USDA to publish interim final rule establishing Domestic Hemp Production Program

October 30, 2019

The USDA has established the Domestic Hemp Production Program, which creates a regulatory framework around hemp production throughout the U.S., as required by the 2018 Farm Bill. USDA has provided a draft of its interim final rule which is expected to be published in the Federal Register later this week. The rule includes provisions for the USDA to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Native American tribes such as requirements for maintaining information on the land where hemp is products, testing the levels of THC, disposing of plants that do not meet requirements, and licensing information. The rule also establishes a federal plan for hemp producers in states and Native American tribes that do not have a hemp production plan.

“At USDA, we are always excited when there are new economic opportunities for our farmers, and we hope the ability to grow hemp will pave the way for new products and markets,” said Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, in a statement. “We have had teams operating with all hands-on-deck to develop a regulatory framework that meets Congressional intent while seeking to provide a fair, consistent, and science-based process for states, tribes, and individual producers who want to participate in this program.”

Publication of the interim final rule in the Federal Register will formalize the program and be active through 730 days following publication. USDA will accept comments within 60 days of the interim final rule’s publication to be considered prior to the issuance of a final rule.

“The hemp industry is poised for rapid growth that will create new jobs and economic development opportunities for farmers, rural communities and the CBD industry. Regulatory clarity is critical for the hemp industry and we believe the interim final rule is another step toward the proper regulatory framework that will help unlock the true domestic growth potential of the industry,” said Joseph Dowling, chief executive officer of CV Sciences (San Diego, CA), in response to USDA’s announcement. “We’d like to thank the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and its hemp industry members for their tireless efforts in achieving this milestone. Now that hemp farming regulations have been established it’s time to focus on FDA’s work to clarify the regulatory pathway for hemp-derived CBD products in dietary supplements. USDA and FDA regulation of hemp and CBD will provide a level playing field for quality and science-based CBD companies to operate, and allow consumers access to safe and beneficial products.”