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Idaho’s Laws Regarding Hemp Are Highly Confusing

Medical Cannabis

Idaho law defines any plant with any presence of THC marijuana. The state has been in the spotlight after a truckload of hemp was traveling through it from Oregon to Colorado. The state may be acquiring testing equipment to determine the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Hemp products are sold in stores all over the state, according to the Idaho Statesman. You can’t transport hemp through the state but it’s legal to buy and consume products made from hemp. It seems that the law has huge holes in it and doesn’t make much sense.

Even though the 2018 Farm Bill has deemed hemp an agricultural crop and it’s no longer on the list of controlled substances, Idaho hasn’t updated its laws yet.

Legislation is pending to legalize hemp for cultivation and research purposes. Senator Abby Lee sponsors the legislation.

Senator Lee said, “I think we have a lot of aps in our law, and we have gaps in our understanding.”

Nowhere in Idaho law is the word “hemp” even used. But, because it contains such small amounts of THC, the state classifies it as marijuana.

The state’s definition of marijuana is, “all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis, regardless of species, and whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.”

So, regardless of what a test says regarding the amount of THC in a plant/product, even if it is 0.3% or less, the state says it’s marijuana.

If someone is found in possession of a THC-containing product, again – regardless of the amount of THC, that is 3-ounces or more, it’s a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.

Hemp products are legal, as long as they follow the guidelines set forth by 2015 opinion issued by Deputy Attorney General John C. McKinney.

Those 2 stipulations are:

  • The products contain 0 THC
  • They don’t fall within Idaho’s definition of marijuana

So, for hemp products to be legal in Idaho, there are 5 parts of the plant the product can be made from:

  • Stalk fibers
  • Seed oil
  • Mature stalks
  • Foods made from seeds or seed oil
  • Anything made from sterilized seeds or mature stalks

The confusion continues though – because even if a product is labeled to be THC-free, the Idaho State Police spokesman, Tim Marsano, said that doesn’t mean it’s legal.

Marsano said, “While the labels might state that they do contain no THC, that may not in fact be the case. Sometimes on the labels, it will say ‘no THC.’ You have to do a scientific analysis to determine if that’s, in fact, the case. Conversely, products available in other states say they do contain THC. They may not, in fact, contain the amount of THC stated on the label.”

In Idaho, local law enforcement agencies do the compliance testing, not the Idaho Office of Drug Policy. These checks are only conducted if someone tips off the police.

Marsano said, “Idaho State Police does not do blanket testing. A retailer is subject to the possibility of being investigated if we determine that they’re selling an item containing THC, no matter what the item is.”

The state is still up-in-arms over CBD oil and remains one of the 3 states in the U.S. that strictly bans CBD oil.

No wonder consumers, business owners and visitors are so confused about what’s legal and what’s not regarding hemp in Idaho.