A. It is lawful for a person licensed pursuant to § 3.2-4115 to cultivate, produce, or otherwise grow industrial hemp in the Commonwealth for the purpose of research as part of the industrial hemp research program. No person licensed pursuant to § 3.2-4115 shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-247, 18.2-248, 18.2-248.01, 18.2-248.1, 18.2-250, or 18.2-250.1 for (i) the possession or cultivation of industrial hemp plant material or seeds as part of the industrial hemp research program or (ii) the manufacture of industrial hemp products as part of the industrial hemp research program. In any complaint, information, or indictment, and in any action or proceeding brought for the enforcement of any provision of Article 1 (§ 18.2-247 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2 or the Drug Control Act, Chapter 34 (§ 54.1-3400 et seq.) of Title 54.1, it shall not be necessary to negate any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption contained in this chapter or the Drug Control Act, and the burden of proof of any such exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption shall be on the defendant.
B. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize any person to violate any federal law or regulation. If any part of this chapter conflicts with a provision of federal law relating to industrial hemp that has been adopted in Virginia under this chapter, the federal provision shall control to the extent of the conflict.
C. No person shall be prosecuted under § 18.2-247, 18.2-248, 18.2-248.01, 18.2-248.1, 18.2-250, or 18.2-250.1 for the involuntary growth of industrial hemp through the inadvertent natural spread of seeds or pollen as a result of proximity to a licensed grower.
2015, cc. 158, 180.