USDA Publishes Final Rule For The Domestic Production Of Hemp

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the final rule regulating the production of hemp in the United States. The final rule incorporates modifications to regulations established under the interim final rule (IFR) published in October 2019. The modifications are based on public comments following the publication of the IFR and lessons learned during the 2020 growing season. The final rule is available for viewing in the Federal Register and will be effective on March 22, 2021.

“With the publication of this final rule, USDA brings to a close a full and transparent rule-making process that started with a hemp listening session in March 2019,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “USDA staff have taken the information you have provided through three comment periods and from your experiences over a growing season to develop regulations that meet Congressional intent while providing a fair, consistent, science-based process for states, tribes and individual producers. USDA staff will continue to conduct education and outreach to help industry achieve compliance with the requirements.”

Key provisions of the final rule include licensing requirements; recordkeeping requirements for maintaining information about the land where hemp is produced; procedures for testing the THC concentration levels for hemp; procedures for disposing of non-compliant plants; compliance provisions; and procedures for handling violations.

Background: 

On Oct. 31, 2019, USDA published the IFR that provided specific details on the process and criteria for review of plans USDA receives from states and Indian tribes regarding the production of hemp and established a plan to monitor and regulate the production of hemp in those states or Indian tribes that do not have an approved state or Tribal plan.

The IFR was effective immediately after publication in the Federal Register and provided a 60-day public comment period. On Dec. 17, 2019, USDA extended the comment period until Jan. 29, 2020, to allow stakeholders additional time to provide feedback. USDA re-opened the comment period for 30 days, from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8, 2020 seeking additional comments from all stakeholders, especially those who were subject to the regulatory requirements of the IFR during the 2020 production cycle. In all, USDA received about 5,900 comments.

On Feb. 27, 2020, USDA announced the delay of enforcement of the requirement for labs to be registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the requirement that producers use a DEA-registered reverse distributor or law enforcement to dispose of non-compliant plants under certain circumstances until Oct. 31, 2021, or the final rule is published, whichever comes first. This delay has been further extended in the final rule to December 2022.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) directed USDA to issue regulations and guidance to implement a program for the commercial production of hemp in the United States. The authority for hemp production provided in the 2014 Farm Bill was extended until January 1, 2022, by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021, and Other Extensions Act (Pub. L. 116-260) (2021 Continuing Appropriations Act) allowing states and institutions of higher education to continue to grow or cultivate industrial hemp at certified and registered locations within the state for research and education purposes under the authorities of the 2014 Farm Bill.

More information about the provisions of the final rule is available on the Hemp Production web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.

Truss CBD USA, A HEXO Corp & Molson Coors Joint Venture, Launches Veryvell Sparkling CBD Water In Colorado

CANADA:  Truss CBD USA, a joint venture between HEXO Corp and Molson Coors Beverage Company, today announced the U.S. launch of VeryvellTM, a new line of non-alcoholic, sparkling CBD beverages, exclusively available in Colorado.

VeryvellTM is a hemp-derived, adaptogenic, sparkling CBD water now available to Colorado-based consumers in three flavours: Focus (Grapefruit Tarragon), Mind & Body (Strawberry Hibiscus) and Unwind (Blueberry Lavender). VeryvellTM is Powered by HEXOTM, the recognized quality and innovation behind award-winning products.

“We are excited to launch VeryvellTM in Colorado through Truss CBD USA, in collaboration with our partner, Molson Coors. Our joint venture with Molson Coors Canada saw Truss Beverage Brands become the number one choice for consumers in Canada and we are expecting similarly great results in the US.” said HEXO CEO and co-founder Sebastien St-Louis. “We have near-term plans to invest additional capital in the USA to support Truss CBD USA and to further execute on our Powered by HEXOTM strategy with other potential CPG partners, outside of beverages, with whom we are currently in ongoing negotiations.”

VeryvellTM is produced and distributed within Colorado state lines following the state’s established regulatory framework for hemp-derived CBD in food and beverages and is exclusively distributed by Coors Distributing Company. Truss CBD USA is distinct from Truss Beverages, Molson Coors and HEXO’s joint venture in Canada that focuses on non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages.

Virginia Governor Northam Announces Industrial Hemp Company to Locate In Rockingham County

Governor Northam Announces Industrial Hemp Company to Locate in Rockingham County

VIRGINIA:  Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Shenandoah Valley Hemp, LLC dba Pure Shenandoah will invest nearly $3.3 million to establish an industrial hemp fiber processing and cannabidiol (CBD) oil extraction facility in the historic Casey Jones building in the Town of Elkton. The company will create 24 new jobs and has committed to purchasing 100 percent of its industrial hemp from Virginia growers, resulting in nearly $5 million in payments to Virginia farmers over the next three years. Pure Shenandoah will become the first participant in the Virginia’s Finest trademark program to source the hemp used in its products exclusively from the Commonwealth.

“Virginia’s industrial hemp industry continues to experience tremendous growth, creating a wealth of opportunity across our Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “Projects like this one are an important part of diversifying our economy and developing new markets for industrial hemp. Our administration remains committed to supporting growers and processors as we work to ensure this crop has a sustainable future in Virginia.”

Pure Shenandoah operates as a vertically integrated “seed to sale” company providing customers with safe and consistent hemp products of the highest quality. This includes strict regulatory control of crops, the application of certified good manufacturing practices, and complete traceability of each product back to the seed and farm from which it came.

“Pure Shenandoah is a great example of the many ways we are able to help innovative, agriculture-based companies grow and thrive in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I am pleased to see continued job creation and investment in Virginia’s industrial hemp industry and excited for the new market opportunities the industry is creating for our farmers.”

“Industrial hemp is gaining momentum across the country, and we are excited for Virginia to be a player in this up-and-coming industry,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Pure Shenandoah will provide quality jobs and enable the Commonwealth’s hemp growers to source extraction and processing within Virginia, further benefiting our economy and agricultural ecosystem.”

As part of its strategic marketing efforts, Pure Shenandoah is a participating member of the Virginia’s Finest® program. Created more than 30 years ago with more than 500 participating companies, this program helps consumers know they are purchasing top-quality Virginia-produced specialty food products whenever they see the classic blue and red VA check mark logo.

“We are honored to receive these funds and to work with such influential state programs that are helping push the industrial hemp industry forward in the Commonwealth,” said Pure Shenandoah CEO Tanner Johnson. “With this support, we will continue to educate and provide safe and effective products to consumers. We are excited to do our part and help expand the future of industrial hemp and all of its potential.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) and Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Rockingham County and the Rockingham County Economic Development Authority to secure this project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund for the project, which Rockingham County will match with local funds. Funding and services to support the company’s job creation will be provided through VEDP’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Rockingham County is pleased with the announcement of 24 new jobs and the investment of $3.3 million in eastern Rockingham County,” said Chairman of the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors Bill Kyger. “This is a new and exciting industry that offers a great opportunity to diversify the agriculture base of the county for the future.”

“We should never forget or take for granted Virginia’s tremendous agricultural heritage and its economic viability that continues to push Virginia forward,” said Senator Emmett Hanger. “I am pleased the AFID funds will further promote industrial hemp and that Pure Shenandoah is committed to exclusively sourcing Virginia agriculture products for this project. Of course, there is no better county to partner with on this funding than the number one agricultural county in the Commonwealth, Rockingham County. We are proud of our deep agricultural roots here in Virginia and this economic announcement adds yet another facet to our diverse agriculture operations.”

Dr. Rand Paul Introduces HEMP Act To Relieve Unnecessary Constraints On Hemp Industry, Provide Transparency And Certainty

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) continued his efforts to address Kentucky hemp farmers’ concerns with federal overreach and bring clarity, transparency, and certainty to regulation by introducing the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2020.

In response to concerns raised by Kentucky hemp farmers and processors, Dr. Paul’s HEMP Act would change the legal definition of hemp to raise the THC limit from 0.3% to 1%. Currently, any hemp crops testing above 0.3% have to be destroyed.

The legislation would require testing of the final hemp-derived product instead of the hemp flower or plant itself, as the 15-day window for testing the hemp flower or plant does not take potential testing backlogs, lack of personnel to collect samples, harvesting time, or environmental factors that farmers cannot control into account.

Dr. Paul’s HEMP Act would also protect legitimate hemp farmers, processors, and transporters by requiring hemp shipments to contain a copy of the seed certificate showing the hemp was grown from 1% THC seed, and it would address current uncertainty by defining a margin of error for testing THC levels. Neither current law nor the USDA’s interim final rule provide such a margin.

“For years, I’ve led the fight in Washington to restore one of Kentucky’s most historically vital crops by legalizing industrial hemp. We achieved a hard-won victory, but there is still work to do to prevent the federal government from weighing down our farmers with unnecessary bureaucratic micromanaging. My legislation will help this growing industry reach its full economic potential, and I am proud the bill has strong support all the way from local Kentucky farmers and activists to national groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation,” said Dr. Paul.

“The U.S. hemp industry has had its share of roadblocks, but we continue to push forward and make changes that will help hemp producers thrive. Senator Paul’s HEMP Act has the potential to improve upon the highest priority issues for hemp growers, processors, and labs, while making sure to keep our consumers safe as well. We are grateful for the continued support from our federal delegation and ask that folks at home call their Congressional representatives to ask for their support,” said Katie Moyer, Owner of Kentucky Hemp Works. 

“We are so excited to hear about Senator Paul’s H.E.M.P. Act, which will help farmers, processors and retailers in our young hemp industry. We believe that loosening up some important interstate business requirements are a much-needed step toward more prosperous times in the hemp economy,” said Kentucky Hemp Association President Tate Hall and Vice President Jana Groda. 

“We appreciate Sen. Paul’s leadership and support for hemp farmers in Kentucky and across the United States. The HEMP Act makes critical improvements that will better allow farmers to successfully grow and profit from hemp,” said Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra.

Dr. Paul has been a leading voice for removing government restrictions on hemp, and his past efforts, including championing legislation, testifying before the Kentucky legislature, and advocating for Kentucky farmers in Washington, have helped ensure Kentucky can rebuild its hemp industry and push forward to a prosperous future. You can find a video detailing his efforts HERE.

You can read Dr. Paul’s HEMP Act of 2020 HERE, and you can find background and further details in a one-pager HERE.

Hemp Producers In Delaware Must Register Growing Sites Annually

DELAWARE:  The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) is reminding hemp producers to register their growing sites using the annual Growing Site Registration form to register available online before February 1.

Also, any individual who intends to grow, cultivate or distribute hemp, including transplants, seedlings, or clones, must apply to be a Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program Producer, with renewal required every three years. As described in the Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program Participant Guide online at https://de.gov/hemp, there are also requirements for processors and handlers.

Under the Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program, the Delaware Department of Agriculture is responsible for regulating hemp production. The Department does not have oversight of the selling of hemp products or the businesses marketing these products, including any CBD product.

In 2020, Delaware had 13 registered producers with 75 acres registered for outdoor production and 34,000 square feet of indoor production space.

As producers begin the process of applying for the first time or renewing their growing sites for 2021, DDA issued the following reminders:

  • When purchasing seed, all seed is still subject to the Federal Seed Act and Delaware Seed Law, which regulate seed tags and labeling.
  • Producers can designate one person as an Authorized Representative with authority to be present at sample collection and correspond with the Department. This person must be indicated on the Producer Application and must submit a Criminal History Report.
  • The Department requires only one Criminal History Report if applying for more than one license type. Criminal History Reports are to be submitted at the time of application or renewal and must be dated no more than four months prior.

The 2021 Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program is fee-based as outlined in the Participant Guide and applications found online at https://de.gov/hemp. Producers, processors, and handlers who have questions about Delaware’s Domestic Hemp Production Program should email DDA_HempProgram@delaware.gov.

Hemp, Inc. Settles Longstanding Lawsuit With Securities And Exchange Commission

NEVADA:  Hemp, Inc. announced that it has settled the longstanding 5-year old SEC civil case. Hemp, Inc. and Bruce Perlowin have agreed to settle the civil suit against them without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations. Perlowin is transitioning from CEO to Chief Visionary Consultant (CVC) and will not be managing the day-to-day tasks of the company. He will, however, remain as the true visionary Hemp, Inc. shareholders have come to admire and respect.

The Company remains committed to its longstanding goals and will be aggressively moving forward to add new blood and new ideas to the management of the company. In the first quarter 2021, Hemp, Inc. will expand its knowledge base by bringing in a new CEO and new members of its Board of Directors.

UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs Votes On Recommendations For Cannabis And Cannabis-Related Substances

AUSTRIA:  December 2, 2020 – Today, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) took a number of decisions on the international control of cannabis and cannabis-related substances.

Cannabis and cannabis-related substances have for many years been included in the schedules of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 as amended by the 1972 Protocol (Schedule I and IV: cannabis and cannabis resin; Schedule I: extracts and tinctures of cannabis), as well as in the Schedules of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 (Schedule I: tetrahydrocannabinol (six isomers of delta-9- tetrahydrocannabinol); Schedule II: dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol)). The inclusion in a specific schedule determines the control measures that States parties are required to apply to the respective substances.

In January 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a series of recommendations to change the scope of control of cannabis and cannabis-related substances. After intensive considerations (more information below), the Commission took action today on these recommendations.

WHO recommendation to delete cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention, but to maintain it in Schedule I of the 1961 Convention: The Commission decided by 27 votes to 25 and with one abstention to follow this recommendation. Cannabis and cannabis resin will accordingly be deleted from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention. They remain in Schedule I of the 1961 Convention and thus remain subject to all levels of control of the 1961 Convention.

WHO recommendation to move dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and tetrahydrocannabinol (six isomers of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which are psychoactive components of cannabis, from the respective schedules of the 1971 Convention to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention, which already includes cannabis and cannabis resin: The Commission rejected by 23 votes to 28 with 2 abstentionsthe recommendation to add dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention. Due to the conditionalities included in the WHO recommendations, the Commission therefore did not vote on the recommendation relating to the deletion of dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) from the 1971 Convention. It also did not vote on the recommendation to move tetrahydrocannabinol (six isomers of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) from the 1971 Convention to the 1961 Convention.

WHO recommendation to delete extracts and tinctures of cannabis from Schedule I of the 1961 Convention: The Commission decided by 24 votes to 27 and with 2 abstentions not to adopt this recommendation.

WHO recommendation to add a footnote to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention to read “Preparations containing predominantly cannabidiol and not more than 0.2 per cent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are not under international control”: The Commission decided by 6 to 43 votes and with 4 abstentions not to add such a footnote.

Lastly, WHO recommendation to add certain preparations of dronabinol to Schedule III of the 1961 Convention: As the Commission had predetermined in a procedural decision, adopted at the beginning of the meeting, this recommendation was deemed rejected, due to the rejection of the recommendation to add dronabinol and its stereoisomers (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention.

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.

Canopy Growth Expands Beverage Portfolio with Launch of First CBD-Infused Beverage Line Quatreau

New Product Line Features A Range of Naturally Flavoured Cannabis-Infused Sparkling Waters In Both CBD-only and Balanced (CBD + THC) Offerings

CANADA: Canopy Growth, a world-leading diversified cannabis, hemp, and cannabis device company, today announced the launch of Quatreau, a new line of premium CBD-infused beverages. The naturally flavoured sparkling waters are Canopy Growth’s first CBD-infused drinks, with both CBD-only and “balanced” (CBD + THC) offerings available in Canada. Launched on the heels of incredible growth in sales from the Company’s THC-infused beverages, released earlier this year, Canopy Growth is uniquely positioned to win market share in the CBD beverage space.

“We are proud to debut our first CBD-infused beverage brand in Canada, where we already lead the cannabis-infused beverage category, at a price point that delivers both quality and value to consumers,” said David Klein, CEO, Canopy Growth.  “We created Quatreau as an alternative to sugary, caffeinated beverages or even alcohol. With both CBD-only and “balanced” (CBD + THC) offerings in four natural  flavours, Quatreau meets the needs of discerning cannabis consumers.”

Canopy Growth plans to continue developing category leading brands that are driven by consumer insights, product-focused, with industry leading scientific formulation. Building on the successful launch and strong sales of THC-infused cannabis beverage brands Tweed, Houseplant and Deep Space, Canopy is poised to continue leading the cannabis space with the launch of Quatreau CBD-infused sparkling water, a consistent CBD product in a beverage format that is familiar to consumers.

Quatreau’s naturally flavoured Canadian product line includes four offerings named:

  • Quatreau Cucumber + Mint (contains 20 mg of CBD and < 1 mg of THC)
  • Quatreau Passion Fruit + Guava (contains 20 mg of CBD and < 1 mg of THC)
  • Quatreau Ginger + Lime (contains 2 mg of CBD and 2 mg of THC)
  • Quatreau Blueberry + Açai (contains 2 mg of CBD and 2 mg of THC)

For more information, visit quatreauwater.com