September 19, 2018

Fighting Back for Hemp in West Virginia

Last week, a federal prosecutor sought and obtained a temporary restraining order 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. The thing is…that’s not the law. Indeed, on March 28, 2018, President Donald Trump signed the FY18 Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, Rural Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations, which clarified that federal agencies cannot interfere with the interstate transportation or sale of hemp seeds grown under the 2014 Farm Bill.

None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be used—(1) in contravention of section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 5940); or (2) to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp, or seeds of such plant, that is grown or cultivated in accordance with section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the State in which the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated.

Fortunately, the West Virginia hemp company is represented by Frost Brown Todd’s Carte Goodwin. Goodwin, a prominent Charleston trial attorney, who briefly served as a U.S. Senator following the death of legendary Sen. Robert Byrd, secured a stay of that restraining order, allowing the company to proceed with its fall harvest and processing while the judge makes his final decision. We will hopefully have a resolution in a few weeks. In the meantime, we ask all Hemp Supporters to keep us apprised of similar misguided law enforcement actions.