Although some states have planned their own laws and regulations, the 2018 Farm Bill allows for the transport of industrial hemp across state lines.
The bill legalized industrial hemp at the federal level and included a provision that makes it illegal for states to prohibit the interstate (state-to-state) transportation of industrial hemp.
In this guide, you’ll learn the details of transporting hemp legally across state lines.
- Legalities: Is It Legal to Ship Hemp Interstate
- Recommended Hemp Transport Permits
- States to Avoid
- Active Hemp Pilot Programs – Problems with Common Carriers
To answer this bluntly, yes it is legal to ship hemp interstate. The U.S. Department of Agriculture published the interim final rule on Oct. 31, 2019, as authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.
The rule outlines provisions for USDA to approve plans submitted by states and Indian tribes for the domestic production of hemp.
Within this ruling, it lays out regulations that will prevent states and Indian tribes from restricting the shipment of hemp across their states or territories even if they prohibit its production.
Caution should still be taken when transporting hemp, regulations around the total THC levels and testing measures must be taken to ensure those THC levels are under 0.3%.
The 2018 Farm Bill defines hemp as the “plant species Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.”
Shipper’s of hemp should be able to obtain a certificate of analysis (COA) from a USDA-approved sampling lab of all of the different batches of product and licenses from the grower, processor, or distributor of the product.
These documents, along with the bill of lading, will always need to be placed in the driver’s hand prior to departure.
This ensures us that no matter where our driver gets pulled over they will be following the federal law with documents supporting the legality of the cargo being carried.
Some states have gone as far as recommending special permits to travel through their state.
The permits/special instructions are all recommended. However, we always carry a COA, bill of lading, and licenses to mitigate any issues with the shipment.
- Alabama: Recommend that you obtain a release from the state before transporting through it.
- Florida: Requires all material transferred in enclosed trucks/vans.
- Georgia: Recommends getting a permit prior to travelling through the state.
- Idaho: Requires any transport through the state stops at the first port of entry for an inspection. They have the right to hold the driver there for as long as they want (Review why we avoid Idaho below).
- New Mexico: Recommends having the truck number, year, make, and license plate number on the bill of lading.
- Utah: Recommends obtaining a free permit before travelling through the state. If you want to obtain this permit, it can take up to 5 days to approve and issue.
There is only one state that we continue to avoid due to the push back from the legislation within the state. We reroute all of our shipments around this state to avoid any delays or potential confiscations.
Idaho is known as being the state that arrested three truck drivers for hauling hemp through their state. The charges were eventually reduced for all of the drivers but only after they agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanors. Idaho has shown some improvement and in November of 2019 Idaho passed an executive order to allow hemp transportation.
However, they created so many stipulations that there is a high chance that your product could be confiscated or held up for an extended period of time while they test it.
On March 12, 2020 Idaho House committee voted 8-7 to kill the Senate-passed legislation to legalize hemp farming and transportation in Idaho. The move means Idaho farmers will not be able to grow the crop, despite it being legalized across the country by the 2018 federal farm bill.
Even with Idaho’s attempts to take steps towards legalizing and easing restrictions on the transportation of hemp we still don’t feel comfortable travelling through the state.
UPS is currently running a pilot program in Southern Oregon that allows approved and licensed distributors to ship large amounts of hemp through less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments.
Others across the United States are shipping parcels as UPS has stated, “UPS accepts products made from Hemp (including cannabidiol – CBD) for shipment only as permitted by all applicable state and federal laws.”.
According to the UPS hemp product policy, UPS can dispose any shipment, which UPS is not authorized to accept, which UPS states that will not accept, or which UPS has the right to refuse.
We have heard plenty of horror stories from our clients who ship with UPS. Empty boxes show up at their customers door, no box shows up, the package is stuck in transit forever. That’s why we highly recommend using caution when going through UPS.
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