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S.F. No. 618 - Industrial Hemp - the Second Engrossment
Author: Senator Kent Eken
Prepared By: Greg Knopff, Senate Analyst (651/296-9399)
Stephanie James, Senate Counsel (651/296-0103)
Date: March 16, 2015


Senate File 618 provides for the regulation of industrial hemp production and research in Minnesota.

Sections 1 to 15 [Industrial hemp enforcement] provide for enforcement of the industrial hemp provisions in the bill through the existing enforcement authority of the Commissioner of Agriculture.

Sections 16 and 17 [Controlled substance offenses] specify that prosecution by the Commissioner of Agriculture of industrial hemp violations does not preclude prosecution for controlled substances.

Section 18 [Citation] cites the new chapter 18K of Minnesota Statutes as the “Industrial Hemp Development Act.”

Section 19 [Findings] provides the findings for the Industrial Hemp Development Act.

Section 20 [Definitions] provides the definitions for the new chapter 18K.  This section defines “commissioner,” “industrial hemp,” and “marijuana.”

Section 21 [Pilot program and research authorization]

            Subd. 1 [Authorized activity] allows the Commissioner of Agriculture to grow or cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes, to authorize educational institutions to grow or cultivate industrial hemp as part of a pilot program or for research purposes, and to collect seeds from wild hemp sources.

            Subd. 2 [Site registration] requires annual site registration with the Commissioner of Agriculture before growing or cultivating industrial hemp as allowed under this section.

            Subd. 3 [Rulemaking] authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture to adopt rules that govern the pilot program under this section pursuant to provisions in the 2014 federal farm law.

Section 22 [Industrial hemp possession] allows a person to possess industrial hemp that is grown pursuant to the new Minnesota Statutes, chapter 18K.

Section 23 [Licensing]

            Subd. 1 [Requirements] requires a license issued by the Commissioner of Agriculture before growing industrial hemp for commercial purposes. The applicant must pay the license fee established by the commissioner to be issued the license.  A license holder is presumed to be growing industrial hemp for commercial purposes.

            Subd. 2 [Background check; data classification] provides for a background check from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for a first-time applicant for a license under this section.  The cost of the background check is the responsibility of the applicant. The criminal history records are private data on individuals under the Data Practices Act.

            Subd. 3 [Federal requirements] requires applicants under this section to comply with all federal requirements for industrial hemp.

Section 24 [Annual report; sales notification] provides for an annual report from licensees to the Commissioner of Agriculture on seeds planted and contracts.  This section also requires notification to the commissioner on sales within 30 days of the sale.

Section 25 [Rulemaking] authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture to adopt rules related to the purpose of carrying out the new Minnesota Statutes, chapter 18K.  The rules must be consistent with the federal law governing production, distribution, and sale of industrial hemp.

Section 26 [Fees] provides that any fees paid under the new Minnesota Statutes, chapter 18K, shall be deposited in an industrial hemp account.  Money in the account is appropriated annually to the Commissioner of Agriculture to implement and enforce the chapter.

Section 27 [Defense for the possession of marijuana] provides an affirmative defense for prosecution of marijuana possession laws if the person possesses industrial hemp grown as allowed under state and federal law.

Section 28 [Marijuana definition] amends the current definition of “marijuana” to specify that it does not include “industrial hemp.”

Section 29 [Wild hemp] clarifies that industrial hemp grown by a licensed grower is not wild hemp to be controlled by a county board.

Section 30 [Effective date] makes the rulemaking provision in Section 25 effective after the federal government authorizes commercial hemp production.  The remaining sections are effective the day following final enactment.


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