The USDA has decided it wants to hear from those in the industry with regards to proposed regulations now that they have gone through the 2020 growing season. The comment period for the interim final rule published on October 31, 2019, at 84 FR 58522, has been reopened. Comments must be received by October 8, 2020. The agency noted that people who were dealt with the regulatory requirements during 2020 could now comment on those requirements.
The Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) said it received approximately 4,600 comments from stakeholders during the initial ninety-day public comment period. These comments represent the perspectives of various organizations and individuals within the stakeholder community and provided AMS additional context for decision making. AMS is reopening the public comment period for the Interim Final Rule (IFR) to encourage additional input on several topics identified by commenters during the initial ninety-day comment period. The reopening of the public comment period allows stakeholders to provide AMS with further insight gained from the 2020 hemp growing season.
A domestic hemp production program was created as a result of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly called the Farm Bill. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) must approve plans submitted by States and Indian Tribes for the domestic production of hemp. It also established a Federal plan for producers in States or territories of Indian Tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved plan.
The program includes provisions for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing the levels of total tetrahydrocannabinol, disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements, licensing requirements, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of the new part. As a supplement to statutory and regulatory requirements, the USDA made available additional guidance documents on sampling and laboratory testing. In addition, on February 27, 2020, USDA delayed requirements for hemp testing laboratories to obtain Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration and clarified allowable cannabis disposal methods.