HomeNewsUSDA Hemp Testing Enforcement Deadline Extended

USDA Hemp Testing Enforcement Deadline Extended

An enforcement deadline relating to THC concentration testing of hemp in the USA has been extended – again, and for a significant length of time.

Any laboratory testing hemp for THC concentration under the USA’s Domestic Hemp Production Program was required to be registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to handle controlled substances by January 1 next year. While there are a bunch already registered across the USA – 87 at the time of publishing – it appears that’s not enough.

Based on feedback from state and tribal governments and third-party cannabis testing facilities experiencing delays in completing the DEA laboratory registration process; the USDA became concerned hemp laboratory testing capacity for the 2023 growing season wouldn’t be sufficient. With just a couple of weeks to the deadline, action needed to be taken and the deadline has again been extended to December next year.

“Due to inadequate DEA-registered laboratory testing capacity, testing can be conducted by labs that are not registered with DEA until Dec. 31, 2023,” the USDA said in an announcement last week. But it also warns: “Laboratories testing hemp must comply with all other regulatory requirements.”

As mentioned, this isn’t the first extension of the deadline. Originally, under the Final Rule regulating the production of hemp across the country, all hemp cultivators were required to send samples to DEA-registered labs for THC potency testing by January 1 this year.

The DEA registration testing requirement has proven to a bit of a headache for the industry, but unfortunately it was a necessary one. There have been multiple instances of third-party labs fudging results. This isn’t just bad for consumers, but also for the industry’s reputation.

Not all inaccurate testing has been a conscious attempt to break the rules though. Labs use various methods and processes for testing and through the DEA registration requirement, it will be more standardized; helping to ensure more accurate results. This is a good thing from both the consumer and industry perspective.

A directory of hemp testing laboratories registered with the DEA can be found here.

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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