Prior to the publication of the draft regulations, some industry members were hoping for flexibility in eliminating „hot plants“ or hemp plants tested above the 0.3% THC limit. Many hoped for rules that would allow farmers to dispose of crops more productively, such as composting or soil improvement. Farmers will spend a lot of time, money and effort harvesting, and it would be a shame to have to completely destroy the product without showing anything. At the end of the day, this rule does not solve this problem as farmers had hoped. However, this aspect of the rule was essentially out of the hands of the USDA. If a crop exceeds the THC limit, it is considered marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act and must be disposed of accordingly. The laws and regulations governing procedures for the destruction of a controlled substance are not established by the USDA, so the department was limited in how to address this issue. It must be collected for destruction by a person authorized to handle a Schedule I controlled substance, such as a DEA-registered return distributor or a federal, state, or local law enforcement officer. Farmers must document the elimination of the crop, which is now considered marijuana. This can be achieved by providing the USDA with a copy of the disposal documentation provided by the authorized agent or by using the reporting requirements established by the USDA. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees hemp cultivation as a federal regulatory agency.
In October 2019, the USDA issued a preliminary final regulation that provides for a federal program for hemp cultivation. The USDA will issue final regulations after the 2020 harvest season. The rule again highlights an earlier USDA ruling that interstate transportation is legal, even if the shipment crosses a state that allows hemp cultivation. Starting in the 2021 crop year, hemp will be insurable under the Nursery Crop Insurance Program and the Nursery Value Select Crop Insurance Pilot Program. Under both programs, hemp is insurable when grown in containers and in accordance with federal regulations, applicable state or tribal laws, and crop insurance policy terms. The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture is supposed to handle the cultivation of industrial hemp and the licensing process. There are three different types of licence under MDA, the cultivation licence, the processing licence and the third type of licence which applies to those who grow and process hemp. Times have obviously changed. Drive on country roads in many states across the country and discover acres of hemp fields. State-legal cannabis programs are still illegal under federal law The USDA strives to provide additional programs to hemp growers. More information will be published on this website and shared with producers as it becomes available.
The state of Illinois passed the Industrial Hemp Act in spring 2019, which allows farmers to obtain a license to grow hemp. However, if the THC content of hemp is greater than 0.7%, it must be destroyed. South Dakota`s slogan is „Big Faces, Big Places.“ This may be true for many things, but it`s certainly not a great place for hemp. Many advocates applaud Chief McConnell for his responsibility for these hemp regulations in the Farm Bill and his leadership on all legislation. This assessment is correct. Without Mr. McConnell`s efforts, the hemp regulations would never have been incorporated into law. And while his position as Senate leader gave him enormous institutional influence over legislation, he went further by appointing himself to the Conference Committee, which would bring the House and Senate together to agree on a final version. The state has passed a bill, House Bill 1325, which proposes to legalize industrial hemp and its extracts in the state.
However, Texas lawmakers appear to be delaying the bill, even though the government fully supports the bill. As a result, no pilot program has yet been launched for industrial hemp cultivation in the state. In early 2019, Alabama accepted applications from 180 farmers who wanted to grow hemp in the state. More than 150 farmers paid more than a thousand dollars for the permit and received the license from the state. Georgia`s governor signed a bill in early 2019 allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp. Previously, he had signed a law restricting the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes. Farmers must pay $50 per hectare to obtain their hemp licence. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture plans to plant a minimum of 1300 acres by the end of 2019, three times more than in 2018. The year 2020 will see hemp cultivation in full swing in this state.
The state has also legalized the cultivation of hemp with a THC content greater than 0.3%, but is strictly regulated by the state. The 2018 Farm Bill restricted the participation of certain convicted offenders in hemp production. A person with a state or federal conviction in relation to a controlled substance is subject to a 10-year non-approval restriction on hemp production, with an exclusion for those who have legally grown hemp under the 2014 Farm Bill. A subsequent question was whether this restriction would apply only to the holder of the establishment applying for the licence or whether it would apply to all employees of the establishment. In an industry that is already suffering from growing labour shortages, is it really necessary to limit the labour pool by requiring every field worker, tractor driver or janitor to undergo this background check before a farm can grow hemp? This is an issue where the rule provides much-needed relief and clarity for producers. When submitting an application to grow hemp, farmers must provide a completed criminal record, and if the application involves a commercial entity, the criminal record report must be provided for each „key participant“. The rule further clarifies that a significant participant is any person who has a direct or indirect financial interest in the business entity, such as an owner or partner. The definition does not include shift supervisors or field workers. Fortunately, these rules do not make it any more difficult to obtain a reliable agricultural workforce. In addition to the law, we need to know the climatic conditions and the most suitable land for hemp cultivation in the United States.
These new rules recognize the statistical uncertainty associated with sampling and analyzing a hemp plant for THC. The regulations allow uncertainty measurement to be included when laboratories report THC test results. Essentially, the measure of uncertainty could be understood as a margin of error (or for economists in space: confidence interval). When the uncertainty measure (e.g. +/- 0.05) is combined with the reported measurement, the result is a range that causes the actual measurement to fall within this range with a known probability.