The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced completion of its review of the Final Rule establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. The rule moves forward as published in the Federal Register on Jan. 19, 2021, and becomes effective March 22, 2021.
As part of the transition, USDA and many other agencies took the opportunity to review new and pending regulatory actions. This is a routine process done at the beginning of new administrations to ensure longstanding as well as new programs are structured and resourced appropriately and to ensure programs are implemented to best serve their intended stakeholders.
Background: The final rule includes provisions for the USDA to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Indian tribes including requirements for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements and licensing requirements. It also establishes a federal plan for hemp producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved hemp production plan.
The final rule incorporates modifications to regulations established under the interim final rule (IFR) published in October 2019. The modifications are based on public comments following the publication of the IFR and lessons learned during the 2020 growing season.
Key provisions of the final rule include licensing requirements; recordkeeping requirements for maintaining information about the land where hemp is produced; procedures for testing the THC concentration levels for hemp; procedures for disposing of non-compliant plants; compliance provisions; and procedures for handling violations.
More information about the provisions of the final rule is available on the Hemp Production web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.