Earlier this week, the US Department of Agriculture approved hemp production plans under the nation’s Domestic Hemp Production Program for Minnesota, Tennessee and Puerto Rico.
The addition of the three brought the total number of state, territory and tribal plans approved so far to 53. These plans provide details on practices and procedures that enable local hemp producers to operate according to the relevant state plan and in compliance with federal laws.
Where a state doesn’t have a plan but will allow hemp production, a national plan will provide regulation and licencing. So far, one state is noted as having a USDA Hemp Producer License – New Hampshire. As we recently mentioned, Hawai’i will also head down this path.
Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen welcomed the approval of his state’s plan, saying it was a major step forward – but noted ongoing concerns relating to regulations including hemp testing requirements. While the plan is now approved, Minnesota will continue to operate under its 2014 pilot program, which is permissible for this year. Minnesota is by no means alone in this – the USDA status list indicates 23 states have expressed their intention to operate under 2014 pilot programs.
Last year more than 7,300 acres and 400,000 indoor square feet of hemp crops were planted in Minnesota. This year, 511 people currently have grower and/or processor licenses, and 8,605 acres and 4.66 million indoor square feet of growing space is registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Jenniffer González acknowledged her territory’s plan’s approval in a press release, while Tennessee appeared to be pretty quiet on the topic at the time of writing. In Tennessee, there were around 8,784 active hemp licenses in the state as at the end of June. There may not be as many takers in the next round as the state’s farmers grapple with a situation of supply being far higher than processing capabilities and low prices.
Each recently approved plan can be found here:
The US Department of Agriculture says it is continuing to receive and review hemp production plans from states and Indian tribes.