2019 Legislative Successes

Youth Hemp Smoking Prevention Act by Senator Steve Southerland (R-Morristown) and Representative Jay Reedy (R-Erin)

•        TN Public Chapter 303 of 2019 amended the Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco and Vapor Products to define and include smoking hemp, making it illegal for minors to purchase or possess smoking hemp products.

•        This is also a big win for Tennessee farmers! Hemp flower is good for the farmer because it’s a viable alternative crop to tobacco.

•        The market for smokable hemp flower is projected to grow to $70.6 million in 2019, up from $11.7 million in 2018.


2019 US Hemp/Farm Bill Companion by Senator Steve Southerland and (R-Morristown) and Representative Chris Todd (R-Jackson)

•        TN Public Chapter 87 of 2019 updates Tennessee law to comply with the 2018 Federal Farm Bill. This law deletes and replaces the 2014 hemp pilot program created by USDA since hemp is no longer is a controlled Schedule 1 drug.

•        As dictated by the legislation, The Tennessee Department of Agriculture under the direction of Commissioner Charlie Hatcher has submitted its application to USDA seeking primacy over our state’s hemp program.

•        Further, the statute required the Commissioner to issue emergency rules to govern the program given the new federal guidelines. The Commissioner’s emergency rules were reviewed on August 21 by the General Assembly joint, government operations committee and were recommended unanimously to become permanent without amendment.

2020 Legislative Priorities

Drug Testing Protections for Hemp/CBD Products SB0896 by Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains)

•        The goal of this legislation is to establish consumer protections for persons subject to drug screening and to define reasonable levels of THC in blood, urine or other sampling methods for those regularly consuming legal hemp and hemp-derived products.

•        Presently, citizens consuming legal hemp products may test positively for THC, despite products with trace THC (less than 0.3%) being perfectly legal federally. Such testing places an unnecessary burden on consumers and stifles growth in hemp consumable markets due to fear.

•        TGC is working with Senator Frank Niceley and potential, House sponsors as well as the General Assembly legal staff to draft a bill with protections that would allow employees (or any other classes of citizens) to disclose to employers they are using hemp products prior to screening. Further, it would allow employers to provide enhanced testing or allow such persons to reimburse their employer for the difference in the costs associated with enhanced testing, which would reveal exactly how much THC a person has in their sample versus the present pass/fail methodology.

Forfeiture and Seizure – HB 0274/SB0279 by Rep. Jay Reedy (R-Erin) and Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma)

•     This bill specifies that hemp and products derived from hemp, other than isolated THC, are not subject to scheduling as a controlled substance and are not subject to forfeiture based solely on their composition

•     Prohibits police searches based solely on the odor of cannabis