Search Results for: hemp

Minnesota: Congressman Peterson Joins Smith, Craig and McCollum To Urge Federal Agencies To Clarify Hemp Rules

MINNESOTA: Representative Collin Peterson today jointed U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN 2), and Betty McCollum (D-MN 4) in calling on the leaders of four federal agencies to streamline hemp rules. Currently, contradictory federal guidelines are leading to uncertainty in the market and preventing Minnesota farmers and Tribes from fully reaping the economic benefits of growing hemp.

“The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp in order to create economic opportunities for farmers. Minnesota farmers appreciate the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) efforts in implementing the Interim Rule on Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program. However, despite the Interim Rule there are still hurdles in place for Minnesota farmers to fully realize the economic benefits of growing hemp,” wrote the lawmakers in their letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Sen. Smith and Reps. Craig, McCollum and Peterson go on to identify some of the inconsistencies that need to be addressed: “The federal regulatory framework has proven to be inconsistent. For example, the USDA’s rule stated that farmers will be held accountable – facing possible revoking of their licenses – if their crops test above a .5 percent THC level three times in a five year period. Despite this somewhat onerous and arbitrary level, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) instituted their own rule saying that exceeding .3 percent THC level deems the crop a controlled substance.

The burdensome competing rules don’t allow for remediation if the crop tests above the deemed inappropriate levels. Farmers should not be penalized for plants that they intended to grow as hemp, but for any number of reasons, the final THC numbers exceeded the arbitrary 0.3% THC level.  At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance on CBD is still pending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which adds even more uncertainty to the marketplace.”

NIHC Receives USDA MAP Funding for International Research And Promotion Of Hemp

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: National Industrial Hemp Council today announced it received $200,000 in U.S. Department of Agricultural (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP) funding to support export market development of industrial hemp.

“We are grateful for USDA confidence and the recognition of NIHC as the industry leader in industrial hemp trade and marketing,” said Kevin Latner, NIHC’s Senior Vice President for Trade and Marketing who will be responsible for implementing the program.  “Today’s announcement makes NIHC a trusted partner to USDA for hemp fiber, feed, food and CBD companies looking to break down trade barriers in markets overseas.”

MAP funds are administered through USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Through the MAP program, FAS partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. These funds can be used for facilitating trade missions and meeting with industry stakeholders and government regulators overseas.

NIHC programs will focus on Europe and China and include market research, trade policy and trade facilitation.  The global industrial hemp and products market was estimated at $11.1 billion in retail sales in 2019.  With an annual growth rate of 52 percent, driven by continued strength in textiles, food and industrial uses and hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), the global market is forecast to be worth $89 billion by 2025.

Hemp for industrial use, textile and CBD market is expected to quickly expand and be the primary driver of global industry growth.  By 2021, the global trade of hemp is forecast $8.1 billion across all markets, representing a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83 percent.  EuropeChina, and Canada are currently the primary sources of industrial hemp.  With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. has become the world’s third largest producer of industrial hemp.

Europe has rapidly developed a robust hemp and CBD market.  Europe is also a strong producer of industrial use hemp products with $424 million in industrial product sales. China has led global markets in textiles with almost 80 percent of the $1.7 billion hemp textile market, in 2019.

In addition, National Industrial Hemp Council members will now have unprecedented access to United States trade negotiators; foreign government counterparts; and a network of international hemp industry association counterparts. Foreign governments understand that NIHC is now supported by the U.S. government and represents U.S. industry interests.

Market Access Program funds can be used by NIHC throughout the world to support market access and trade policy work, international trade promotion including supporting business-to-business facilitation, and consumer and brand marketing.

MAP funds for 2021 will be administered to NIHC through the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA.    

“We’re extremely confident and trust that NIHC will represent the best interests of U.S. industrial hemp abroad. We’re excited to be working with them as part of the USDA cooperator community,” said Tim Hamilton, Executive Director of Food Export Association of the Midwest USA.

Montana Department Of Agriculture Releases Hemp Marketplace

Montana hemp buyers and sellers can connect through new Hemp Marketplace

MONTANA: The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced today that the Hemp Marketplace is now available to buyers and sellers of hemp and hemp derivatives. The online portal can be accessed by visiting the department’s website.

“With hemp being a relatively new crop grown in Montana, the department recognizes that these markets are still developing,” said MDA Director Ben Thomas. “The Hemp Marketplace was developed to help facilitate connections between buyers and sellers. I’m looking forward to seeing how the marketplace will continue to advance the industry.”

The Hemp Marketplace concept originated from the same idea as the department’s Hay Hotline, only instead of hay and pasture, the online tool connects buyers and sellers of hemp and hemp derivatives. Because hemp is a regulated crop, only growers that are licensed through the Montana State Hemp Program are permitted to list hemp for sale and all listings must be comply with the 0.3% threshold for THC.

Users can enter new listings or view existing listings free of charge by visiting MDA’s main website at agr.mt.gov, then selecting “Hemp Marketplace” from the “Topics” dropdown. MDA staff are also available to help assist with listings by phone at (406) 444-2402, by email at agr@mt.gov, and by fax at (406) 444-9493.

Ah Warner: 25 Years On The Forefront Of Hemp & Cannabis Culture And Commerce

By David Rheins

WASHINGTON:  “It’s been a crazy twenty-five years,” Cannabis Basics founder Ah Warner tells me via Zoom this Sunday afternoon.  “The word that I really relate to in this journey is tenacity. I am tenacious, and without that I would not be around.”

Tenacious is an understatement.  Since 1994, Ah has been a true pioneer on the forefront of hemp and cannabis culture and commerce.  Her Cannabis Creations, established in 1994, predates the legendary Dr. Bronner by 5 years, selling hemp products “back when people still thought hemp was marijuana – I guess some people still do,” she told me.

Inspired by Jack Herer’s seminal book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy”, which she calls the Bible of Hemp, Ah’s journey began with a love of all things hemp, migrated to a passion for medical marijuana, and then in 2012 when Washington State legalized adult-use, Ah felt the recreational market left inadequate place for her hemp-centric and low THC body products, so she went mainstream.  She now vends her Hemp Basics line all over the country; while her Cannabis Basics products, which contain small amounts of THC, are sold in grocery stores and specialty retail only in Washington State.

Cannabis Basics is allowed by law to sell on mainstream retail shelves due to the landmark CHABA (Cannabis Health and Beauty Aids) law that Ah Warner along with activist Keri Boiter and then State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles passed in Washington in 2015. When I asked her what had changed in the five years since that CHABA legislation was passed, Ah explained “The law that is five years old now still only exists here in Washington State. No other state has replicated this.  No other state has said ‘if you have a little bit of marijuana in your product, and it is non-intoxicating and a topical it can be sold in grocery stores.’   What that means for me is that I have two lines – one is hemp seed oil and CBD, called Hemp Basics that is sold all over the country. And then my CHABA line, Cannabis Basics, which has the marijuana in it, sold here in Washington State in grocery stores. Now people don’t have to go to pot shops to get full-spectrum topicals. And that has changed a lot for people, especially the older generation who don’t want to go into a pot shop for a topical.”

 

By taking her hemp and cannabis brands mainstream, Ah has unlocked a whole new marketplace.  It has been necessary to “pivot, pivot, pivot” Ah notes, as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shutdown of her core buyers — massage therapists, and boutique retailers, resulting in a 50% loss of business.

But, always the innovator, Ah discovered a need in the marketplace, and has created a new product line to address it.  She believing that in the age of COVID-19 everyone that wears a mask is a hero, but notes that wearing a mask poses it’s own challenges.  “Unfortunately, masks are uncomfortable and may cause irritation, redness, and inflammation around the nose and mouth,” she noted. “Many masks are made from synthetic materials and dyes, and when combined with sweat and hot breath, can clog pores and create havoc on our sensitive facial skin. This new phenomenon is called maskne.”

“I really wanted to create something that would be helpful and comforting to our frontline workers and dedicated mask wearers in these challenging and stressful times so I formulated the Masked Hero Face Rescue System, harnessing the best that cannabis has to offer. The product blends organic hempseed oil, hemp hydrosols and cannabis extractions and infusions, with many other powerful botanicals, like tea tree, neroli and witch hazel. This skin care system is a three-step process: a cleanser to bathe and detoxify, a toner to balance and tighten and lastly, a moisturizer to nourish, hydrate and protect your face.”

What’s next for the energetic entrepreneur?  Ah will be introducing a new online retail store (Ah’s Cannabis Couch) and a new YouTube channel.  To learn more, watch the entire video interview, presented exclusively on Marijuana Channel One, part of the MJNews Network.

Governor Cuomo Announces Proposed Regulations For Cannabinoid Hemp Products

Department of Health’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program Will License Processors and Retailers and Set Quality Control Standards

NEW YORK:  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Department of Health has filed proposed regulations to regulate cannabinoid hemp products in New York State. In accordance with legislation signed earlier this year by the Governor, the Department is creating a Cannabinoid Hemp Program. The Program will license both cannabinoid hemp processors and retailers and set quality control standards that all cannabinoid hemp products must meet.

“These regulations are the next step toward regulating the growing hemp industry in New York in a way that protects consumers and helps ensure the industry’s long-term viability,” said Governor Cuomo. “Establishing the State’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program to regulate production and sale of hemp and hemp extract will help protect both consumers and farmers.”

The Cannabinoid Hemp Program will organize and legitimize the cannabinoid market in New York State by creating a licensing framework for cannabinoid hemp processors and retailers, and by establishing basic manufacturing, packaging and labeling and laboratory testing standards. Currently, applications for cannabinoid hemp processing and retailing licenses are under development, and NYSDOH intends to make them available in early 2021.

In 2015, the Governor launched the Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program, supporting farmers and further boosting economic development in upstate New York. Since then, New York’s hemp program has expanded significantly, making New York one of the leading hemp producing states in the country, with more than 700 farmers and 100 manufacturers of hemp products. Hemp is a sustainable, carbon-sequestering crop that is capable of being transformed into hundreds of products including textiles, furniture, fuel, food, construction materials and personal care items.

Some hemp products that have been growing in popularity include cannabinoid hemp products such as Cannabidiol, or CBD, which can be found online or in retail stores throughout the state. While regulations exist at the federal level for the growth of hemp, there are currently no federal regulations for the processing and manufacturing of cannabinoid hemp products, resulting in the cannabinoid hemp marketplace lacking basic consumer protections that are common in similar industries. There are published reports of cannabinoid hemp products that do not contain any cannabinoids but contain unspecified or inconsistent levels of THC – the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant – or are contaminated with harmful toxins.

The proposed regulations fill this regulatory void and create a system allowing for the use of hemp-derived cannabinoids in certain foods, beverages, topicalsand dietary supplement products, provided regulatory requirements are satisfied. All cannabinoid hemp products must be manufactured using good manufacturing practices based on the end product’s intended use. The label must contain the total amount of cannabinoids in the product, number of cannabinoids per serving, a nutritional or supplement fact panel, information about whether the product contains THC and appropriate warnings stating the product is not intended for children, its use may cause the failure of a drug test, the product has not been evaluated by the FDA and if pregnant or nursing, to consult a healthcare provider before use.

Additionally, cannabinoid hemp products are required to be laboratory-tested before entering the market, with testing for their cannabinoid profile, heavy metals, microbial impurities, mycotoxins, pesticides and residual solvents. This information is required to be retrievable by the consumer in the form of a QR code or corresponding link on the product label. Retailers are prohibited from selling inhalable cannabinoid hemp products, such as vape products, to consumers under 21 years of age. Processors are prohibited from making claims suggesting the product will diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “When you purchase a product, you should have confidence that what is stated on the label is actually in the product. With the increased production and use of cannabinoid hemp products, New York State could not wait for the federal government to act to institute basic consumer protections to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers.”

Senator Jen Metzger said, “These regulations will provide much-awaited certainty for the hemp industry and offer a tremendous opportunity for our farmers while ensuring that we have the standards consumers need for a safe and high-quality product. As the Senate sponsor of the bill that created the regulatory framework for hemp, I want to thank the Governor for his continued leadership to advance the hemp industry and move the regulatory process forward, and I urge New York farmers and all stakeholders to review the regulations and provide input during the 60-day comment period.”

Assembly Member Donna Lupardo said, “With these regulations, New York is creating a national model for consumer safety, requiring strict labeling and production standards. The inclusion of cannabinoid extracts in food and beverages will provide new economic opportunities for farmers, processors, manufacturers, and retailers throughout the state. I appreciate the Governor’s continued commitment to New York’s hemp industry and look forward to working with his administration as these regulations are finalized through the public comment period.”

For more information on New York’s Cannabinoid Hemp Program and to view the proposed regulations, please visit: https://health.ny.gov/regulations/hemp/.

USDA Approves Hemp Production Plans For Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico And South Dakota

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the approval of hemp production plans under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program for Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico and South Dakota, bringing the total number of approved plans to 69.

USDA continues to receive and review hemp production plans from states and Indian tribes. To review approved plans or check the status of a plan, visit the Status of State and Tribal Hemp Production Plans webpage.

State and tribal plans previously approved include:

States Tribes
Delaware Blackfeet Nation
Florida Cayuga Nation
Georgia Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes
Illinois Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Iowa Chippewa Cree Tribe
Kansas Colorado River Indian Tribes
Louisiana Comanche Nation
Maine Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Maryland Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians
Massachusetts Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
Minnesota Fort Belknap Indian Community
Missouri Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Montana Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Nebraska La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes
New Jersey Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Ohio Lower Sioux Indian Community
Oklahoma Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Pennsylvania Oglala Sioux Tribe
South Carolina Otoe-Missouria Tribe
Tennessee Pala Band of Mission Indians
Texas Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Utah Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
Washington Pueblo of Picuris Tribe
West Virginia Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Wyoming Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Puerto Rico Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
U.S. Virgin Islands San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona
Santa Rosa Cahuilla Indian Tribe
Santee Sioux Nation
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma
Seneca Nation of Indians
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
Yurok Tribe

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) directed USDA to develop a regulatory oversight program for hemp and include provisions for USDA to approve hemp production plans submitted by states and Indian tribes. Accordingly, on Oct. 31, 2019, USDA issued an interim final rule establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and the provisions for USDA to approve submitted plans. State and tribal plans provide details on practices and procedures that enable hemp producers in their jurisdictions to operate according to their individual plans and in compliance with federal laws.

For additional information about the program, visit the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program webpage.

Agrozen Opens Indiana’s First Hemp Testing Laboratory

Certified By The U.S. Department Of Agriculture, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, And The Office Of Indiana State Chemist

INDIANA:  Following a year of submissions and reviews by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, central Indiana’s Agrozen Life Sciences today announced that it is expanding business operations by launching Agrozen Labs, now a certified U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) analytical hemp testing laboratory.  Agrozen Labs also recently achieved Schedule I Cannabis Testing certification from the DEA and is now an approved hemp testing laboratory through the USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production Program.

In conjunction with the USDA and DEA approvals, Agrozen Labs is the first hemp cooperative analytical testing laboratory approved through the Seed Section of the Office of Indiana State Chemist (OISC) at Purdue University.

The Agrozen Labs announcement follows word that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the Indiana State Hemp plan for commercially growing and processing hemp, a crop that is widely used to produce textiles, rope, carpet, paper, building materials, food, and more.

Hemp production in Indiana is licensed to some 280 growers who farm more than 8,900 acres of the crop.  Farmers are required to have hemp crops tested before harvest and Agrozen becomes one of only about 50 such certified testing labs in the entire country.

“The Agrozen Labs team is honored to be the first hemp testing laboratory certified in the State of Indiana by USDA, as well as the first state-certified lab to be working in the hemp industry.  We’re very pleased to have the involvement of the Seed Section of the Office of Indiana State Chemist, which is based at Purdue, and is working to develop new markets for Hoosier farmers,” said Brian Schroeder, Co-Founder and CEO for Agrozen Life Sciences.  “Our hemp testing process and analytical equipment are managed by a pharmaceutical scientist with more than three decades of experience, and our lab can now produce consistent and reliable results for farmers, extractors, formulators, and finished goods suppliers,” he adds.

“The Office of Indiana State Chemist is looking forward to working with Agrozen Life Sciences as a cooperating hemp laboratory.  Agrozen Life Sciences has built their laboratory with full transparency to the State Chemist while hitting important milestones, such as obtaining a DEA Schedule I registration,” adds Carrie Leach, Quality Assurance Director for OISC.  “It has been a pleasure working with Agrozen Life Sciences building this mutually beneficial relationship that will help hemp growers,” she added.

To learn more about Agrozen Labs cannabis testing services, visit www.agrozen.com/laboratory, email labs@agrozen.com or call (844) 655-6935.

The Hemp Industry: Where Are We Going? 

By Steven Gluckstern
Chair and CEO, Santa Fe Farms

It’s difficult to predict where the hemp industry will go over the next five years and how it will develop as it is only been just over 22 months since the farm bill of 2018 was passed legalizing hemp for transport across state lines. This legislation opened up an entire new industry for CBD and other hemp related products. What we do know, is that hemp is an extraordinary plant and the industry, although nascent, will have a profound impact both economically and environmentally in both the US and abroad.

What we learned in the first two years of the legalized hemp industry is now that everyone rushed into cultivation, farming may not be the most profitable sector. The primary lesson learned for most people is that when you partner with Mother Nature, she is fickle and almost always wins. Furthermore, unlike corn, soy, and other US agricultural products, the plant needs to go through a transformational process to make it usable for downstream products. Thought of as the narrow center of the hourglass or “chokepoint” of the industry, the plant needs to be processed and/or extracted to be usable for anything other than smokable flower.

While much of the industry is now focused on CBD and other phyto-cannabinoid products (the base of the hourglass), our vision at Santa Fe Farms is much broader and includes not only cultivation, and processing, but industrial hemp for building materials, plastics, paper, and other manufactured goods as well as our own phyto-cannabinoid products. Additionally, we are discovering that carbon-based derivatives obtained through pyrolysis will drive further business in ways we are just beginning to understand and that could have significant impact on both renewable energy and environmental sustainability.

We also believe there is significant opportunity for technology; because this is a nascent industry, the visibility of the hemp supply chain is almost nonexistent. Studying the data is almost impossible but as advanced technologies such as blockchain become “mainstream”, we will soon see efficiencies in cultivation, harvesting, processing, and innovation. We have always thought there was significant opportunity for software as it relates to the hemp supply chain, and with experienced partners have begun investing significant resources to create an industry agnostic “Supply Chain as a Service” platform.

When we started at Santa Fe Farms, we initially thought only about cultivation, but quickly realized that one should make multiple bets to maximize profit one likely had to allocate capital to all parts of the business from seed genetics to retail sale. In the short-term, we believe that prices will stabilize, people will leave the industry (by choice and necessity) and that prices will rise as demand increases.

More interesting however is looking out ten years. As we face the “hemp future,” there is a tremendous lack of visibility of regulation. We can hopefully drive regulation from within by creating products and SOPs that adhere to high quality standards. No one knows what future regulation will look like as it is clearly, at best, a work in progress. However, it represents a place where we can come together as an industry to create policy change, social justice and educational platforms.

USDA Approves Michigan’s Industrial Hemp State Plan

MICHIGAN:  The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) received federal approval of the state’s Industrial Hemp Plan. This plan establishes regulatory requirements for cultivating industrial hemp and gives MDARD primary oversight of industrial hemp production in Michigan. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) approval means Michigan’s plan complies with the 2018 Farm Bill requirements and USDA’s Interim Final Rule.

In April 2019, MDARD established the state’s first Industrial Hemp Ag Pilot Program so farmers, processors, and state colleges and universities could grow, handle, process, and research industrial hemp. The pilot program continued into the 2020 growing season, with 631 growers and 517 processor-handlers registered and/or licensed to grow, process and market industrial hemp.

“The success of the pilot program has paved the way for cultivation and expansion of Michigan’s new crop,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “The approval of the state plan is a testament to the hard work our team has put in over the last 22 months developing the regulatory framework for growers to diversify their operations.”

Senator Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, sponsored the Industrial Hemp Growers Act (Senate Bill 850), to align Michigan’s Industrial Hemp laws with USDA’s Interim Final Rule. Public Act 137 of 2020 enabled Michigan to submit the state plan for approval and keeps Michigan farmers compliant with federal requirements to grow industrial hemp.

“Michigan’s pilot program for industrial hemp has been a great success,” said Lauwers. “There is increasing interest in this crop in a wide variety of sectors. Michigan farmers will benefit greatly from being able to grow hemp, under the 2018 Farm Bill and Michigan’s USDA approved Hemp Growers Program.”

Starting December 1, 2020, MDARD will implement the state hemp plan in tandem with the beginning of the 2021 grower registration cycle. There are some key changes that growers need to be aware of before the December 1 effective date:

  • Growers will no longer be able to collect their own samples for submission to MDARD’s laboratory for THC analysis. Instead, growers will be required to contact the department to schedule an appointment for MDARD staff to collect samples.
  • Growers are required to provide a legal description of the property that they intend to grow hemp on. This is in addition to the already required address, GPS coordinates, acreage, and maps of their growing area(s). Growers will also be required to submit their hemp acreage directly to USDA’s Farm Service Agency.
  • The requirement for growers to harvest their compliant hemp within 15 days of receiving their analysis results will continue in the 2021 growing season.
  • The state plan includes specific methods of destroying industrial hemp determined to be non-compliant and growers must follow the specific notification requirements before destruction.
  • Grower registration applicants must continue to submit a criminal history report. The report is required to include any felony drug convictions occurring outside of Michigan which will require growers to use an FBI background check tool rather than the previous ICHAT tool.

MDARD will send out a series of email updates to hemp growers throughout November on the changes. Additional information about the Michigan industrial hemp program is also available at Michigan.gov/IndustrialHemp. Anyone interested in hemp program updates can self-register here.

Virginia Congressman Riggleman Sends Letter To DEA In Support Of Hemp Industry

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Congressman Denver Riggleman, along with eight of his House colleagues, sent a letter to acting Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Administrator Timothy Shea to protect hemp producers and clarify hemp regulations due to discrepancies in the DEA Interim Final Rule (IFR).

The letter, led by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH-14), asks Administrator Shea to address the discrepancies between the 2018 Farm Bill and the DEA Interim Final Rule which was issued in August 2020. The IFR issued specific restrictions regarding hemp derived material that appears to contradict the legalization of hemp and hemp derivatives under the 2018 Farm Bill. According to the newly released IFR, provisions of the Farm Bill can result in criminal liability.

“The DEA must specify their requirements and streamline hemp directives by clarifying the legal means of processing hemp products,” said Congressman Riggleman. “The Farm Bill created new venues of business in this country, and we need to ensure that our hemp farmers have clear directives when it comes to their products.”

The 2018 Farm Bill is a critical piece of legislation that opened the door for hardworking hemp farmers by legalizing hemp and hemp derivatives so long as they contain less than 0.3% of THC on a dry weight basis. This bill has allowed states across America to start to build a new industry in hemp production, and expand their markets to CBD products and other related material. The DEA must revise the IFR to protect hemp farmers from overly harsh regulation and ensure that the hemp industry is safeguarded.

Background:

Congressman Riggleman has fought for hemp producers throughout his time in Congress. He is a lead supporter of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program and has worked with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to expand economic opportunity for hemp farmers in the 5th District and beyond. Earlier this year he also introduced the Hemp Opportunity Zone Act which would designate certain low-income areas as “opportunity zones” and provide economic incentives to grow the hemp industry and encourage long-term investment in rural communities. The hemp industry has the potential to be a game changer for farmers in America and the 5th District can lead this effort.

Learn more about the industrial hemp industry from the USDA here. Learn about how a new hemp processing facility will strengthen the economy and bring more than 20 new jobs to South Boston, VA here.