Confusion over state hemp law leads judge to arrest business owners

We don’t want to go to jail or have our business shut down for helping people, but that is the situation we now face here in Tennessee.

This past week, 21 business owners were arrested in neighboring Rutherford County after Rutherford County District Attorney General Jennings Jones secured indictments from Circuit Court Judge Royce Taylor citing a 2015 law that limited sales and possession of CBD. The problem, as Tennessee Hemp Industries Association President Joe Kirkpatrick points out, is that the law was updated in May 2017 unanimously by the Tennessee State Legislature and signed by Governor Haslam (Tennessee Public Chapter 369). That mistake could have caused harm to those doing it legally.

The definition of “industrial hemp” is a clear exception to the definition of marijuana under both state law and the 2014 Farm Bill, which created the industrial hemp pilot program. The TNHIA does not take a position on marijuana legislation, only on hemp legislation. If the products in question are “industrial hemp” derived, the TNHIA takes grave exception to the actions of Rutherford County law enforcement.

Unless the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and the Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and LaVergne municipal law enforcement investigators can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the CBD products were derived from a “marijuana” source rather than an “industrial hemp” source, they are in clear contravention of the law allowing the growth, processing, blending, and marketing of such products, and the victims of this action should be entitled to petition for any economic and/or punitive damages applicable under the law.

- Joe Kirkpatrick, President Tennessee Hemp Industries Association

The new 2017 law removes industrial hemp and any dirivatives with .3% or less THC from the state’s marijuana criminal code and allows for legal possession without a doctor’s prescription as long as the product is clearly labeled and sourced to a licensed grower or producer. Judge Jones relied on an older version of the law requiring stricter rules.

We have seen first hand what this amazing plant can do for veterans and for families helplessly caught in a policy-driven opioid crisis that has our country in a state of declared national emergency. It is unfortunate that the lawful good we can do is declared criminal by a Rutherford County District Attorney while those fomenting this national opioid crisis continue to profit on addiction and death.

Despite our confidence in state law and the products we carried that helped many customers from all walks of life, one DA and a circuit judge has undermined that confidence for us and an entire industry. We hope more clarity and education about the law does result from this. Due to the confusion and actions taken against other businesses, we have removed CBD products from our Woodbury store until we receive clarity from the 16th Judicial District of Tennessee on state industrial hemp laws. You can purchase our TN Public Chapter 369 compliant CBD products at the Wellness Emporium of Bell Buckle, TN.

UPDATE 02-17-2018: We’ve now restocked our Woodbury store with our CBD hemp oil products following clarity from the court.

UPDATE 02-28-2018: District Attorney Jennings Jones has dropped all charges against store owners. If you are a district attorney in Tennessee and have law enforcement or politicians coming to you with this issue, take note and don’t make costly mistakes like this.

Hemp extracted CBD now available in Woodbury

Cannabidiol (CBD) has received a lot of attention through recent efforts to change our nation’s cannabis laws due to a growing body of evidence suggesting many health benefits. Many people use CBD in treating seizures and other neurological disorders, anxiety, depression, cancer and pain.*

CBD is a naturally-occurring constituent of both the industrial hemp plant and marijuana that engages our endocannabinoid system. CBD extracted from both plants are molecularly identical, but extractions of marijuana can contain illegal amounts of the psychoactive constituent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) while industrial hemp extracts do not. The distinction is one reason why imported hemp products (fiber, seed, oil) under importation rules of the United States Department of Agriculture and United States Customs and Border Protections are legal in all 50 states. Additionally, there are no interstate commerce restrictions on the sale and consumption of these imported hemp products in the United States.

When the Agricultural Act of 2014 (U.S. Farm Bill) was enacted into law, it established state pilot programs with strict controls on U.S. hemp growers and producers including the varieties that can be grown, required background checks for growers, and coordination with state and federal authorities. The federal law also allowed states to enact statewide rules on products created from domestic hemp crops, including requirements for prescriptions and state commerce restrictions.

Half Hill Farm was Tennessee’s first organic farm to grow hemp under Tennessee’s hemp pilot program with the intent of creating quality CBD extracts for our customers. After the first year’s crop, our farm left the program because of limits on varieties we could grow at that time. Recent changes to Tennessee’s industrial hemp laws are moving in the right direction. One recent change removes hemp from state marijuana criminal codes by defining all products derived from domestic hemp that contain less than .3% of THC as “industrial hemp.” The new law also provides an exemption for possessing “non-viable” industrial hemp by non-license holders as long as the product is from a licensed source. We do look forward to more changes that will allow us to grow and process varieties so we can compete with imported products.

In order to serve our customers the highest quality hemp extracted CBD now without the restrictions associated with domestic crop production, we are proud to partner with Endoca, a leader in quality imported organic and GMP certified CBD & CBDa hemp extracts.

You can now purchase Endoca CBD oil drops and capsules in our retail store at the Arts Center of Cannon County. Each batch is third party lab-tested for concentration and certified organic compliance. Certificates and lab tests are available for review.

DROPS:
  • (3%) 300mg Hemp Extract (300 drops – 1mg CBD per drop – $31)
  • (3%) 300mg Raw Hemp Extract (300 drops – 1mg CBD + CBDa per drop – $31)
  • (15%) 1500mg Hemp Extract (300 drops – 5mg CBD per drop – $150)
  • (15%) 1500mg Raw Hemp Extract (300 drops – 5mg CBD + CBDa per drop – $150)
CAPSULES:
  • (3%) 300mg Hemp Extract capsules (30 capsules – 10mg CBD per capsule – $31)
  • (3%) 300mg Raw Hemp Extract capsules (30 capsules – 10mg CBD + CBDa per capsule – $31)
MORE CBD PRODUCTS
  • 150mg CBD Chewing Gum (10 pieces / 15 mg CBD per gum – $14)
  • 750mg CBD Hemp Salve (30ml – $59)
  • 500mg CBD Suppositories (10 suppositories / 50mg CBD each – $49)
  • 20mg CBD Hemp Lip Balm ($8)

Here is more information on CBD:

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always consult with your physician before using new products. Half Hill Farm Inc does not sell or distribute any products that are in violation of the United States Controlled Substances Act. All of the cannabinoids in products we offer, including CBD, are natural constituents of industrial hemp and hemp oil.

Half Hill Farm among Tennessee’s first to grow hemp

Industrial hemp grows on Half Hill Farm in Woodbury, TN

(Woodbury, TN) — Half Hill Farm is the first USDA certified organic farm in Tennessee to grow legal hemp. The state legalized hemp last year despite decades of federal prohibition under the Controlled Substance Act. Growing hemp requires a background check and permit from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

Half Hill Farm grows several hundred plants in a pilot partnership with a co-op of farms under Tennessee Hemp Farm. Using various farm methods, participating farms hope to learn how much seed and fiber production they can expect from a plant not grown legally in the United States since the 1950s.

“My guess is hemp will grow just fine here in Cannon County,” said Half Hill Farm’s Christian Grantham. “The exciting part for us is what can be done with it.”

While industrial hemp contains little to none of the psychoactive ingredient THC, hemp seeds produce the highest omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids of any grain. Milled seed is an excellent source of oil and plant protein, and hemp is one of the world’s most renewable sources of industrial fiber.

“It won’t be long before you start seeing several Tennessee products made with hemp grown and processed right here,” Grantham said. ”As part of our farm’s mission, we can’t wait to share the health benefits of hemp through value added products.”

In the mid 1800s, Tennessee farms reported growing over 2,200 tons of cannabis using it to make rope and industrial canvas used in boat sails and to bag cotton harvests. According to state records, production fell with competition from other states.

Growing commercial hemp is still illegal under federal law. Permitted farms in Tennessee work closely with state and federal authorities under new farm rules for states that legalize hemp or recreational & medical marijuana.

Under state law, farms growing hemp can sell hemp fiber or viable hemp seed to a manufacturer and value added products direct to consumers. The first hemp crops in Tennessee will harvest in late September.

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