Dr. Robert D. Waltz is the Indiana Seed Commissioner. He has just become the most important person in Indiana, when it comes to industrial Hemp.
Senate Bill 357, now officially known as Senate Enrolled Act 357, or IC 15-15-13 Industrial Hemp, has gone through the gauntlet of Indiana government to become law. Governor Mike Pence is expected to sign it, though it would become law even if he doesn’t.
The bill would allow, pending federal approval, Hoosier farmers to grow industrial Hemp, you know, the kind of Cannabis that doesn’t get you high, but will create thousands of jobs, whole new industries, a most profitable crop for Hoosier farmers and a life saver for our environment.
It’s going to be awhile before we can actually put a crop in the ground. The federal government must approve Indiana’s plan. Under the recently passed federal Farm Bill, Public Law 113-79, permits the 10 states in which Hemp was legal to grow at the time of passage, to grow Hemp without federal interference. Since Indiana had not yet passed Hemp into law, it will be up to Dr. Waltz to square things up with the feds.
Assuming that happens, and there is no reason to doubt that it will, there are some hoops for potential Hemp farmers to jump through. You have to file an application with the Seed Commissioner’s office. This application must contain a statement, under the penalty of perjury, that the applicant has not had a drug felony or misdemeanor conviction within the last 10 years. You must file a written consent allowing the Indiana State Police to conduct a state or federal criminal history background check. You must also file a written consent allowing the State Police to enter the premises where you are growing and allow them to inspect the growing of the crop to ensure that your Hemp is not Marijuana and it has less than .3% THC. The State Police are not permitted to do this more than twice a year unless a valid search warrant is issued by a court with jurisdiction. You must also file a nonrefundable application fee necessary to cover the costs of the background checks. That cost is to be determined by the Indiana Seed Commissioner.
Your license to grow Hemp is valid for one year, and is non-transferable. You also have to file a legal description of the property the Hemp is to be grown on, and provide the global positioning coordinates of the property.
Any further requirements or regulations will be determined by the Seed Commissioner, including how much acreage may be planted. No word yet as to when those rules may be set.
The process is in play. Indiana becomes the 11th state to understand that Hemp is good for its people. You can read the actual text of the law at http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2014/bills/senate/357/#