In 2002, the West Virginia Legislature approved Senate Bill 447, recognizing industrial hemp having no more than one percent THC as an "agricultural crop." This legislation also established licensing procedures to allow local farmers to "plant, grow, harvest, possess, process [and] sell" hemp commercially. However, the Act was largely inactive until Congress passed a federal farm bill in 2014 giving states the go ahead to officially begin programs for industrial hemp. The recent passage of the 2018 federal farm bill, and corresponding update of West Virginia’s Industrial Hemp Development Act, has opened the potential for this relatively new agricultural market even further.
The rapidly expanding industry of industrial hemp remains a highly regulated venture featuring a multitude of complex and evolving local, state and federal laws. Most states allow for the cultivation of hemp, including the state of West Virginia, which has enacted legislation making it possible for individuals and businesses to participate as a grower, harvester, processor and/or distributor. While this presents great opportunity for the Mountain State, strict requirements and regulations apply.
Bowles Rice counsels individuals and businesses who are interested in exploring or growing a business in the industrial hemp industry. As a full-service firm offering capabilities in a wide variety of practice areas, Bowles Rice also has vast experience advising clients in similarly regulated products and industries, such as medical cannabis; alcohol, hospitality and gaming; banking and finance; health care; and energy. The totality of our work makes us uniquely qualified to assist those seeking to navigate these evolving areas of state and federal law. Specifically, our attorneys can assist with the following:
- Regulatory and Compliance Issues
- Permits, Licensing, Sales, Storage and Record Keeping
- Business and Corporate
- Business Planning and Entity Formation
- Commercial agreements
- Business disputes and litigation
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Shareholder agreements
- Banking & Financial Services
- Purchase / sale of business
- Venture capital and financing arrangements
- Federal banking regulations
- Debtor/creditors’ rights
- Labor and Employment Issues
- Health Care Regulations
- Real Estate, Land Use and Zoning Issues
- Tax Issues
- Surcharges and taxes associated with state laws
- Contract Preparation
- Licensure Applications
- Intellectual Property
- Government Relations
Bowles Rice attorneys are well positioned to help clients interpret and accordingly comply with the laws in this heavily regulated product environment.
DISCLAIMER: Marijuana is an illegal Class I drug pursuant to United States federal law. As legal counsel, Bowles Rice may counsel or assist clients regarding conduct expressly permitted under West Virginia Senate Bill 386. However, all activities related to marijuana are currently illegal under the federal laws of the United States and nothing contained on this website is intended to assist in any way with violation of applicable federal or state law.
Presentations & Events
- Presentation: In the Weeds – An Overview of Medical Cannabis and Hemp in West Virginia by Floyd McKinley SayreWest Virginia Society of Certified Public AccountantsWebinar, June 17, 2020
- Presentation: Peace, Love and Understanding Medical Cannabis and Hemp by Floyd McKinley SayreWest Virginia Economic Development Council | 2019 Fall ConferenceMorgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place, Morgantown, West Virginia, September 25, 2019
Views & Visions
- State of Affairs, May 14, 2019