Hemp can be cultivated for use as fiber, building materials, CBD oil and more. This plant and its derivatives were legalized federally under the 2018 Farm Bill. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) then created interim guidelines for hemp cultivation, which were released in October 2019.
On December 27, 2019, the USDA announced its approval of hemp regulatory plans from three states and the same number of Native American tribes. Louisiana, New Jersey and Ohio, and the Flandreau Santee Sioux, Santa Rosa Cahuilla and La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes had their hemp cultivation plans approved.
“To produce hemp, growers must be licensed or authorized under a state, tribe, or USDA production program. The program a grower is licensed under depends on the location of the hemp-growing facility. If a state or tribe has an approved plan or is in the process of developing a plan, growers must apply and be licensed or authorized under its hemp program. If a state or tribe does not have a plan and does not intend to have a plan, growers can apply for a license from USDA,” the department stated in an announcement.
The USDA is now reviewing 16 state and 10 tribal plans, its site conveys. Over time, the federal rules for hemp growth and processing may evolve, as hemp business owners and lawmakers continue to provide input on the regulations. A related public comment period on the draft rules for hemp manufacturing is underway until January 29, 2020. According to Marijuana Moment, some interested parties have pointed out parts of the current hemp rules that could “inhibit the industry’s growth,” such as the THC limits and laboratory testing requirements.
The USDA also announced this week that hemp farmers in some states can qualify for a pilot insurance program during the 2020 growing season.