Washington state’s hemp industry is seeing a new day, as a recently enacted bill seeks to help expand business opportunities for processors.
Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5372 into law, permitting the registration of hemp processors within the state, as well as the certification of hemp extract, which will allow it to be transported across additional state lines.
“Until the passage of S.B. 5372, Washington’s hemp program did not issue any form of hemp processor license,” Sativa Rasmussen, attorney at law firm Dorsey & Whitney, said in a statement issued to Hemp Grower. “As a result, Washington hemp processors have faced barriers to exporting their hemp products to various other states because a growing number of states require evidence of a hemp processor’s registration or certification.
“Among other things, this bill establishes programs to remove these barriers and to allow Washington hemp processors to export their hemp to previously unavailable markets, which will create jobs and bring income to Washington.”
S.B. 5372 doesn’t enable hemp extract to be sold as a food ingredient in Washington. However, the new hemp extract certification is “necessary for entrance and compliance with interstate and international commerce and business requirements or stipulations in regard to hemp processing,” according to the bill.
Rasmussen drafted the bill’s language regarding hemp extract certification, testified in front of the House Commerce and Gaming Committee in support of the bill, and worked closely with the Washington State Department of Agriculture on the bill. She stated that “over 20 other states allow hemp extracts as food ingredients. Each of these states has its own rules and regulations as to what is required, but a growing trend amongst those states that permit such activity is to require that any hemp extract used in consumable products be certified as having been manufactured and handled consistent with traditional food processing standards.”
The bill states that hemp extract certification deems processors will be in “compliance with Washington's inspection and good manufacturing 17 practices requirements.”
On its website, the industry organization U.S. Hemp Roundtable had encouraged industry members to call on Gov. Inslee to sign the bill following passage of both bodies of the state’s legislature. The organization wrote that “Although there is some troublesome language in the bill about products with more than 0.3% THC [tetrahydrocannabinol] being marijuana, on the whole, S.B. 5372 is a good bill that will open new markets for Washington’s hemp farmers and manufacturers and protect hemp extract manufacturing for purposes of banking and other ancillary services.”
Overall, Rasmussen said, “This is a major victory for Washington’s hemp farmers.”