Senate Bill No. 447
(By Senators Facemyer and Bailey)
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;
reported February 26, 2002.]
A BILL to amend chapter nineteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twelve-e, relating
to legalizing the growing of industrial hemp generally;
licensing; federal requirements; and defenses.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter nineteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twelve-e, to read as
ARTICLE 12E. INDUSTRIAL HEMP DEVELOPMENT ACT.
§19-12E-1. Short title.
This article is known as the "Industrial Hemp Development
The Legislature finds that the development and use of
industrial hemp can serve to improve the state's economy and
agricultural vitality and that the production of industrial hemp
can be regulated so as not to interfere with the strict regulation
of controlled substances in this state. The purpose of the
industrial hemp development act is to promote the economy and
agriculture by permitting the development of a regulated industrial
hemp industry while maintaining strict control of marijuana.
As used in this article:
(1) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of agriculture;
(2) "Industrial hemp" means all parts and varieties of the
plant cannabis sativa L. containing no greater than one percent
(3) "Marijuana" means all plant material from the genus
cannabis containing more than one percent tetrahydrocannabinol or
seeds of the genus capable of germination.
§19-12E-4. Industrial hemp authorized as agricultural crop.
Industrial hemp that has not more than one percent
tetrahydrocannabinol is considered an agricultural crop in this
state if grown for the purposes authorized by the provisions of
this article. Upon meeting the requirements of section three of
this article, an individual in this state may plant, grow, harvest
possess, process, sell or buy industrial hemp.
§19-12E-5. Industrial hemp - licensing.
(a) A person growing industrial hemp for commercial purposes
shall apply to the commissioner for license on a form prescribed by
(b) The application for a license must include the name and
address of the applicant and the legal description of the land area
to be used for the production of industrial hemp.
(c) The commissioner shall require each first-time applicant
for a license to file a set of the applicant's fingerprints, taken
by a law-enforcement officer, and any other information necessary
to complete a statewide and nationwide criminal history check with
the criminal investigation bureau of the department of justice for
state processing and with the federal bureau of investigation for
federal processing. All of the costs associated with the criminal
history check are the responsibility of the applicant. Criminal
history records provided to the department under this section are
confidential. The commissioner may use the records only to
determine if an applicant is eligible to receive a license for the
production of industrial hemp.
(d) Prior to issuing a license under the provisions of this
article, the commissioner shall determine that the applicant has
complied with all applicable requirements of the United States
department of justice, drug enforcement administration for the
production, distribution and sale of industrial hemp.
(e) If the applicant has completed the application process to the satisfaction of the commissioner, the commissioner shall issue
the license which is valid until the thirty-first day of December
of the year of application. An individual licensed under this
section is presumed to be growing industrial hemp for commercial
§19-12E-6. Industrial hemp production - notification.
(a) Every licensee shall file with the commissioner:
(1) Documentation showing that the seeds planted are of a type
and variety certified to contain no more than one percent
(2) A copy of any contract to grow industrial hemp.
(b) Each licensee shall notify the commissioner of the sale or
distribution of any industrial hemp grown by the licensee,
including, but not limited to, the name and address of the person
or entity receiving the industrial hemp and the amount of
industrial hemp sold.
§19-12E-7. Rule-making authority.
The commissioner shall promulgate legislative rules that
include, but are not limited to:
(1) Testing of the industrial hemp during growth to determine
(2) Supervision of the industrial hemp during its growth and
(3) Assessment of a fee that is commensurate with the costs of
the commissioner's activities in licensing, testing and supervising
industrial hemp production;
(4) Promulgate rules relating to the production and sale of
industrial hemp which are consistent with the rules of the United
States department of justice, drug enforcement administration for
the production, distribution and sale of industrial hemp; and
(5) Any other rules and procedures necessary to carry out the
purposes of this article.
§19-12E-8. Disposition of fees.
All fees assessed as provided for in section five of this
article must be deposited with the state treasurer to the credit of
the "Agricultural Fee Fund" established by the provisions of
section four-c, article one of this chapter for the use of the
commissioner for administering and enforcing the provisions of this
§19-12E-9. Defense for possession or cultivation of marijuana.
(a) It is a complete defense to a prosecution for the
possession or cultivation of marijuana pursuant to the provisions
of article four, chapter sixty-a of this code that:
(1) The defendant was growing industrial hemp pursuant to the
provisions of this article;
(2) The defendant has a valid applicable controlled substances
registration from the United States department of justice, drug
enforcement administration; and
(3) The defendant fully complied with all of the conditions of
the controlled substances registration.
(b) This section is not a defense to a charge of criminal sale
or distribution of marijuana as defined in chapter sixty-a of this code which does not meet the definition of industrial hemp.