As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
“Agricultural pilot program” means a pilot program to study the growth, cultivation or marketing of industrial hemp, as defined in the federal Agricultural Act of 2014, P.L. No. 113-79, section 7606(b)(1).
"Certified seed" means industrial hemp seed, including heritage cannabis seed, that has been certified by an organization recognized by the department as having no more than a three-tenths of one percent of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration on a dry-weight basis.
"Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agricultural Resources.
"Committee" means the industrial hemp committee established in section
“Cultivation" includes planting, propagating, cultivating, growing and harvesting;
"Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinols" has the same meaning as "tetrahydrocannabinols" as set forth in section
"Department" means the Department of Agricultural Resouces.
"Industrial hemp" means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent on a dry weight basis.
"Labor Peace Agreement" means an agreement between an entity and a labor organization that, at a minimum, protects the state’s proprietary interests by prohibiting labor organizations and members from engaging in picketing, work stoppages, boycotts and any other economic interference with the licensed organization’s business.
"Licensed producer" or "producer" means a person licensed to cultivate industrial hemp pursuant to section of this act;
"Licensed processor" or "processor" means a person licensed to process industrial hemp pursuant to section of this act;
“Bona Fide Labor Organization” means a labor organization that represents or is actively seeking to represent workers in the industrial hemp industry.
Industrial hemp - permitted growth and processing by licensed persons
(1)Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person who holds a license issued pursuant to section may:
()aCultivate industrial hemp; or
()bProcess industrial hemp.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person licensed pursuant to section is not subject to any civil or criminal actions for engaging in the activities described in subsection (1) of this section if the person is acting in compliance with this article.
Industrial hemp committee - appointments - duties - coordination with Departments of Agricultural Resources, Consumer Protection
(1)(a) The industrial hemp committee is hereby established. The commissioners of Agriculture and Consumer Protection shall jointly appoint ten members to the industrial hemp committee as follows:
(..b.i)One member with experience in industrial hemp regulation;
(..b.ii)One member who is a farmer from a cooperative;
(..b.iii)One member who is a commercial farmer;
(..b.iv)One member with experience in seed development and genetics;
(..b.v)One member representing the hemp manufacturing industry;
(..b.vi)One member representing small hemp businesses;
(..b.vii)One member who is a representative of the attorney general's office;
(..b.viii)One member who is a citizen advocate for industrial hemp;
(..b.ix)One member who is a representative from a research institution of higher education; and
(..b.x)One member who is a representative from a bona fide labor organization.
(a)The term of office of members of the committee is three years; except that the members appointed pursuant to subparagraphs (I), (V), (VI), and (VIII) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) shall serve initial two-year terms to ensure staggered terms of office.
()cEach committee member holds office until his or her term of office expires or until a successor is duly appointed. If a vacancy occurs on the board, the appointing authorities shall appoint a new member meeting the qualifications of the member vacating the position to serve the remainder of the unexpired term of the member.
()dMembers of the committee shall serve without compensation but are entitled to reimbursement for actual and necessary travel and subsistence expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties as members of the committee.
The committee shall work with the department to establish an industrial hemp licensing program and a seed certification program pursuant to section , under which a person may obtain authorization to:
(a)Cultivate, process or market industrial hemp as part of an agricultural pilot program;
()eCultivate, process or market industrial hemp for commercial purposes.
The committee shall assist the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection in determining the qualifications and other criteria a person must satisfy to qualify for a license under this article. The committee shall assist the Department of Agriculture in the development of a seed certification program.
The committee shall meet at least once a year.
Licensing – rules – application requirements for producers and processors – commercial use and agricultural pilot program
(1)The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with chapter 54 of the general statutes, to provide for the licensure and standards for industrial hemp businesses in this state. On and after the effective date of such regulations, the commissioner may license any person who applies for a license in accordance with such regulations. At a minimum, such regulations shall:
(a)Provide that no raw industrial hemp may be sold, delivered, transported or transferred to a location outside of this state;
()fEstablish a licensing fee and renewal fee for each licensed producer or processor, provided such fees shall not be less than the amount necessary to cover the direct and indirect cost of licensing and regulating producers and processors;
()gProvide for renewal of such licenses;
()hDescribe areas in this state where licensed producers or processors may not be located, after considering the criteria for the location of retail liquor permit premises set forth in subsection (a) of section 30¬46 of the general statutes;
()iEstablish health, safety and security requirements for licensees, which may include, but need not be limited to: (i) The ability to maintain adequate control against the diversion, theft and loss of industrial hemp acquired or possessed by the licensee, and (ii) the ability to maintain the knowledge, understanding, judgment, procedures, security controls and ethics to ensure optimal safety and accuracy in the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp;
()jEstablish standards and procedures for revocation, suspension, summary suspension and nonrenewal of licenses, provided such standards and procedures are consistent with the provisions of subsection (c) of section 4¬182 of the general statutes; and
()kEstablish other licensing, renewal and operational standards deemed necessary by the commissioner.
A person wishing to cultivate industrial hemp for commercial purposes as part of an agricultural pilot program shall apply to the department for a license in a form and manner determined by the commissioner, in consultation with the committee, prior to planting, processing or selling the industrial hemp for commercial or research and development purposes. Application for a license pursuant to this section is a matter of statewide concern.
Applicants wishing to cultivate, process or market industrial hemp as part of an agricultural pilot program must provide, at a minimum, all of the following items:
(a)The name and address of the applicant;
()lThe legal description, global positioning system location, and map of the land area on which the applicant plans to engage in industrial hemp cultivation or research and development growth operations.
()mThe applicant shall also submit to the department the fee required by section .
Applicants wishing to cultivate, process or market industrial hemp for commercial purposes must provide, at a minimum, all of the following items:
(a)A business plan;
()nAn organization chart of the company that includes:
()oNames, business contact information and professional biographies for all intended senior staff, directors and advisors;
()pName, business contact information and professional biographies for all Board of Directors with a majority of the members being legal residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Not applicable if there is no Board of Directors;
()qA signed labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization that is actively engaged in representing or attempting to represent the applicant’s employees. Maintaining such labor peace agreement shall be an ongoing material condition of licensing;
()rA social responsibility plan, any plans to provide a safe, healthy and economically beneficial working environment for its employees, including, but not limited to, codes of conduct, safety training, healthcare benefits, educational benefits, retirement benefits, and living wage standards;
()sAn environmental and sustainability plan, including efforts it will take to minimize the carbon footprint, environmental impact and resource needs of its facilities and other business operations, such as plans to use renewable energy sources and other sustainable business practices.
Applicants wishing to process industrial hemp for commercial purposes must provide the following items in addition to those required in subsection (4) of this section:
(a)A detailed health and safety plan addressing the particular hazards of the processing operation; and
()tProof of Certification by the Massachusetts Food Protection Program for any products that may be ingested or otherwise intended for human consumption.
If a person applies for a license in accordance with this section and the commissioner determines that the person has satisfied the requirements for a license pursuant to this article, the commissioner shall issue a license to the person.
A license issued pursuant to this section is valid for one year. In order to continue engaging in industrial hemp cultivation, processing or marketing operations in this state, the registrant must annually apply for a license in accordance with this section.
If the licensee wishes to alter the land area on which the registrant will conduct industrial hemp cultivation, processing or marketing operations, before altering the area, the registrant shall submit to the department an updated legal description, global positioning system location, and map specifying the proposed alterations.
The commissioner shall, in coordination with the Department of Consumer Protection, adopt rules by December 1, 2015, and as necessary thereafter to implement the licensing program and to implement and administer this article.
Should an applicant be awarded a license from the Department, any commitments in the application shall become conditions of the license. If a violation of a condition occurs, it may be deemed a material breach and the Department may assess a penalty or seek suspension or revocation of the license.
No person may act as a producer or processor or represent that such person is a licensed producer or processor unless such person has obtained a license from the Commissioner pursuant to this section.
A person or business that operates without a license is guilty of a violation.
Employment – no penalty for licensed possession
(1)Producers or employees of the producer acting within the scope of his or her employment may only sell raw harvested industrial hemp to licensed processors under this act.
No licensed producer or employee of the producer acting within the scope of his or her employment shall be subject to arrest or prosecution, penalized in any manner, including, but not limited to, being subject to any civil penalty, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, being subject to any disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, for cultivating industrial hemp or selling, delivering, transporting or distributing industrial hemp to licensed producers or processors under sections of this act.
No licensed processor or employee of the processor acting within the scope of his or her employment shall be subject to arrest or prosecution, penalized in any manner, including, but not limited to, being subject to any civil penalty, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, being subject to any disciplinary action by a professional licensing board, for processing industrial hemp or selling, delivering, transporting or distributing industrial hemp to licensed producers or processors under sections of this act.
Research - fees
(1)(a) The department shall administer an industrial hemp grant research program so that state institutions of higher education may conduct research to develop or recreate strains of industrial hemp best suited for industrial applications. The purpose of the research may include growing industrial hemp to provide breeding strains to aid Massachusett’s industrial hemp program and to create Massachusetts strains of industrial hemp.
(a)An institution of higher education that conducts industrial hemp seed research may accept seed varieties that are approved by the committee or the department. The institution of higher education may work with private hemp developers and other stakeholders to develop a [State] heritage seed.
In addition to the fees collected pursuant to section , the commissioner may collect an additional fee, established by the committee, from each registrant for the purpose of funding industrial hemp research and certification programs, including by making grants to institutions of higher education as specified in subsection (1) of this section. The fees collected shall be deposited in the industrial hemp licensing program cash fund created in section . The department may solicit, apply for, and accept moneys from other sources for the grant program.
Report of growth and sales activities - verification of crop content - testing - waiver of concentration limits - rules
(1)At least annually and more often as required by the commissioner, a person who obtains a license under this article to engage in industrial hemp cultivation for commercial purposes shall file with the department a report that includes the following information:
(a)Prior to planting, a verification that the crop the registrant will plant is of a type and variety of hemp that will produce a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of no more than three-tenths of one percent on a dry weight basis;
()uDocumentation demonstrating that the registrant has entered into a purchase agreement with an in-state industrial hemp processor; and
()vAny other information required by the commissioner by rule.
The commissioner, in consultation with the committee, shall adopt rules to establish an inspection program to determine delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol levels and ensure compliance with the limits on delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration. The rules shall also establish a process by which a registrant may apply to the commissioner for a waiver from the delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration limits under circumstances specified in the rules.
Violations - penalties
(1)The commissioner may deny, revoke, or suspend a license if the applicant or registrant:
(a)Violates any provision of this article or rules adopted pursuant to this article;
()wEngages in fraud or deception in the procurement of or attempt to procure a license under this article or provides false information on a license application; or
()xFails to comply with any lawful order of the commissioner.
The commissioner may impose a civil penalty, not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars per violation, on any person who violates this article or any rule adopted under this article.
The commissioner shall not impose a penalty against a person alleged to have violated this article or a rule adopted under this article until the commissioner has notified the person of the charge and has given the person an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to Uniform Administrative Procedure Act, Chapter 54 of the Connecticut General Statutes.
If the commissioner is unable to collect a civil penalty or if a person fails to pay all or a portion of a civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section, the commissioner may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover the civil penalty plus attorney fees and costs.
The commissioner shall neither revoke nor suspend an institution of higher education's license or a research-and-development registrant's license when a sample of the registrant's industrial hemp tests higher than the limits established by rule of the commissioner if the crop is destroyed or utilized in a manner approved of and verified by the commissioner.
Export of industrial hemp - processing, sale, and distribution
(1)Nothing in this article limits or precludes the export of industrial hemp in accordance with the federal "Controlled Substances Act", as amended, 21 U.S.C. sec. 801 et seq., federal regulations adopted under the act, and case law interpreting the act.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person engaged in processing, selling, or otherwise distributing industrial hemp cultivated by a person registered under this article, or selling or lawfully possessing industrial hemp products produced therefrom, is not subject to any civil or criminal actions under Massachusetts law for engaging in such activities.
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