The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and by providing a detailed framework for the cultivation of hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill gives the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulatory authority over hemp cultivation at the federal level. In turn, states have the option to maintain primary regulatory authority over the crop cultivated within their borders by submitting a plan to the USDA.
This federal and state interplay has resulted in many legislative and regulatory changes at the state level. Indeed, most states have introduced (and adopted) bills that would authorize the commercial production of hemp within their borders. A smaller but growing number of states also regulate the sale of products derived from hemp.
In light of the rapidly evolving legislative changes, we are also presenting a 50-state series analyzing how each jurisdiction treats hemp-derived cannabidiol (Hemp CBD). Today we turn to Michigan.
The cultivation of hemp has been authorized in Michigan and overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (“MDARD”). Until a year ago, only the MDARD or a college or university could grow industrial hemp for the strict purpose of research.
However, on December 28, 2018, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law Michigan House Bills 6330, 6331 and 6380 (Public Acts 641, 642, and 648 of 2018), amending the Industrial Hemp Research Act and creating the new Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act. The Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act requires the MDARD to regulate the growing, processing and handling of industrial hemp. The other new laws make changes to the Public Health Code and the Michigan Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act to address the new Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act. Despite these enactments, the new laws won’t go into effect until the USDA approves the state’s plan and the MDARD adopts hemp rules.
Michigan does not appear to have a licensing process for creating products derived from industrial hemp. However, Michigan’s office of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (“LARA”), which oversees Michigan’s medical marijuana program, issued guidance, stating that marketing CBD-infused food is illegal in the state, per FDA guidelines. The guidelines are silent as to whether CBD may be lawfully infused to other categories of products. Earlier this fall, Michigan’s Governor prohibited the sale of flavored vape products, which seemed limited to nicotine products but could apply to Hemp CBD products. However, the ban was blocked by a judge on October 15, which means the sale of these products remains allowed but unregulated.
While Michigan seems to have jumped on the hemp-bandwagon, the state has yet to regulate the commercial production of hemp and Hemp-CBD products. Accordingly, the distribution and sale of Hemp-CBD products comes with certain risks in the Great Lakes State.
For previous coverage in this series, check out the links below: