USDA Reopens Comment Period on Interim Regulations for U.S. Hemp Production; Interested in 12 Topics

On September 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) reopened the public comment period on its final interim regulations establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. The final interim regulations, which went into effect on October 31, 2019, provided much-needed guidance to the industry on issues such as testing, harvesting, and transport, though as we previously reported, these regulations are in need of refinement in several areas. AMS will keep the comment period open until October 8, 2020.

While AMS received more than 4,600 comments during the initial comment period that closed in January 2020, it is now encouraging “additional input on several topics identified by commenters.” This reopening of the public comment period allows stakeholders to provide AMS with further insight gained from the 2020 hemp growing season. AMS is particular interested in comments on the following twelve topics:

  1. Measurement of Uncertainty for Sampling
  2. Liquid Chromatography Factor, 0.8777
  3. Disposal of Remediation of Non-Compliant Plants
  4. Negligence
  5. Interstate Commerce
  6. 15-Day Harvest Window
  7. Hemp Seedlings, Microgreens, and Clones
  8. Hemp Breeding and Research
  9. Sampling Methodology—Flower vs. Whole Plant
  10. Sampling Methodology—Homogenous Composition, Frequency, and Volume
  11. Sampling Agents
  12. DEA Laboratory Registration

AMS still plans to issue a final rule by November 1, 2021.

Beveridge & Diamond's Industrial Hemp & Cannabis industry group assists cannabis-based businesses with state-level environmental compliance, product liability, project planning, environmental risk avoidance, and, when appropriate, litigation and defense against state-level environmental enforcement actions. We regularly work with companies to draft and file comments on pending regulations with the potential to have important implications for the industry. For more information, please contact the authors.

Possession, use, distribution, and sale of cannabis may be a federal crime. These materials, and any advice provided herein, are not intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law, or in providing guidance or assistance in complying with federal law.