West Virginia Hemp Industries Association

Dear Constituents,

We urgently need your help! With little to no time our proposed amendments to title series 61-29 and 61-30 will be heard by the House of Delegates Judiciary today on January 29,2020, n. 61 CSR 29 and o. 61 CSR 30. The Judiciary is a major place to make sure our rights our being upheld. We urge you to look at our proposed amendments attached, and then email and call the House and Senate Judiciary today urging them to take a look at and implement the proposed amendments . Attached is also their contact information. Let them know you stand with the WVHIA and for the proposed amendments. This will help bring about positive change for WV Hemp. Thank you for your consideration in reading our public comments. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Proposed Amendments

WV House and Senate Judiciary Contact Information


J. Morgan Leach WVHIA President morgan@wvhia.org

Marc Dunbar WVHIA Executive Director mdunbar6@mix.wvu.edu

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Stand with WV Hemp! Donate now!

West Virginia Hemp Industries Association


Last year, many hemp farmers were subject to:

– Unfair sampling and testing protocols

– Unreasonably restrictive background checks

 – Regulatory enforcement actions that resulted in total crop loss

 – License revocations for farmers who invested heavily in our state’s effort to diversify agriculture

WV Hemp is raising money to contribute to the WV Hemp Industry and fight injustice through:

 – Education (Community events throughout the state to help the industry grow and become knowledgeable)

 – Outreach (Helping industry members with issues and keeping them up to date with current events and legislation)

  – Advocacy ( Lobbying and protecting the rights and fair treatment of all WV hemp farmers) 

WV Hemp through its continued fight for the rights of Hemp Farmers is currently opposing registration requirements for retailers of hemp products that would result in enormous regulatory costs that would create a competitive disadvantage for hemp product sales in West Virginia.

WV Hemp is requesting donations as soon as possible to help protect hemp farmers from unfair and overreaching regulations on this exciting new industry. We are grateful for any contribution you can make to the future of agriculture in our state!

DONATE HERE: https://www.gofundme.com/f/protect-wv-hemp-farmers

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West Virginia Hemp Industries Association

To the Hemp Industry of West Virginia: 


 The West Virginia Hemp Industries Association (“WVHIA”) is proud to represent hemp farmers, manufacturers, processors, researchers and retailers across the state of West Virginia in a unified effort to protect our state’s emerging hemp industry. We began our work lobbying the WV Legislature and the WV Department of Agriculture in 2015 to inform the political process and develop laws and regulations that are conducive to a profitable industry. Since that time, we have passed legislation to increase the number of hemp licenses that may be issued by the WVDA, to allow certification of hemp seeds for breeding and commercial sales, and defeated damaging legislation from GW Pharmaceuticals that would have scheduled all hemp-derived CBD and prevented all CBD sales that were not FDA approved and prescribed by a physician. To that end, our team of dedicated lobbyists effectively saved the hemp CBD industry in WV. 

Now that the 2018 Farm Bill has passed, we are battling to keep the industry moving in a positive and profitable direction. WVHIA is advocating for the WVDA to develop sampling protocols that fairly accommodate the intact flower and whole plant ground biomass markets. Please see our letter to Commissioner Leonhardt requesting that we adopt similar sampling protocols as our neighbors in Kentucky. We are circulating a Petition to Revise Hemp Sampling Protocols to collect signatures in support of our request that the WVDA evolve their sampling protocols to fairly reflect the very distinct markets for hemp. We hope that you will lend your signature to help protect our industry.

In addition, the WVDA has recently released revisions to Title 61 Series 29 and 30 that contains the regulations for hemp production, manufacturing, and product sales. We believe that the WVDA has overstepped their regulatory bounds in a number of ways that need to be immediately addressed in the public comment period that ends July 22, 2019. Please see our model Public Comments for Tile Series 61-29 and Title Series 61-30 to advocate for fair and reasonable modifications to their rule making process. Please view and sign our Petition letter directed to Kent Leonhardt, cast your public comments, and join the WVHIA today to help fund the work that protects our hemp industry. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments, we would love to hear from you! Please visit us at wvhia.org or email me directly at morgan@wvhia.org. Thank you in advance for your participation and we look forward to hearing from you!   

Wild and Wonderful week in West Virginia for Hemp

As you may recall from last fall, the Mountain State’s US Attorney sought and obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against a hemp company, alleging that it did not
comply with the regulations of the state’s agricultural pilot program. Specifically, the
suit argued that the West Virginia company illegally imported seeds from a Kentucky
pilot program participant. According to the complaint, the law requires all hemp seed
to be imported from overseas.

Of course, that’s not the law, and Frost Brown Todd’s Carte Goodwin filed a motion to dismiss in federal court. The Court initially removed the TRO, and last week, formally
dismissed the government’s case. The Court concluded that because the 2018 Farm
Bill removed industrial hemp from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act, the
federal government had no jurisdiction to inject itself into areas of oversight that
Congress reserved to the states.

“This is a significant win for the hemp industry not only in West Virginia but the United States,” said Goodwin. “Hemp is not the same as marijuana and should not be treated
the same. It is an agricultural product that opens a new source of revenue for farmers and businesses across the country.”

But wait, West Virginia, there’s more!
On Saturday, the West Virginia legislature passed House Bill 2694 that expands the
state’s hemp program, makes it compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill, and importantly,
provides explicit protection for the retail sale of hemp products including cannabidiol (CBD). Much of the US Hemp Roundtable’s model bill language was incorporated in the final bill, including:
• Notwithstanding any provision of the code to the contrary, a person need not obtain a license to possess, handle, transport, or sell hemp products or extracts, including
those containing one or more hemp-derived cannabinoids, including CBD.
• Products containing one or more hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as CBD, intended for ingestion are to be considered foods, not controlled substances or adulterated
• Applicable state agencies shall make available any and all customary registrations to the processors and manufacturers of hemp products.
• Retail sales of hemp products may be conducted when the products and the hemp
used in the products were grown and cultivated legally in another state or jurisdiction and meet the same or substantially the same requirements for processing hemp
products or growing hemp under this article and rules promulgated under §19-2E-7 of
this code.
• Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, derivatives of
hemp, including hemp-derived cannabidiol, may be added to cosmetics, personal care products, and products intended for animal or human consumption, and the addition is not considered an adulteration of the products.
• Hemp and hemp products may be legally transported across state lines, and
exported to foreign nations, consistent with U. S. federal law and laws of respective
foreign nations.
We owe a huge thanks to Delegate Gary Howell; Senators Dave Sypolt, Sue Cline and Bob Beach; and West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt.
Commissioner Leonhardt must now promulgate legislative rules implementing the
changes to the statute and that process should begin a few months. Stay tuned for
any future updates on West Virginia.

Update on the 2019 Strategic Cannabis Conference:

Due to unforeseeable circumstances the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of WV Mike Stuart is unable to attend the conference and speak on the topic of enforcement priorities. In his place we are proud to announce Ryan J. Umina, Esquire of Cranston & Edwards, PLLC will discuss the various legal and regulatory risks associated with operating hemp or cannabis enterprises in West Virginia.

Please join us for the 2019 Strategic Cannabis Conference being held at the WVU College of Law in Morgantown, West Virginia on Friday, March 1st. The event will also be live streamed for those who are unable to attend in person. Please visit the link for more info and to register:


Strategic Cannabis Conference 2019

Dear Constituents,

When: March 1, 2019 9:30-7:00
Where: WVU College of Law Event Center Morgantown, WV

     I encourage anyone seeking CLE credit as well as anyone interested in furthering their legal knowledge when it comes to the ever growing and changing landscape of the cannabis industry to check out the conference we have been tirelessly working on. We are also broadcasting if you are unable to make it in person but are interested in attending.

     Cannabis policy is rapidly evolving across the country, raising a host of legal issues for lawyers, regulators, law enforcement, and industry leaders. Our goal is to engage lawyers, policy experts, government officials, and business entrepreneurs to strategically navigate the legal issues for hemp and cannabis industries and to provide predictability for this industry in West Virginia. Please see the following agenda below for the list of topics and expert speakers that will be presented at the conference as well as instructions on how to attend. 


The US Attorney’s Office has filed suit against a WV Hemp Farm

Mike Stuart, on behalf of the federal government, is suing CAMO Hemp WV, and Grassy Run Farms. Because the charges are civil and not criminal, the farmers’ plants, property, equipment and seeds could all be seized and forfeited to the government. Stuart’s complaint states the U.S. is subject to receive either $250,000 in civil penalties or twice the sum of the defendants’ gross receipts, whichever is greater.

The farmers’ attorneys argue the Agricultural Act of 2014 — commonly referred to as the Farm Bill — which is still current law, protects their rights to grow hemp under state laws. Also, the Farm Bill and related provisions of a federal appropriations bill together state that no congressional appropriated funds can prevent the transportation, processing or sale of hemp under a state program authorized under the federal legislation.
In other words, Stuart’s office cannot spend “federal appropriations to interfere with or otherwise frustrate the intrastate or interstate transportation of industrial hemp grown or cultivated as part of a Farm Bill-authorized agriculture pilot program.”

While Judge Robert C. Chambers has not yet issued a final ruling on the case, he sided with the defendants in part and struck down pieces of a temporary restraining order and will now allow the farmers to harvest, dry and process the “marijuana,” although he ruled they cannot transport or sell it at the moment.

Now more than ever we need to band together to stick up for WV Hemp in our continued fight for pro-cannabis legislation.

Source: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/politics/us-attorney-files-civil-suit-against-wv-hemp-farm/article_9a6ff103-7f6c-5f80-a028-92877ae1502f.html

Brief History of Hemp

Hemp is an ancient plant that has been cultivated for millennia. The Columbia History of the World (1996) states that weaving of hemp fiber began over 10,000 years ago! Carbon tests have suggested that the use of wild hemp dates as far back as 8000 B.C.

In Great Britain, hemp cultivation dates back to 800AD. In the 16th Century, Henry VIII encouraged farmers to plant the crop extensively to provide materials for the British Naval fleet. A steady supply of hemp was needed for the construction of battleships and their components. Riggings, pendants, pennants, sails, and oakum were all made from hemp fiber and oil. Hemp paper was used for maps, logs, and even for the Bibles that sailors may have brought on board.

Cultivation : Hemp drying

17th Century America, farmers in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut were ordered by law to grow Indian hemp. By the early 18th century, a person could be sentenced to jail if they weren’t growing hemp on their land! Hemp was considered to be legal tender. For over 200 years in colonial America, hemp was currency that one could use to pay their taxes with! (Don’t try that today, kids!) The 1850 U.S. census documented approximately 8,400 hemp plantations of at least 2000 acres. Strains in cultivation included China hemp, Smyrna hemp and Japanese hemp.

For years, hemp farmers used a hand break operated machine when harvesting. Finally a machine was built that would take care of all the processes, breaking the retted stalks and cleaning the fiber to produce clean, straight hemp fiber which was equal to the best grades prepared on hand brakes. This machine was able to harvest 1000 pounds or more of clean hemp fiber per hour. This breakthrough made cultivating more fiscally attractive by reducing labor costs. By 1920 the hemp crop was entirely handled by machinery.

Hemp Fuel

In 1896 Rudolph Diesel had produced his famous engine. Like many others, Diesel assumed that the diesel engine would be powered by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils. Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company seeing the potential of biomass fuels operated a successful biomass conversion plant producing hemp fuel at their Iron Mountain facility in Michigan. Ford engineers extracted methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl acetate and creosote, fundamental ingredients for modern industry. Today these are supplied by oil-related industries.


Viewing hemp as a threat, a smear campaign against hemp was started by competing industries, associating hemp with marijuana. Propaganda films like “Reefer Madness” assured hemp’s demise. When Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, the decline of hemp effectively began. The tax and licensing regulations of the act made hemp cultivation nearly impossible for American farmers. Anslinger, the chief promoter of the Tax Act, argued for anti-marijuana legislation around the world.

An interesting situation arose during World War II as American Farmers were prohibited from producing hemp because of the 1937 law. However, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor halted the importation of Manila hemp from the Philippines, prompting the USDA to rethink their agenda and creating a call to action with the release of the film Hemp for Victory, motivating American Farmers to grow hemp for the war effort. The government formed a private company called War Hemp Industries to subsidize hemp cultivation. One million acres of hemp were grown across the Midwest as part of this program. As soon as the war ended, all of the hemp processing plants were shut down and the industry again disappeared. However, wild hemp may be found scattered across the country.

From 1937 until the late 1960s the United States government recognized that Industrial Hemp and marijuana were two distinct varieties of the cannabis plant. After the Controlled Substances Act was passed, hemp was no longer recognized as being distinct from marijuana.

Brief Education on Hemp


Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant. Hemp may be the most useful plant known to man kind. In fact, cannabis sativa means useful(sativa) hemp(cannabis). It is used to make over 25,000 different products, most of which are superior alternatives to less environmentally friendly products. Some of the products made are: clothing, shoes, diapers, rope, canvas, cellophane, paints, fuels, chain lubricants, biodegradable plastics, paper, fiberboard, cement blocks, food, cosmetics, and soap.  The reemergence of hemp is slowly but steadily progressing within the United States while gaining full government support in other nations.  Industrial hemp is frequently confused with marijuana in the United States mainly due to a lack of understanding of the plants.

Both hemp and medicinal marijuana come from the same plant, Cannabis Sativa L. (not to be confused by sativa and indica), the definition of hemp according to the National Laboratories is:


This definition supersedes the 0.3% THC definition, of which has no origin.

The most commonly seen modern hemp product is clothing. Hemp clothing is warmer, softer, more absorbent, extremely breathable and significantly longer lasting than clothing made from cotton. It is nice to have clothing that looks like linen, feels like flannel, and wears two to three times longer than other fabrics, but this is just the beginning


The seeds are an excellent nutritional source that can provide quality fats and proteins. The hemp seed oil is utilized for it’s healing qualities in many salves and cosmetics but can also be used to create paint, varnishes, lubricants, and much more. The high fiber content of hemp makes it a natural resource for building materials, papermaking, and even biodegradable plastics. Hemp is a presently viable environmentally sound energy source.

CBD…The Legal Facts!

State CBD laws are all different from each other and are all narrowly focused. Additionally, and more importantly, none of the State CBD laws are controlling over the General CBD laws. Currently, sixteen states have enacted laws regarding CBD. These states are: Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The real issue is the relationship between these State CBD laws and the General CBD laws. To the extent that the State CBD laws specifically govern CBD, as opposed to hemp oil formulations containing THC in levels that are otherwise prohibited, State CBD laws are simply and wholly subsumed by the General CBD laws. To be more blunt, they are irrelevant and unenforceable. Aside from the State specific laws allowing THC at levels not otherwise permitted, State CBD laws are nothing more than toothless creatures, unable to do any harm (or good), except to confuse the issue.

The legality or illegality of CBD is primarily based on its source. This is strange, for sure. But it’s an unintended result of the case and statutory law that has grown up around hemp. In particular, hemp from abroad, which has been legal for many years, has a different “legal genealogy” from domestic hemp, which has only been legal to cultivate in the US since 2014.

Domestically sourced CBD: If CBD is extracted from the “marijuana” plant (ie, more than 0.3% THC) then it is Federally illegal. If it is extracted from the “industrial hemp” plant pursuant to state hemp laws that comply with the 2014 Farm Bill then it is legal within that state. Based on section 763 of the the 2015 Omnibus Spending Bill no Federal Funds can be used to interfere with hemp (or its products) so long as it was cultivated in a hemp-legal state. This provision explicitly extends to non-interference in states that have not enacted hemp laws. (This funding issue is essentially the same issue that was addressed in the MMJ context in the 9th Circuit McIntosh case.) So, from a practical standpoint state-legal hemp products are Federally legal throughout the US. However, since the Omnibus Spending bill only affects funding, it doesn’t trigger the Supremacy Clause (the clause in the Constitution that says Federal law trumps state law); therefore, states in which hemp and its products remain illegal and who do not utilize Federal Funds (to the extent that any such states actually exist) can enforce their anti-cannabis laws to prohibit CBD sales or use.

Foreign sourced CBD: If the CBD is sourced from an “industrial hemp” plant from abroad, and it contains less than 0.3% THC, it is Federally legal in all 50 states pursuant to the Hemp Indus. cases. Furthermore, the Supremacy Clause is implicated with respect to foreign sourced hemp since the laws arise out of Federal cases deciding substantive issues of law and not through a funding provision, making those CBD products legal under state law, too. This is the major legal method by which CBD merchants are able to sell CBD nationwide. (The quality of foreign-sourced CBD can be more difficult to ascertain, for sure, but that’s an entirely different issue from the legal status.)

FDA “overlay”: Finally, the FDA has recently stepped and announced that edible products in which CBD has been added violate the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. This doesn’t apply to products made from CBD rich hemp oil, only those edible products to which CBD isolate has been added. As you are probably aware, the FDA also contends that CBD cannot be sold as a dietary supplement.

Intriguing issues remain in the CBD world, such as how to acquire certified hemp seed, how state medical CBD laws (like Carly’s Law, Rylie’s Law, Hayleigh’s Hope, etc.) play into the larger CBD and hemp scheme, and how the laws for CBD isolate differ slightly from the laws for CBD -rich “hemp oil”, particularly with respect to the FDA.