ASSEMBLY SUBSTITUTE FOR

ASSEMBLY, Nos. 2719 and 2919

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

  ADOPTED DECEMBER 17, 2015

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  REED GUSCIORA

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman Caride

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Allows industrial hemp farming; establishes industrial hemp license.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Substitute as adopted by the General Assembly.

  

 

 


An Act concerning industrial hemp and supplementing Title 4 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    As used in this act:

     “Industrial hemp” means an agricultural product that is part of the plant of any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis, and that is permitted pursuant to this act to be planted, grown, harvested, possessed, processed, distributed, bought, or sold by a person licensed pursuant to section 3 of this act.

     “Marihuana" means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin, with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.  “Marihuana” shall not include the mature stalks of any Cannabis sativa L. plant, the fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, or any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, fiber, oil, or cake.  “Marihuana” shall also not include seed capable of germination or resin extracted from mature stalks, provided the Department of Agriculture and the Attorney General have determined that they are from a variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis,  and, in the case of seed, it would not germinate into a variety of Cannabis sativa L. plant with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

 

     2.    Notwithstanding any other law, or rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary, a person licensed pursuant to section 3 of this act may plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, distribute, buy, or sell industrial hemp in the State, provided the person also complies with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 4 of this act.

 

     3.    a.  A person seeking to plant, grow, harvest, possess, process, distribute, buy, or sell industrial hemp for commercial purposes shall apply to the Secretary of Agriculture for an industrial hemp license.  The application shall include the name and address of the applicant, and documentation and a legal description of the land to be used for the growing and production of industrial hemp, in a form and manner provided by the secretary, which may include a map, aerial photograph of the land area, or global positioning coordinates sufficient for locating the production fields.

     b.    A person submitting an application pursuant to subsection a. of this section, and any other person as may be required by the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 4 of this act, shall also submit, the first time such an application is made, a set of the applicant’s fingerprints to be taken by a law enforcement officer in the manner prescribed by the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 6 of this act, and any other information necessary to complete a nationwide and Statewide criminal history and background check by the Department of Law and Public Safety or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  All costs associated with this criminal history and background check shall be the responsibility of the applicant and shall be paid at the time that the fingerprints are taken by the law enforcement officer.  The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to employees of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station or the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers, The State University. 

     c.     The criminal history, background check, and other information collected pursuant to subsections a. and b. of this section shall be confidential, and may only be used in determining an applicant’s eligibility for an industrial hemp license.  No person with a prior criminal conviction shall be eligible for an industrial hemp license.

     d.    Prior to approving or disapproving a first-time applicant, the Secretary of Agriculture shall forward the submitted application and the documentation and other information obtained pursuant to subsections a. and b. of this section to the Department of Law and Public Safety and request a determination from that department concerning the applicant’s eligibility for the industrial hemp license in terms of law and public safety considerations.  Subsequent applications from the same applicant shall be reviewed by the Secretary of Agriculture for approval or disapproval, and copies of approved applications shall be forwarded to the Department of Law and Public Safety.  Upon review of the application, documentation, and other information submitted pursuant to subsections a. and b. of this section, the Secretary of Agriculture shall approve or disapprove issuing the applicant an industrial hemp license as soon as practicable after the application is deemed complete. Records of all applications shall be maintained by the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Law and Public Safety.

     e.     Upon approving an application for an industrial hemp license, the Secretary of Agriculture shall notify the Attorney General and the applicant of the approval.  The Secretary of Agriculture shall request payment from the applicant of the license fee established pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection a. of section 4 of this act, and upon receipt thereof, shall issue to the applicant an industrial hemp license.

     f.     An approved industrial hemp license shall be valid only for the site or sites specified in the license and for the period of one year from the date of issuance, unless adjusted by the Department of Agriculture to allow for the normal growing season and reasonable harvesting, processing, and sale or distribution time.  The license may be renewed as provided by the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to subsection a. of section 4 of this act.

     g.    The Secretary of Agriculture, at the secretary’s discretion, or upon request of the Attorney General, may, after notice and a hearing, suspend or revoke, or deny renewal of, an industrial hemp license at any time that it is discovered that the licensed industrial hemp producer violated this act or the rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, or has submitted false information or documentation pursuant to this section.  The secretary may require an industrial hemp licensee to stop any or all activities authorized by the license pending the hearing required pursuant to this subsection and subsection h. of this section and a determination on the asserted violation. 

     h.    An applicant who is denied a license or a license renewal, or whose license is to be suspended or revoked pursuant to this section, shall have the right to an administrative hearing and decision, and the matter shall be treated as a contested case under the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.). 

 

     4.    a.  The Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Attorney General,  shall adopt, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations providing for the administrative and enforcement responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture pursuant to this act, including, but not necessarily limited to:

     (1)   establishment of approved varieties of industrial hemp and methods to distinguish it from any type of marihuana;

     (2)   protocols for testing plant parts during growth for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol;

     (3)   guidelines for monitoring the growth and harvest of industrial hemp;

     (4)   other application requirements, licensing fees, licensing renewal procedures, and provisions for adjusting the licensing term dates pursuant to subsection f. of section 3 of this act;

     (5)   penalties necessary for the administration and enforcement of this act; and

     (6)   any other issues necessary to implement this act.

     b.    The Secretary of Agriculture may defer rulemaking to the Attorney General on any of the issues enumerated in subsection a. of this section if the Secretary of Agriculture and the Attorney General determine, in the interest of public safety, that the issue is better addressed by the Department of Law and Public Safety than by the Department of Agriculture.

     c.     When developing and adopting rules and regulations pursuant to this section, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Attorney General shall work together and in cooperation with federal authorities to ensure that:

     (1)   no marihuana with value as a controlled substance and regulated under the federal “Controlled Substances Act,” 21 U.S.C. s.802 (16), or for use as medical marihuana in the State, is planted, grown, harvested, possessed, processed, distributed, bought, or sold pursuant to this act; and

     (2)   the Drug Enforcement Administration in the United States Department of Justice may enforce the laws of the United States insofar as they restrict the planting, growth, harvesting, possession, processing, distribution, purchase, and sale of plants, seeds, and related byproducts with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.

 

     5.    a.   Annually, at the time specified in the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 4 of this act, each person planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp shall:

     (1)   file with the Secretary of Agriculture documentation indicating that the industrial hemp is an approved type and variety of hemp pursuant to the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 4 of this act, and any required documentation confirming the hemp has a concentration of no more than 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol by dry weight; and

     (2)   notify the Secretary of Agriculture and the Attorney General of all sales or distributions of industrial hemp and the name and address of each person to whom the industrial hemp was sold or distributed during the calendar year.

     b.    Any person violating this act shall be subject to the penalties established pursuant to section 4 of this act and pursuant to other applicable State and federal laws.

 

     6.    The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall adopt, pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations providing for the taking of fingerprints, other procedures for collection of information and documentation required pursuant to subsection b. of section 3 of this act, and any other matters necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

     7.    This act shall take effect immediately.

STATEMENT

 

     This floor substitute establishes an industrial hemp license for planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp in the State.  The substitute also requires any licensee to comply with the Department of Agriculture and Attorney General’s rules and regulations adopted pursuant to section 4 of the substitute.

     The substitute also establishes procedures and requirements for persons applying to the Secretary of Agriculture for a license, including procedures and requirements for fingerprinting and criminal background checks for license applicants.

     The substitute defines industrial hemp as an agricultural product that is any variety of Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of 0.3% or less on a dry weight basis.  As an agricultural product, the production of industrial hemp would be subject to the protections of the “Right to Farm Act.” Also, the land used for its production could be eligible for valuation and taxation pursuant to the “Farmland Assessment Act of 1964.”

     The substitute also requires any person planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, distributing, buying, or selling industrial hemp to:

     1)    file with the Secretary of Agriculture documentation indicating that the industrial hemp is a type and variety of hemp approved by the secretary as having a concentration of no more than 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol by dry weight; and

     2)    notify the Secretary of Agriculture and the Attorney General of any sale or distribution of industrial hemp by the person and the name and address of each person to whom the industrial hemp was sold or distributed during the calendar year.

     Finally, the bill authorizes penalties for violating the bill’s provisions, to be established in regulations.