Rose Law Group Attorney, Omar Abdallah, who has been handling hemp-related issues, answers questions about this potentially big new business.
What was the most contentious discussion point during the public hearings relating to the rules?
The most contentious discussion point during the rulemaking process was by far the licensing fees. Since this will be the first year of the hemp program, there are a lot of unknowns for the Department. The Department repeatedly expressed the importance of license fees being high enough to sustain the cost of maintaining the hemp program going forward, covering the cost of staff and vehicles to conduct plant inspections for example.
At the same time, the committee members expressed the importance of farmers not being priced out due to high license fees. Many members of the public shared their concerns regarding high license fees. The challenge, however, was that no one knows for certain how many applications will be submitted this first year. There has clearly been a lot of interest in growing hemp, but how many will watch from the sidelines this first year?