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Hemp production now a possibility for Idaho farmers and businesses

Courtesy of U.S. Department of Agriculture

Idaho has lagged behind neighboring states when it comes to legalizing the use of cannabis. But now the Gem State has approved incenses for producers to grow hemp for various uses.It’s been nearly three years since the federal government granted states the power to draw up their own plans to regulate hemp production. Idaho lawmakers a bill clearing the way for hemp research and development earlier this year.

Now, Idaho Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Chanel Tewalt says applications for two types of hemp licenses are being accepted online.

“Either producers, so farmers under the 2018 farm bill standard, or handlers, so those are folks in the processing realm, so anyone who would process hemp biomass, into insulation, CBD, grain, those sorts of things. So two types of licenses, both under our hemp program,” she said.
There is no limit on the number of producers or amount of acreage that can be applied for, but Tewalt says there will be inspections to make sure the cannabis grown fits the definition of hemp, rather than marijuana, which is still illegal in Idaho and under federal law.

“We are very specific about THC, it has to be point-3 or under, if it is over point -3 , we have a set protocol, for how farmers can deal with that, it's online, they can choose to either dispose of that crop or remediate it, and there is a process where they can remediate hemp,” she said.

Tewalt says her office has fielded many inquiries since the online license application went up last week.  More information is at the Idaho Department of Agriculture website.


Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.