“At USDA, we are always excited when there are new economic opportunities for our farmers, and we hope the ability to grow hemp will pave the way for new products and markets,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “We have had teams operating with all hands-on-deck to develop a regulatory framework that meets Congressional intent while seeking to provide a fair, consistent, and science-based process for states, tribes, and individual producers who want to participate in this program.”
An interim final rule formalizing the program will be published in the Federal Register that will allow hemp to be grown under federally-approved plans and make hemp producers eligible for a number of agricultural programs. The rule includes provisions for the USDA to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Indian tribes including: requirements for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced; testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol; disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements; and licensing requirements. It also establishes a federal plan for hemp producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own approved hemp production plan.
Following publication in the Federal Register, USDA invites public comment on the interim rule and the information collection burden. The interim final rule is posted on USDA’s website.
USDA also developed guidelines for sampling and testing procedures that are being issued concurrently with this rule. These documents provide additional information for sampling agents and hemp testing laboratories.
Once state and tribal plans are in place, hemp producers will be eligible for a number of USDA programs, including insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.
“We are eager to see full implementation of USDA’s Hemp Production Program,” said Joseph Dowling, CEO of CV Sciences, a supplier and manufacturer of hemp cannabidiol (CBD) products. “The hemp industry is poised for rapid growth that will create new jobs and economic development opportunities for farmers, rural communities and the CBD industry. Regulatory clarity is critical for the hemp industry and we believe the interim final rule is another step toward the proper regulatory framework that will help unlock the true domestic growth potential of the industry. We’d like to thank the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and its hemp industry members for their tireless efforts in achieving this milestone. Now that hemp farming regulations have been established it’s time to focus on FDA’s work to clarify the regulatory pathway for hemp-derived CBD products in dietary supplements. USDA and FDA regulation of hemp and CBD will provide a level playing field for quality and science-based CBD companies to operate, and allow consumers access to safe and beneficial products.”