Hold On To Your Hemp: USDA Issues Highly Anticipated Rule Governing Hemp Production

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Cannabidiol (CBD) lovers, rejoice! On October 31, 2019, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its interim final rule (Rule) governing hemp production in the United States.  The Rule is available for comment in the Federal Register until December 30, 2019.

The highly‑anticipated Rule comes almost a year after Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which directed the USDA to create regulations governing hemp production in the United States.

Hemp is a versatile crop used to make a variety of products, including paper, food products and cosmetics, and the Rule legitimizes hemp production on a national level. Hemp is perhaps best known as the source of CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient in cannibis. Many states, including Wisconsin, have already legalized hemp farming, and the Rule is one of the final steps in bringing hemp farming to the national stage.

The Rule establishes the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program (Program), which outlines the procedures the USDA will use to review and approve domestic hemp production plans submitted by states and Indian tribes. The Program includes licensing requirements, testing procedures for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration levels, compliance provisions, and procedures for addressing violations.

As hemp growers will be subject to the Rule, they may want to keep an eye on further developments.

If you have questions about the Rule's impact on the hemp farming industry, contact Jessica Hutson Polakowski, Shannon Toole, or any Reinhart attorney in our Cannabis Practice.

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