A few weeks ago, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its interim final rule for specifying the rules and regulations to produce hemp.
The new USDA hemp regulations have been long anticipated, with much speculation about what will finally be allowed/disallowed, so the announcement was met with much fanfare.
According to the 2018 Farm Bill, the USDA has to create regulations and guidelines to establish and administer a program for the production of hemp in the U.S. Knowing this, it’s understandable why producers have been awaiting this release.
So, what are these new hemp rules? What has the USDA said it will permit (or restrict) in the farming of hemp in the United States?
New USDA Hemp Regulations
According to the release, the USDA hemp regulations:
- outline provisions for the Department of Agriculture to approve plans for the domestic production of hemp.
- establish a Federal plan for producers in areas that don’t have their own USDA-approved plan.
- include provisions for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements, licensing requirements, and ensuring compliance.
Whoa, what a mouthful.
So, are the rules a good things or a bad thing?
According to Bloomberg, this is “welcome news to U.S. industrial hemp stakeholders eager to respond to an increase in demand for foods, dietary supplements, and consumer and industrial products containing hemp derivatives, including CBD.”
The thing is, some of these new regs are a bit problematic.
One of the biggest things with the new USDA hemp regulations is that it requires plants with more than 0.3% THC to be trashed. So, those farmers struggling with issues like cross contamination, or yields with concentrations greater than 0.3%, could see profits threatened.
Another has to do with testing. The USDA wants crops tested within 15 days before the end of harvest. For many farmers, is too short a timeframe. Additionally, the USDA wants testing to be done at a lab registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration. This has the potential to create a massive backlog in the system.
No matter how you slice it, the industry badly needs these rules and regulations. To contuse working within an ill-defined program is just bad news for everyone.
Stay tuned for more updates.