If you’re considering a marijuana grow operation, you should know production of marijuana remains illegal in the state of Indiana. However, certain officials are hoping to introduce legislation to decriminalize small amounts of the drug, particularly possession of cannabis for medical use.
Three bills have recently been introduced in the Indiana legislature on this issue. One aims to decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of cannabis while another calls for the formation of a cannabis compliance commission, (i.e. testing for CBD ingredients). The third proposed law would undo an error in a piece of legislation from 2018 that rendered smokable hemp illicit in Indiana.
Here are some things to consider when launching a marijuana grow operation in Indiana.
2018 Farm Bill Regulations
The 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and President Trump to update standards and regulations on agriculture, conservation and nutrition.
As it relates to Indiana, this bill dictates that anyone growing unlicensed hemp is considered a marijuana producer. Background checks, site recordings, fees and testing are all set to be carried out. Hemp is required to test below 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The state is expecting commercial hemp production to begin in 2020.
Once the Department of Agriculture Secretary receives a letter to recognize this initiative under federal law, the USDA provides an answer within 60 days as to whether this program adheres to the Farm Bill’s latest regulations.
Narrow Down Your Business Plan
As with any commercial operation, the more detailed the business plan, the better your chance at success is. This entails securing a contract and pinpointing all processors and processes necessary for your different brand varieties.
Which of the three species of hemp plants do you wish to grow? Cannabis sativa L., for instance, usually has a THC content of under 0.3%. Meanwhile, Cannabis indica is characterized by low fibre quality and is much shorter than Cannabis sativa L. Finally, Cannabis ruderalis produces flowers based on its age instead of the natural light cycle (aka the photoperiod), a process known as “auto-flowering.” Whichever species you intend to grow, make sure to order your seeds ahead of time and you will be ready to go.
Stay Updated On Farm Bill And SB 516 Timelines
Governor Holcomb signed SB 516 on May 2, 2019 as another way to regulate hemp production in Indiana. The law outlines the process for obtaining a license, seed labeling, and defines terms like “handler,” “grower” and “agricultural hemp seed.” It also forms a Hemp Advisory Committee to help establish these “Administrative Rules.”
According to the Indiana General Assembly, this committee is expected to dissolve on July 1, 2021. It also states that a maximum penalty of $2,500 can be assessed for a violation.
Understand Cross-State Dealings
Under the latest version of the Farm Bill, regulations will be similar in each state but not identical. The same basic concept associated with laws regarding traffic, alcohol sales and other agricultural rules applies here.
In Indiana, a minimum requirement for acreage or square footage is expected to be established for those seeking a hemp license. Three types of licenses are believed to be available for marijuana growers to apply for: Handler, Grower and Research. The last of these three will likely disappear a year after the USDA approves SB 516’s rules, so only the former two will exist in Indiana.
Should a licensee bring you on as an employee of his/her operation, you do not need your own license — unless you are sharing a portion of the profits.
Growing And Transportation
Hemp producers in Indiana are permitted to transport crops from their farm to a processor across state lines as long as the crop is “fully commercial” and is being moved from one research-licensed entity to another. Growers should also have at the ready their Certificate of Analysis (COA) demonstrating total THC is under 0.3%, as well as a reason for use and destination. Residential growing is strictly prohibited, even for those with severe medical conditions.
Protect Yourself With MFE
Speak to the experienced professionals at MFE Insurance for more information about the benefits of cannabis insurance for your marijuana grow operation. MFE is an Independent Insurance Agency with offices in Los Angeles, Detroit and New York that is dedicated to helping clients receive the most competitive prices possible by quoting and placing insurance through numerous carriers. MFE services both small dispensaries and full-service grow operations and offers general liability insurance, commercial automobile insurance, excess liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. Call MFE today at 213-266-7990 or contact them online to receive a quote or to learn more about their products.