Agency reopened comment period to gather more information on domestic hemp production after widespread concern about feasibility of interim rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) this week in response to a reopened request for comment on issues related to rules governing domestic hemp production. These comments were produced by NCIA’s Scientific Advisory Committee with input from members of its Hemp, Cannabis Manufacturing, and Facilities Design Committees.
The full comments can be viewed here.
Since hemp became federally legal after passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the USDA has been working to propose rules to provide uniform standards and guidance for state hemp production programs, many of which have caused concern from farmers, processors, and officials who worry they are nearly impossible to reasonably meet and may expose producers to prosecution for non-compliance. The agency requested information on a number of topics, including: measurement of uncertainty for sampling; method of analyzing THC content; disposal and remediation of non-compliant plants (greater than 0.3% THC content); negligence; interstate commerce; harvest windows; hemp seedlings, microgreens, and clones; sampling methodology and agents; and DEA lab registration.
“The interim rules proposed by USDA look like a recipe for disaster,” said Morgan Fox, spokesperson for the National Cannabis Industry Association. “Without a clear understanding of the nuances of the plant and the analytical methods required to determine if a crop meets the definition of legal hemp, and absent a well-defined protocol to deal with variances in testing and other factors, the agency will be setting the stage for a system that no one wants: a market dominated by monied producers, small farmers penalized for factors beyond their control, and tremendous amounts of waste.”