handlers are prohibited from selling unprocessed hemp (i.e. buds, cigarettes, smokable hemp, hemp tea bags, etc.)”

Marketing the seeds, plants, or flowers to anyone other than a licensed grower or processor is also presently illegal, according to Ellis.

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