On October 29, 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its long-awaited hemp cultivation regulations, marking the first federal hemp farming regulations in the United States since the crop was banned in 1937. These regulations implement provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill and are effective October 31, 2019.
Upon official publication, the USDA can begin reviewing and approving hemp plans submitted by states, tribes, and territories that meet these federal standards, giving those jurisdictions primary regulatory over hemp production. Some states have already submitted or are in the process of developing a state plan and now need to update their laws and hemp programs to conform to these new federal requirements. If a state, tribe, or territory chooses not to submit a plan (and does not otherwise prohibit the cultivation of hemp), the USDA will control the production of hemp in that jurisdiction. A few states, like Idaho and Mississippi, may choose to prohibit cultivation or defer to federal regulation.
In the meantime, farmers may continue to cultivate hemp under a state’s 2014 Farm Bill research pilot program; however, on October 31, 2020, the 2014 Farm Bill hemp provisions will officially sunset and state programs must comply with the 2018 Farm Bill regulations.
While it will take time to digest the nuances of this new federal framework, we’ll highlight the following key takeaways, including: five expected provisions, five unexpected provisions, and five unanswered questions. [Read More @ Vicente Sederberg]