Oklahoma expanding into commercial hemp production, setting transport rules

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s freshly inked signature on legislation moves hemp from a pilot project to full commercial production plan under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Stitt signed the bill on April 18, with bipartisan support from state lawmakers.

Rules should be in place in time to allow commercial production in 2020, according to Public Radio Tulsa.

Oklahoma’s pilot research program remains for the 2019 season.

The agriculture department estimates roughly 1,300 acres will be planted in 2019, about three times more than what was planted in 2018.

The legislation was signed the same week an Oklahoma hemp company filed a lawsuit against a federal agricultural official for allegedly trying to keep farmers from participating in the state’s industrial hemp pilot program through false and unlawful statements.

The new law sets up processing licenses and calls for new hemp-transportation rules from the agriculture department.

Oklahoma is still sorting out a criminal case from earlier this year in which a load of hemp moving from Kentucky to Colorado was stopped and detained as possible marijuana.

A bill to regulate CBD sales in Oklahoma is still pending in the state Legislature.