By: Hemp Business Group
On October 29, 2019, the U.S. Division of Agriculture (USDA) released a draft version of the interim final rule (IFR) for the production of hemp in the United States. The draft version of the IFR is accessible right here. The USDA is encouraging sector stakeholders to submit comments on the IFR.
In common, the IFR specifies the provisions that a State or Tribal hemp program should include to be authorized by USDA. It also establishes the USDA federal program that will regulate the production of hemp in States and Tribal territories that do not have a USDA-authorized program.
We are continuing to assessment the IFR closely, but we have currently taken note of the following crucial provisions:
- State and Tribal plans should include particular procedures for sampling and testing hemp for THC levels.
- Samples should be taken inside 15 days prior to harvest.
- Samples should be taken from flower material, but the IFR does not specify which component of the flower material or contemplate a homogenized flower material sample.
- Samples should be taken to a DEA-registered laboratory for THC testing. USDA is also thinking of requiring all laboratories testing hemp to have ISO 17025 accreditation.
- Samples should be tested making use of post-decarboxylation or other similarly trusted approaches for total THC concentration. Reputable testing approaches include things like gas or liquid chromatography with detection. Option sampling and testing protocols will be regarded if they are comparable and similarly trusted to the USDA program.
- Laboratories should report THC final results primarily based on delta-9 THC concentration on a dry weight basis and with a measurement of uncertainty. If the measurement of uncertainty final results in a variety or distribution that incorporates .three%, the material meets the acceptable hemp THC level and is compliant.
- If a sample exceeds the acceptable hemp THC level, the material is deemed marijuana and should be disposed of. There is no provision in the IFR for making use of non-compliant material as feedstock or for any other objective.
- State and Tribal plans should prohibit some persons from becoming licensed as a hemp producer.
- A particular person convicted of a felony connected to a controlled substance is banned from becoming licensed for ten years. This does not apply to a felony for lawfully developing hemp below the 2014 Farm Bill.
- State and Tribal plans should include things like protocols for correcting negligent violations by hemp producers.
- A hemp producer does not commit a negligent violation if he or she produces plants that do not have far more than .five% THC on a dry weight basis.
- Lastly, State and Tribal plans should include procedures for reporting some details to USDA.
- For instance, producers should be needed to report their hemp crop acreage to the Farm Service Agency.
The IFR also sets the framework for USDA’s federal program:
- It is anticipated that USDA will rely on the IFR for the 2020 developing season, but it is unclear regardless of whether federal program licenses will be issued for 2020. States are anticipated to continuing operating pilot applications established below the 2014 Farm Bill (right after reaching compliance with the IFR).
- When the federal program is implemented, USDA will not situation any federal program licenses to producers in States or Tribes that have submitted a State or Tribal program for USDA approval.
- In the very first year of the federal program, applications can be submitted at any time (i.e. on a rolling basis). In future years, applications and renewal applications should be submitted involving August 1 and October 31. Licensees issued below the federal program will not renew automatically and should be renewed every single 3 years. A license will be valid till December 31 of the year that is at least 3 years right after the license is issued.
The IFR tends to make clear that even right after the IFR requires impact, States and Tribes could prohibit the production of hemp. Hemp producers in a State or Tribal territory with no a USDA-authorized program will only be in a position to use USDA’s federal program if not “prohibited by State or Tribal Law.” At present, 3 states—Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota—prohibit hemp production.
It is also crucial to note what the IFR does not do. The IFR does not:
- Alter the legality of interstate commerce involving hemp
- Modify the federal definition of hemp from the 2018 Farm Bill
- Consist of a seed certification system or
- Resolve the situation of CBD in meals or dietary supplements, which remains inside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration.