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Transportation Brief: Transporting Hemp Still Risky Business After 2018 Farm Bill

by Nathaniel G. Saylor, Brandon K. Wiseman

March 28, 2019

The 2018 Farm Bill (the Bill) removed hemp and hemp-derived products—provided they contain a THC concentration of 0.3% or less—from the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marijuana, effectively decriminalizing the transportation of those products at the federal level. But, as some carriers and their drivers have learned, states can prohibit transportation of hemp and related products within their borders.

While the Bill will eventually preempt states from prohibiting the interstate transportation of hemp through their borders, that section of the Bill does not take effect until the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Department) has taken steps to review and approve state regulatory plans and to develop regulations governing hemp production – the Department has not yet taken such actions.  In the meantime, some states continue to enforce their state-law bans on hemp products by impounding shipments and arresting drivers, including those operating in interstate commerce. 

Despite the hemp-friendly provisions of the Bill, carriers must still exercise caution in accepting shipments of hemp and hemp-derived products for delivery. At the least, they should carefully analyze the laws of the various states through which the products will move to ascertain whether those states continue to treat the products as unlawful. 

Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.


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