Washington state halts issuing of hemp licenses, citing budget shortfall

 Washington has stopped issuing hemp licenses because the program is too expensive, the latest hurdle for a state that led the nation in marijuana adoption but has lagged on hemp.

The Washington Department of Agriculture won’t issue hemp licenses for 2018 unless state lawmakers devote $313,000 to the program, according to Capital Press, which covers agriculture for six Western states.

That’s the price tag the state said it needs to oversee hemp growers and test crops for THC content.

“Without the funding, it’s not a sustainable program,” agency spokesman Hector Castro said.

Washington state’s hemp struggles aren’t new. The state didn’t allow hemp production until this year and has just seven licensed growers. By comparison, neighboring Oregon has 233 hemp growers this year.

Washington does not allow hemp to used for cannabidiol extraction, the most valuable use of the plant. And the state charges hefty application and licensing fees, $750 a year plus an additional $200 or more for testing for large grows.

A post on the Washington state website last month alerted hemp growers that while they can apply for 2018, they shouldn’t expect to get a license:

“We will continue to accept new applications to the program for now. However, due to this unsustainable budgetary shortfall, we will not process these applications or collect application fees.”

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3 comments on “Washington state halts issuing of hemp licenses, citing budget shortfall
  1. Mark on

    Guess lawmakers dont want cbd from hemp to canabalize their mj market. Too bad. 313k is nothing in comparison to the industry it can create to help farmers and the poeple of washington
    How about privatizing it? You gonna let some private company come in and expect a share of all the tax revenue?
    Wake up and get the money needed legislated; and, start making growing hemp and do your citizens a favor.

    • Rick Fague on

      I couldn’t agree more, the best way to get the funding is to jump start the industry. The revenue from CBD production alone could fund the entire program.

      But this is Washington we’re talking about, where the state almost bankrupted the liquor industry and then decided to let the same people who did that run the liquor and cannabis board.

      Just a hint, Washington, you have to spend money to make money.

  2. Bonny Jo Peterson on

    Washington State is slow rolling industrial hemp up the hill. The State Legislature and Governor are in support of the WSDA Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program and the funding will come even if it is not included in this Budget Request. The WSDA rather than than the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board oversee the program.

    The $300,000 requested in the WSDA 2018 Supplemental Budget Request covers the program for two years. The application fee is $450 not $750. CBD processing will follow when studies are completed but that will take some time to do right.


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