Bill Summary for S 315 (2019-2020)

Summary date: 

Aug 20 2019

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2019-2020 Session
Senate Bill 315 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 20, 2019
AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES TO THE AGRICULTURAL LAWS OF THE STATE.
Intro. by B. Jackson, Sanderson, Johnson.

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Bill summary

House committee substitute to the 8th edition makes the following changes.

Changes the definitions of the terms hemp products and smokable hemp set forth in GS 106-568.51, applicable to Article 50E, NC Hemp Commission. Now defines hemp products to include oils, tinctures, vapor products, and smokable hemp (previously, explicitly excluded smokable hemp from the term). Also, defines hemp products to include food intended for animal or human consumption unless prohibited by the US FDA or the US Department of Agriculture (rather than as approved by those entities). Now defines smokable hemp to mean harvested raw or dried hemp plant material, including hemp buds or hemp flowers, hemp cigars, and hemp cigarettes (previously defined to mean a product that does not exceed the federally defined THC level for hemp in a form that allows THC to be introduced into the human body by inhalation of smoke, including hemp buds, hemp flowers, whole or ground raw hemp plant material, hemp cigars, and hemp cigarettes). No longer defines hemp extract

Increases the membership of the NC Hemp Commission set forth in GS 106-568.52 from nine to eleven members. Modifies current member qualifications to include one member (rather than two) appointed by the Governor who is a full-time or Emeritus faculty member of NC State University (was, of a State land grant university) who regularly works in agricultural science or research. Adds to the member qualifications: one member appointed by the Governor who is a full-time or Emeritus faculty member of NC A&T University who regularly works in agricultural science or research; one member appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, recommended by the Office for the Small and Minority Farm Program; and one member appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture who is a full-time farmer, recommended by NC A&T University. 

Makes a technical change to GS 106-568.53A, regarding licensure qualifications.

Amends proposed GS 106-568.58 to no longer explicitly provide that no license is required to possess, handle, transport, or sell hemp extracts. Maintains that no license is required to possess, handle, transport or sell hemp products, as the term is now defined under Article 50E. Changes the statute's title.

Modifies the proposed changes to GS 90-87 to enact definitions for the terms hemp, hemp product, and smokable hemp, applicable to the NC Controlled Substances Act, similar to those set forth in Article 50E of GS Chapter 106, as amended, with the following exceptions. Defines hemp and hemp product by setting a specific THC level, rather than referencing a federally defined THC level, for hemp. Additionally, defines hemp product to exclude smokable hemp. Amends the definition set forth for marijuana to now include smokable hemp and exclude hemp products (previously, excluded hemp, hemp products, hemp extracts and smokable hemp, when the hemp is produced and used in compliance with Article 5, the NC Controlled Substances Act, and rules adopted by the Hemp Commission). 

Amends the exception set forth for tetrahydrocannibinols in hemp, hemp products, hemp extracts, or smokable hemp from being included as a schedule VI controlled substance under GS 90-94, to now only except tetrahydrocannibinols in hemp or hemp products, as defined in Article 50E, GS Chapter 106.

Changes the effective date of the proposed changes to GS 90-87 and GS 90-94, and proposed GS 90-94.5, now making those provisions effective June 1, 2020 (was, effective on the later of either December 1, 2019, or 30 days after the effective date of specified federal regulations). Additionally, eliminates the proposed sunset of those provisions on July 1, 2021 (reinstated in the previous edition).

Effective June 1, 2020, further amends the definition of hemp product under Article 50E of GS Chapter 106 to exclude smokable hemp.

Eliminates the immunity provisions set forth in proposed GS 90-94.5, which set forth immunity for hemp licensees possessing, manufacturing, or delivering a commodity cultivated by the licensee that exceeds the federally defined THC level unless the violation is intentional. Instead, sets forth the following. Provides immunity from the specified controlled substance offenses for hemp licensees or other individuals authorized by another state or the US Department of Agriculture to possess, manufacture, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to do the same, hemp or smokable hemp so long as the sale or delivery is made to another hemp licensee or authorized person. Provides immunity for a hemp licensee to negligently possess, manufacture, sell or deliver, or possess with intent to do the same, a commodity cultivated by the licensee that exceeds the specified THC level. Provides for a penalty for negligent violation to be determined by the Hemp Commission. Changes the effective date of the immunity provisions, now providing that the provisions apply to violations or offenses committed on or after December 1, 2019 (was, effective on the later of either December 1, 2019, or 30 days after the effective date of specified federal regulations).

Effective December 1, 2019, enacts GS 106-568.57(d), making it a Class 2 misdemeanor to sell smokable hemp or vapor products that contain hemp to a person less than 18 years old (similar to a provision eliminated in the previous edition). Sunsets the provision on July 1, 2021. Effective May 1, 2020, amends GS 106-578.57(d), to no longer include the sale of smokable hemp in the misdemeanor offense.

Modifies the proposed tax provisions to no longer include hemp extracts in the definition of hemp set forth in GS 105-113.106.

Amends the proposed changes to Section 4 of SL 2015-199. Now provides that Section 2 of that act, which amends the definition of marijuana under the NC Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp, expires May 1, 2020, and the remainder of the act, which enacts Article 50E of GS Chapter 106, expires on the later of December 1, 2019, or 30 days after the effective date of specified federal regulations (previously, provided for the entire act to expire on the later of December 1, 2019, or 30 days after the effective date of specified federal regulations).

Makes the following modifications to new Article 50F, NC Hemp Program, of GS Chapter 106, effective July 1, 2021.

Amends the definition of handling under the new Article to include transportation of hemp plants from a licensee to a person authorized by another jurisdiction. Makes technical changes. Makes identical changes to the terms hemp product (which does not include smokable hemp) and smokable hemp as those made to Article 50E, as amended. Additionally, no longer defines hemp extract

Amends the civil penalties set forth under the new Article, effective July 1, 2021, to no longer permit the Commissioner to assess a civil penalty of up to $2,500 for knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, delivering, selling, or possessing smokable hemp, except for hemp plants or parts of a hemp plant grown or handled by a licensee for processing or manufacturing into a legal hemp product.

Modifies the criminal penalty provisions set forth under the new Article, effective July 1, 2021, to make it a Class 2 misdemeanor to sell vapor products that contain hemp to a person less than 18 years old (identical to the provisions of Article 50E, as amended, effective May 1, 2020). No longer makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, deliver, sell, or possess smokable hemp, except for hemp plants or parts of a hemp plant grown or handled by a licensee for processing or manufacturing into a legal hemp product.

Makes identical changes to proposed GS 106-568.68 as those made to proposed GS 106-568.58 concerning the transportation of hemp products.

Eliminates the proposed changes to GS 90-87 and GS 90-94, and proposed GS 90-94.5, effective July 1, 2021. Instead, amends GS 90-94.5, as enacted, to make conforming changes to Article 50F to refer to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Department) rather than the Hemp Commission. Makes further conforming changes.

Makes identical changes to the proposed tax provisions set forth in GS 105-113.106, effective July 1, 2021, to no longer include hemp extracts in the definition of hemp.

Amends the proposed definition of cannabinoid-related compounds set forth in GS 106-121 to exclude smokable hemp (previously, removed by the 8th edition). Sunsets the proposed definition on July 1, 2021, and enacts an identical definition, effective July 1, 2021, with a corrected statutory cross-reference for the definition of smokable hemp to new Article 50F. Makes conforming and technical changes.

Eliminates the proposed civil and criminal penalties of Article 50E in proposed GS 106-568.56(a)(5) and GS 106-568.57(d), as set forth in the 5th and 8th editions, which would have been effective December 1, 2020. No longer permits the Commissioner to assess a civil penalty of up to $2,500 for knowingly or intentionally manufacturing, delivering, selling, or possessing smokable hemp, except for hemp plants or parts of a hemp plant grown or handled by a licensee for processing or manufacturing into a legal hemp product. No longer makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to knowingly or intentionally manufacture, deliver, sell, or possess smokable hemp, except for hemp plants or parts of a hemp plant grown or handled by a licensee for processing or manufacturing into a legal hemp product.

Adds a new directive requiring the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and any other appropriate law enforcement agencies and district attorneys to study the feasibility and effectiveness of implementing a field test to distinguish between hemp and marijuana. Also requires the SBI to study conditions under which a field test that is not accurate to within a specified THC concentration by weight can be useful in establishing probable cause for a search. Directs the SBI to report to the AFAS Commission and the specified NCGA committee by January 1, 2020. Additionally, now requires the SBI to notify the AFAS Commission in writing when a field test with an analytical capability to distinguish between hemp and marijuana has been evaluated and approved by a national accreditation body (previously, when the US DEA has adopted an approved immediate testing method to determine whether hemp is within the federally defined THC level). Makes conforming changes.

Eliminates the directive reinstated by the 8th edition regarding the Environmental Management Commission's implementation of 15A NCAC 02D .1806 (Control and prohibition of odorous emissions), as the provisions appeared in the 5th edition, which required the EMC to classify facilities that store products grown, produced, or generated on one or more agricultural operations and are renewable resources under specified state law, as agricultural operations that are exempt from the identified rule's requirements. 

Modifies the proposed changes to GS 153A-340(b)(2a) to no longer explicitly include shooting in the definition of agritourism as it relates to a building or structure being used for a bona fide farm purpose. Instead, more specifically defines agritourism under the subdivision to include shooting sports in a county with a population of fewer than 110,000. No longer requires properties being used for shooting sports to comply with specified guidelines of the Wildlife Resource Commission. 

Reinstates the proposed changes to the sunset provision of the NC Food Innovation Lab Committee set forth in SL 2017-57, providing for a sunset of January 1, 2020, rather than January 1, 2025 (previously, eliminated by the 8th edition).

Eliminates the directive reinstated by the 8th edition which requires the Office of the State Auditor to audit all State funds ever paid to the Resources Institute for the Initiative through the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and Water Resources Development Grants for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program no later than June 1, 2020, and directing the Director and Board of Trustees of the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and DEQ to seek recoupment of any identified overpayment of State funds based on the audit’s findings.

Maintains the act's severability clause and effective date provisions. 

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