Colorado’s Governor and Commissioner of Agriculture have again weighed in on the USDA’s Interim Final Rule related to establishing the nation’s Domestic Hemp Production Program.
The Interim Final Rule has been a controversial document. There was an initial sixty day public comment period between October 31, 2019 and December 30, 2019 and a subsequent extension period between December 31, 2019 and January 29, 2020. Then another extension for public comment kicked off in September. That closed last week, on October 8.
Colorado lodged a submission in the initial comment period and have added another during the most recent extension. Among what it wants to see:
- Expansion of the sampling window from 15 days before anticipated harvest to 30 days.
- Boosting the threshold for negligent production from 0.5 percent THC to 1.0 percent.
- A program for disposal and remediation of non-compliant plants in order to preserve value for producers.
- Adoptions of a “whole plant” approach to the sampling methodology.
- Less burdensome requirements for the methodology used to sample hemp.
Added to the above are another 7 specific comments. The full submission can be viewed here.
“Colorado’s comments also underscore the concern that USDA’s Interim Final Rule may create an uneven impact on small, beginning and socially disadvantaged hemp growers and producers,” states a release published by Gov. Jared Polis’s office.
Colorado is yet to submit its State Hemp Plan to USDA and won’t do so until release of the Final Rule. Currently it is operating its hemp program under provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill. The pilot program enabled by the Bill was set to expire at the end of this month, but was recently extended through September of 2021.
“A positive step for Colorado’s hemp industry, the extension will allow Colorado to continue to represent the state’s hemp industry and collaborate with USDA to determine a workable path forward that will strengthen the industry and provide regulatory structure based on flexibility and practicality,” said Communications Director at Colorado Department of Agriculture Mary Peck last week.
Colorado was one of the one first states in the nation to implement a hemp program and claims to be the USA’s leading producer. There are certainly plenty of growers actively registered to cultivate.