USDA Plans to Release Hemp Regulations by August

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Image: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

Washington, D.C. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided a key update on federal hemp regulation.

This week, the USDA announced its intent to present federal regulations for hemp and CBD production by August. The update was included in the Spring 2019 Semiannual Regulatory Agenda along with other unrelated agricultural announcements.

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“This action will initiate a new part 990 establishing rules and regulations for the domestic production of hemp,” the agenda read. “This action is required to implement provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill).”

Although CBD and hemp producers have been calling for clarity from federal officials, the USDA claims it is not speeding up its review process. However, the agency does seem to be moving along briskly. In March, the USDA said it had “begun the process to gather information for rule making” in regards to hemp. 

Once finalized, states and native tribes will be able to submit hemp regulatory plans for USDA approval. In order to receive approval, local authorities must specify plans for:

  • the land that will be used to cultivate hemp 
  • testing regulations 
  • disposal methods 
  • law enforcement compliance 
  • inspections 
  • certification for products and workers

In December, the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill) was passed. This removed hemp from the DEA list of banned substances. However, several producers have since been issued warning letters and some businesses were raided by federal officials. Although some of the enforcement was related to producers selling CBD and hemp infused edible products, many industry members are not clear as to exactly what is permitted by federal authorities. In April, the USDA did announce hemp producers could begin submitting intellectual property applications for hemp products. An FDA public meeting about hemp production was held in May, but many specifics remain unanswered.

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