Last Friday, January 15th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the “USDA”) announced today’s publication of its hemp production final rule in the Federal Register, which will go into effect on March 22, 2021. This final rule builds on the interim final rule (the “IFR”) that was published on October 31, 2019. It includes revisions based on three public comment periods (you can read more on this issue here and here) but also takes into account “lessons learned from the 2020 growing season.”
These new hemp regulations contain six key provisions, which include:
Licensing requirements; Recordkeeping requirements; Procedures for testing the THC level concentration in the hemp plant; Procedures for disposing of non-compliant hemp (i.e., hemp that exceeds acceptable THC threshold); Compliance provisions; and Procedures for handling violations.
The most significant revisions made to the IFR pertain to the procedures for testing the THC concentration and those for disposing of non-compliant hemp. Below are the highlights.
1. Time of sample collection
The USDA agreed with the concerns expressed by commenters regarding the burden of imposing harvest within 15 days of sampling. As a result, the federal agency extended the window within which hemp must be harvest to 30 days following