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USDA Green Lights Another Three State Hemp Plans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the latest states to have their plans approved under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.

Delaware, Nebraska and Texas all scored a guernsey, adding to the original state plans approved late last year –  those for Louisiana, New Jersey and Ohio.

As well as states, a number of Indian tribes have also had their plans approved:

  • Colorado River Indian Tribes
  • Fort Belknap Indian Community
  • Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
  • Yurok Tribe
  • Flandreau Santee Sioux
  • La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians
  • Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians

The new additional states and tribes were yet to appear on the Status of State and Tribal Hemp Production Plans page at the time of writing.

The 2018 Farm Bill set USDA the tasks of developing a regulatory oversight program for hemp and approve plans submitted by states and tribes. In late October last year, USDA released the interim final rule establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.

The comment period for the rule was to last for 60 days, but USDA extended this to January 29 (tomorrow local time) to allow stakeholders additional time to provide feedback.

And there’s been plenty of it – around 2,265 comments at the time of writing. Among the common themes are requests to have the 0.3% THC limit boosted to 1%. There are also many concerned with the 15-day harvesting requirement after samples are collected for testing. Some stakeholders believe this doesn’t allow for enough time when weather conditions are poor. The USDA’s reasoning is that allowing a longer window would see crops above the THC limit when harvested.

The THC limit is certainly a tricky one – but it’s not as though boosting it to 1% would see crops able to be used for recreational purposes, as it’s still not enough to have an intoxicating effect. The .3% limit in Arizona has reportedly resulted in 41% of the state’s hemp plants testing above, making them “hot crops”.

Last month, Hemp Industry Daily reported the USDA estimates 20% of hemp sent in for testing in 2020 will come back as “hot”.

Terry Lassitenaz
Terry Lassitenaz writes exclusively for Hemp Gazette and has done so since the site launched in 2015. He has a special interest in the political arena relating to medical cannabis, particularly in Australia, and addressing the many myths surrounding this incredibly useful plant. You can contact Terry here.

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