GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
ACT to RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANCE AND LEGITIMACY OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP RESEARCH, TO
PROVIDE FOR COMPLIANCE WITH PORTIONS OF THE FEDERAL Agricultural act of 2014,
and to promote increased agricultural employment.
The General Assembly of North
SECTION 1. Chapter 106
of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:
106‑568.50. Legislative findings and purpose.
The General Assembly finds and
declares that it is in the best interest of the citizens of North Carolina to
promote and encourage the development of an industrial hemp industry in the
State in order to expand employment, promote economic activity, and provide
opportunities to small farmers for an environmentally sustainable and profitable
use of crop lands that might otherwise be lost to agricultural production. The
purposes of this Article are to establish an agricultural pilot program for the
cultivation of industrial hemp in the State, to provide for reporting on the
program by growers and processors for agricultural or other research, and to
pursue any federal permits or waivers necessary to allow industrial hemp to be
grown in the State.
The following definitions apply
in this Article:
(1) Certified seed.
– Industrial hemp seed that has been certified as having a delta‑9
tetrahydrocannabinol concentration less than that adopted by federal law in the
Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 et seq.
use. – The use of industrial hemp as a raw ingredient in the production of hemp
(3) Commission. – The
North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission created by this Article.
(4) Department. –
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
(5) Grower. – Any
person licensed to grow industrial hemp by the Commission pursuant to this
(6) Hemp products.
– All products made from industrial hemp, including, but not limited to, cloth,
cordage, fiber, food, fuel, paint, paper, particleboard, plastics, seed, seed
meal and seed oil for consumption, and certified seed for cultivation if the
seeds originate from industrial hemp varieties.
hemp. – All parts and varieties of the plant Cannabis sativa (L.), cultivated
or possessed by a grower licensed by the Commission, whether growing or not,
that contain a delta‑9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more
than three‑tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis.
or THC. – The natural or synthetic equivalents of the substances contained in
the plant, or in the resinous extractives of, cannabis, or any synthetic
substances, compounds, salts, or derivatives of the plant or chemicals and
their isomers with similar chemical structure and pharmacological activity.
106‑568.52. North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission.
(a) Creation and Membership.
– The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission is established and shall
consist of five members as follows:
Commissioner of Agriculture or the Commissioner's designee, who shall serve as vice‑chair.
(2) One appointed
by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the
Senate in accordance with G.S. 120‑121, who shall at the time of
appointment be a municipal chief of police.
(3) One appointed
by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House of
Representatives in accordance with G.S. 120‑121, who shall at the
time of appointment be an elected sheriff or the sheriff's designee.
(4) One appointed
by the Governor who shall at the time of appointment be a full‑time
faculty member of a State university who regularly teaches in the field of
(5) One appointed
by the Commissioner of Agriculture, who shall be a full‑time farmer with
at least 10 years' of experience in agricultural production in the State.
(b) Terms of
Members. – Members of the Commission shall serve terms of four years, beginning
effective July 1 of the year of appointment, and may be reappointed to a second
four‑year term. The terms of members designated by subdivisions (a)(1),
(a)(2), and (a)(4) of this section shall expire on June 30 of any year evenly
divisible by four. The terms of the remaining members shall expire on June 30
of any year that follows by two years a year evenly divisible by four.
(c) Chair. – The
members of the Commission shall elect a chair. The chair shall serve a two‑year
term and may be reelected.
(d) Vacancies. –
Any appointment to fill a vacancy on the Commission created by the resignation,
dismissal, death, or disability of a member shall be made by the original
appointing authority and shall be for the balance of the unexpired term.
(e) Removal. – The
appointing authority shall have the power to remove any member of the
Commission appointed by that authority from office for misfeasance,
malfeasance, or nonfeasance.
– The members of the Commission shall receive per diem and necessary travel and
subsistence expenses in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 138‑5.
(g) Quorum. –
Three members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction
(h) Staff. – The
Commission is authorized and empowered to employ no more than two persons as staff
to assist the Commission in the proper discharge of its duties and
responsibilities. The chair of the Commission shall organize and direct the
work of the Commission staff. The salaries and compensation of all such
personnel shall be determined by the Commission; provided, however, that the
aggregate cost for salaries and benefits of the staff may not exceed two
hundred thousand dollars ($200,000).
106‑568.53. Powers and duties of the Commission.
The Commission shall have the
following powers and duties:
(1) To establish
an agricultural program to grow or cultivate industrial hemp in the State. The
Commission shall pursue any permits or waivers from the United States Drug
Enforcement Agency or any other federal agency that are necessary for the
establishment of the industrial hemp cultivation pilot program established by this
(2) To issue
licenses allowing a person, firm, or corporation to cultivate
industrial hemp for commercial purposes to the extent allowed by federal law,
upon proper application as the Commission may specify. Each licensee
shall provide a complete and accurate legal description of the location of the
industrial hemp farming operation, including GPS coordinates, and the license
shall be issued for cultivation only in those locations identified in the
application and shall include on its face the description of those areas. The
Department shall provide administrative support to the Commission for the
processing of applications and issuance of licenses.
(3) To support the
Commission's activities, and to reimburse the Department for expenses
associated with the issuance of cultivation licenses under subdivision (2) of
this section, the Commission may charge the following fees:
initial, graduated license fee, to be paid by each cultivator, based upon the
number of acres proposed for cultivation of industrial hemp, not to exceed ten
thousand dollars ($10,000), with incentive provisions to encourage the
participation of small acreage farmers.
b. An annual fee that
is the sum of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) and two dollars ($2.00)
per acre of industrial hemp cultivated.
fees under this subdivision, the Commission may create fair and reasonable
licensing preferences for license applicants from North Carolina counties that
have been recognized as economically depressed or disadvantaged.
(4) To receive
gifts, grants, federal funds, and any other funds both public and private
needed to support the Commission's duties and programs.
(5) To establish
procedures for reporting to the Commission by the growers and processors for
agricultural or academic research and to collaborate and coordinate research efforts
with the appropriate departments or programs of North Carolina State University
and North Carolina A & T State University.
(6) To study and
investigate marketplace opportunities for hemp products to increase the job
base in the State by means of employment related to the production of
(7) To study and
investigate methods of industrial hemp cultivation that are best suited to soil
conservation and restoration.
(8) To propose to
the Board of Agriculture for adoption reasonable rules and regulations
necessary to carry out the purposes of this Article, which shall include, but
are not limited to, rules for all of the following:
a. Testing of the
industrial hemp during growth to determine tetrahydrocannabinol levels. Testing
methods and protocols shall comply in all respects with any and all applicable
b. Supervision of
the industrial hemp during its growth and harvest, including rules for
verification of the type of seeds and plants used and grown by licensees.
c. The production
and sale of industrial hemp, consistent with the rules of the United States Department
of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration for the production,
distribution, and sale of industrial hemp.
d. Means and
methods for assisting law enforcement agencies to efficiently ascertain
information regarding the legitimate and lawful production of industrial hemp.
e. Strategies and
programs for the promotion of industrial hemp products and markets, in
conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, the North
Carolina Department of Commerce, the University of North Carolina system, and
the community college system.
f. The fees
authorized by subdivision (3) of this section.
The Commission shall
include in its rulemaking proposals the adoption by reference or otherwise the
federal regulations in effect regarding industrial hemp and any subsequent amendments
to those regulations. No North Carolina rule, regulation, or statute shall be
construed to authorize any person to violate any federal law or regulation.
(9) To undertake
any additional studies relating to the production, distribution, or use of
industrial hemp as requested by the General Assembly, the Governor, or the
Commissioner of Agriculture.
The Commission shall not meet
or undertake any of its powers and duties under this Article until it has
obtained funding from sources other than State funds of at least two hundred
thousand dollars ($200,000) to support operations of the Commission. Funding
from non‑State sources for the Commission's activities may be returned to
the donor or funder if not spent or encumbered within 12 months, upon request
of the donor or funder. Non‑State funds donated and carried over at the
end of the fiscal year in which they are donated shall be retained and remain
eligible for expenditure in the following fiscal year."
SECTION 2. G.S. 90‑87(16)
reads as rewritten:
means all parts of the plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not; the
seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every
compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant,
its seeds or resin, but shall not include the mature stalks of such plant,
fiber produced from such stalks, oil, or cake made from the seeds of such
plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or
preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom),
fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of
germination. The term does not include industrial hemp as defined in G.S. 106‑568.51,
when the industrial hemp is produced and used in compliance with rules issued
by the Board of Agriculture upon the recommendation of the North Carolina
Industrial Hemp Commission."
SECTION 3. The Board
of Agriculture may adopt temporary rules to implement the provisions of this
act and shall adopt permanent rules as recommended by the North Carolina
Industrial Hemp Commission.
SECTION 4. Section 2
of this act becomes effective on the first day of the month following the
adoption of permanent rules pursuant to Section 3 of this act and applies to
acts involving the production, possession, or use of industrial hemp occurring on
or after that date. The remainder of this act is effective when it becomes law.
This act shall expire on June 30 of the fiscal year in which the North Carolina
Industrial Hemp Commission adopts and submits to the Governor and to the
Revisor of Statutes a resolution that a State pilot program allowing farmers to
lawfully grow industrial hemp is no longer necessary because (i) the United
States Congress has enacted legislation that removes industrial hemp from the federal
Controlled Substances Act and (ii) the legislation has taken effect.
In the General Assembly read three
times and ratified this the 29th day of September, 2015.
Philip E. Berger
of the Senate
of the House of Representatives
This bill having been presented to
the Governor for signature on the 30th day of September, 2015 and
the Governor having failed to approve it within the time prescribed by law, the
same is hereby declared to have become a law. This 31st day of