The United States Department of Agriculture has announced that it is aiming to release its “Interim Final Rule” for the establishment of a domestic hemp production program in August of 2019. Specifically, the timetable states “08/00/19.”
According to the notice, “This action will initiate a new part 990 establishing rules and regulations for the domestic production of hemp. This action is required to implement provisions of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill).”
When the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services published a statement at the end of February stating an intention to issue regulations in the Fall of 2019 to accommodate the 2020 planting season, no one expected the USDA to expedite the regulatory process by releasing an interim final rule. This announcement from the USDA, coupled with the USDA’s recent clarification polices on intellectual property for hemp products and interstate travel, however, seems to illustrate steady progress in the regulatory process and a strong indication of the USDA’s commitment to implement the 2018 Farm Bill’s Hemp Production program.
The USDA rules making is a next step in developing the legal framework for hemp after its legalization as a farm crop under provisions of the Farm Bill. That framework must be followed by individual states as they set local hemp laws.The USDA has indicated that the regulations will address such things as land usage, standards for testing, disposal, law enforcement compliance, inspections, and certification for both products and industry workers.
Greenspoon Marder LLP contributed to this article.