USDA Approves First State and Tribal Hemp Plans

January 2nd, 2020, Cultivation, Federal, Hemp, Public Policy, Regulatory, Testing, Tribal Law

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) has now approved three tribal hemp plans and three state hemp plans for domestic hemp production.  Eleven tribal governments have plans that are currently under review, and plans from seventeen states are also in the review stage.  A small number of states, including Maine, have decided to continue operating under an existing 2014 Farm Bill agricultural pilot program for the 2020 growing season.  After that time, these states must submit a 2018 Farm Bill-compliant hemp plan to USDA.  If they choose not to do so, then hemp cultivators in those states will need to apply directly to USDA for hemp cultivation licenses and abide by the requirements specific to the federal hemp program.

Although Maine is waiting to submit a hemp plan to USDA, the State did recently draft a new set of rules for growing hemp.  A public hearing on these draft rules will take place on January 7, 2020 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm in room 101 of the Deering Building at 90 Blossom Lane, Augusta, Maine. Interested parties may submit written comments to the DACF Hemp Program up until midnight on January 20, 2020 by emailing gary.fish@maine.gov

At a hemp roundtable with USDA and Maine officials in December, Maine farmers expressed concerns about total THC testing and mandatory destruction of crops that exceed the 0.3% limit.  Industry participants across the country have voiced similar concerns.