Vicente Sederberg Representing Hemp Industry In Federal Lawsuit Against The DEA

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  A national hemp trade association and a South Carolina-based hemp company have filed a federal lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration, challenging a rule the agency implemented last month that could have far-reaching consequences for the U.S. hemp industry.

The petition filed Friday afternoon in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asks the court to review an interim final rule, “Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018,” which was promulgated by the DEA on August 21. The lawsuit claims the rule is unlawful because it exceeds the DEA’s legal authority and violates the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the farm bill. The petitioners also argue that acting DEA administrator Timothy Shea, who is individually named as a respondent along with the agency, issued the interim final rule without observing procedures required by law.

The DEA’s interim final rule clarifies that all hemp derivatives or extracts exceeding 0.3% THC shall remain Schedule I controlled substances. This could be interpreted to include intermediate hemp derivatives that temporarily exceed 0.3% during processing, but contain less than 0.3% in final products. As such, it improperly establishes the DEA’s authority over legal hemp activities, which is contrary to the plain language and intent of the 2018 farm bill, according to the petitioners.

The petitioners in the lawsuit are RE Botanicals, Inc. and the Hemp Industries Association.

RE Botanicals, Inc. is a hemp manufacturer and retailer based in South Carolina. In 2019, it acquired Palmetto Synergistic Research LLC (dba Palmetto Harmony), which was founded to provide lawful, reliable, and high-quality hemp products.

“We are a small, woman-operated company,” said Janel Ralph, CEO of RE Botanicals. “The DEA’s new rule could put us out of business overnight.”

HIA is a trade association that represents approximately 1,050-member hemp businesses, including approximately 300 hemp processors and individuals involved in, or impacted by, the manufacture, distribution and/or sale of hemp extract and other products lawfully derived from industrial hemp. HIA successfully challenged DEA rulemaking in 2003, when the agency amended federal regulations to include naturally occurring THC within the definition of “synthetic THC,” thereby treating it as a Schedule I substance despite it falling outside the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act.

“When Congress passed the 2018 farm bill, it explicitly carved hemp and its derivatives out of the Controlled Substances Act so that hemp can be regulated as an agricultural commodity,” said HIA President Rick Trojan. “The DEA’s interim final rule could create substantial barriers to the legal manufacturing of hemp-derived products, a critical component of the hemp supply chain, and devastate the entire hemp industry. Although the DEA states that is not its intention, the rule must be amended to ensure hemp remains an agricultural crop, as Congress intended.”

The petitioners are represented by leading hemp industry attorneys at Vicente Sederberg LLP, Kight Law Office PC, and Hoban Law Group, along with appellate attorneys from Yetter Coleman LLP, which has received national attention for its work against the DEA in the realm of cannabis research.

“The DEA implemented this rule without following proper rule-making procedures, such as providing the public with notice and the opportunity to comment,” said Shawn Hauser, a partner at Vicente Sederberg LLP and chair of the firm’s hemp and cannabinoids practice. “The petitioners believe legal action is necessary to protect the lawful U.S. hemp industry that Congress intended to establish when it enacted the 2018 farm bill.”

Anavii Market Offers Brand New Line Of Martha Stewart CBD Products

​Anavii Market, a premier online retailer of verified CBD oil, today announced the unveiling of a much-anticipated brand of Martha Stewart CBD. The new collection consists of six unique hemp products, including CBD tinctures, gummies and softgels, all developed and curated by Martha Stewart herself in partnership with Canopy Growth Corporation.

This is the first-ever CBD product launch by the lifestyle enthusiast in collaboration with Canopy Growth, which is a world-renowned CBD company.

Anavii Market is thrilled to team up with Canopy Growth in selling Martha Stewart’s brand new collection of CBD oil.

“Bringing quality and pure hemp wellness products to America is our mission at Anavii Market, and we are happy to partner with Martha and Canopy to help spread the good news about CBD to their networks,” said Jason Amatucci, co-founder of Anavii Market.

Starting today, customers are able to enjoy the exciting new flavors that Martha Stewart specially designed herself. This new range of products incorporates the most flavorful side of CBD, as well as Martha’s drive to create only the best quality products made from the purest hemp.

Buyers are welcomed to try Martha Stewart CBD Tincture, which is a concentrated blend of CBD oil extracted from the highest quality hemp. CBD tinctures are easy to use and designed to distribute a specific amount of CBD per serving. Each serving contains 25 mL of two exciting, citrusy flavors. These include blood orange and Meyer lemon.

Anavii Market is also offering a delicious assortment of Martha Stewart CBD Gummies. Infused with 99% pure CBD isolate per gummy, these tasty, chewable treats come in two fruit medleys of berry and citrus, and are the perfect size to carry anywhere you go.

Made with only the finest ingredients, Martha Stewart CBD Softgels offer the best quality and consistency of CBD oil on the market. Each softgel contains 25mg of CBD and is made with non-GMO, coconut-derived MCT oil and pure-hemp derived CBD isolate.

All Martha Stewart CBD products have been rigorously lab-tested to ensure that the products contain zero heavy metals, pesticides, solvents and other toxins.

Consumers can purchase each Martha Stewart CBD product through Anavii Market’s online store and get a 20% off discount for a limited time. For more information and updates about the Martha Stewart CBD product launch, follow the Anavii Market blog today.

Botanacor Offers A New “Dry Weight Potency (USDA)” Test

Botanacor Offers a New “Dry Weight Potency (USDA)” Test to Allow Hemp Producers to Achieve USDA Regulatory Compliance

USDA Will Soon Require Hemp Producers to Test Crops for Total THC Calculated on a Dry Weight Basis  

COLORADO: Botanacor Laboratories, the widely recognized leader in accredited testing of hemp biomass and hemp-derived CBD products, today announced that it offers a new test to hemp producers. Responding to new USDA regulations that will soon apply to U.S. states, territories, and tribes, Botanacor can now test hemp biomass for total THC calculated on a dry weight basis.

Offering the industry’s fastest turnaround times for its “moisture corrected” test results, Botanacor provides customers a Certificate of Analysis that includes Measurement Uncertainly for 15 cannabinoids.  Botanacor calculates the total THC using HPLC and accurately accounts for moisture content using the Karl Fischer Method for advanced titration.

Botanacor’s new test for total THC calculated on a dry weight basis recognizes that THC content is expressed as a percent of biomass weight.  However, moisture can add weight and distort the THC content calculation, with implications for product safety, consistency, potency, and regulatory compliance.  Only total THC calculated on a dry weight basis provides an accurate THC content across any type of hemp sample submitted for testing, no matter the initial moisture content of the samples submitted to Botanacor. (For background, link to the USDA Interim Final Rule.)

“Botanacor is known nationally for rapidly developing the validated tests required for our hemp-producing customers’ regulatory compliance,” said Mike Branvold, President of Botanacor.  “This new Dry Weight Potency (USDA) test is another example of Botanacor standing up a test in anticipation of USDA regulation to give our customers a competitive edge.”

USDA Approves Hemp Production Plans For Maine, Missouri, The Cow Creek Band Of Umpqua Tribe Of Indians

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the approval of hemp production plans under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program for Maine, Missouri and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, bringing the total number of approved plans to 58.

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
Iowa Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Kansas Chippewa Cree Tribe
Louisiana Colorado River Indian Tribes
Maryland Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Massachusetts Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
Minnesota Fort Belknap Indian Community
Montana Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska
Nebraska Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
New Jersey La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes
Ohio Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
Pennsylvania Lower Sioux Indian Community
South Carolina Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida
Tennessee Oglala Sioux Tribe
Texas Otoe-Missouria Tribe
Washington Pala Band of Mission Indians
West Virginia Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma
Wyoming Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
Puerto Rico Pueblo of Picuris Tribe
U.S. Virgin Islands Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Rosebud Sioux Tribe
Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
Santa Rosa Cahuilla Indian Tribe
Santee Sioux Nation
Seneca Nation of Indians
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
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.

Colorado Senator Gardner Calls On USDA To Protect Hemp Industry

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay implementation of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Interim Final Rule (IFR), which, as currently drafted, threatens the industrial hemp industry’s potential for Colorado’s farmers and seriously undermines this growing industry.

“The United States is now poised to transition from being a world-leading hemp importer to a world-leading hemp producer, and many look to Colorado farmers for guidance and clarity for the industry because Colorado is home to one of the longest-running state hemp programs,” wrote Senator Gardner. “I have worked with my colleagues and state officials to share with the USDA Colorado’s hemp experience, encourage greater flexibility for farmers, and encourage innovation of the industry. This includes echoing comments submitted by the State of Colorado during the IFR comment period.”

“I appreciate your leadership to the nation’s farmers throughout this extraordinary challenging time. Given these challenges, it is hard to overlook the great promise that the industrial hemp industry could provide to farmers if regulation is done in the proper manner. I encourage you to delay the final implementation of the IFR and work directly with state regulators and the industry to ensure workable rules that allow the industry to thrive,” Gardner concluded.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Secretary Perdue:

I write regarding the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Interim Final Rule (IFR), which, as currently drafted, threatens the industrial hemp industry’s potential for Colorado’s farmers and seriously undermines this burgeoning industry. I join the growing chorus of my colleagues, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, and the National Industrial Hemp Council in requesting that you use your secretarial discretion to delay implementation of the final rule in order to address several outstanding issues.

The nation’s hemp industry was given an enormous boost when hemp was de-scheduled in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The United States is now poised to transition from being a world-leading hemp importer to a world-leading hemp producer, and many look to Colorado farmers for guidance and clarity for the industry because Colorado is home to one of the longest-running state hemp programs. Since 2014, Colorado’s program has grown to include about 2,600 active registrations. In 2019, there were nearly 90,000 acres of registered hemp production in the state. Colorado farmers have been at the forefront of the hemp industry, driving change and innovation across the country. The state carefully balances regulatory oversight and economic support, allowing it to have a thriving industry and be a leader to other states.

I have worked with my colleagues and state officials to share with the USDA Colorado’s hemp experience, encourage greater flexibility for farmers, and encourage innovation of the industry. This includes echoing comments submitted by the State of Colorado during the IFR comment period. Despite my communications, there remain serious concerns about how the IFR will impact the Colorado industry.

I appreciate your leadership to the nation’s farmers throughout this extraordinary challenging time. Given these challenges, it is hard to overlook the great promise that the industrial hemp industry could provide to farmers if regulation is done in the proper manner. I encourage you to delay the final implementation of the IFR and work directly with state regulators and the industry to ensure workable rules that allow the industry to thrive.

Ecofibre Acquires TexInnovate To Accelerate Commercialization Of Hemp Black

AUSTRALIA:  Ecofibre Limited has completed the acquisition of TexInnovate, a portfolio of five businesses with deep technical expertise across a broad range of high-performance textile disciplines for a total consideration of $21 million comprising 50% in cash and 50% in shares , a news release said.

Ecofibre Chairman Barry Lambert said, “I congratulate our CEO Eric Wang and his team for completing the acquisition of such an important asset that will underpin the future growth and success of Hemp Black.”

“On  behalf  of  the  Board,  I  would  like  to  welcome  Jeff Bruner  and  his  highly  skilled  team and look forward to their continued success as part of the Ecofibre family.”

Ecofibre  CEO  Eric  Wang  stated, “Hemp  Black’s  vision  is to improve  our  global  environment  by embedding its  sustainable  technology in  a wide  range  of  industries, including high-performance apparel, personal protection, military, healthcare and travel.”

“This is a bold vision, but we have strong conviction that Hemp Black’s value proposition resonates across industries and geographies. Our initial focus will be on specific segments to ensure we deliver on shareholder commitments and grow responsibly.”

The  combined  business  is  well  positioned  to  be  a  reliable,  high quality  supply  chain  partner  for customers who place a high value on corporate responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Ecofibre is a provider of hemp products in the United States and Australia. In  the  United  States,  the Ananda  Health  is  the  #1  provider  of  hemp-derived  CBD  for  retail pharmacies.    The  Company produces   nutraceutical   products   for   human   and   pet   consumption,   as   well   as   topical   creams   and   salves.

The  Company  also  supplies  its  leading  Ananda  Hemp  CBD products to Australians via the SAS B program. In Australia, the Company produces 100% Australian grown and processed hemp food products including protein powders, de-hulled hemp seed and hemp oil.

The Company is also developing innovative hemp-based products in textiles and composite materials in the United States.

NY Senator Schumer Calls On USDA To Halt Hemp Reg Implementations

Schumer: Amend Hemp Regulations And Let Budding Industry Take Flight In Upstate NY

NEW YORK:  After successfully pushing for an extended comment period to allow Upstate New York hemp farmers to share their concerns with the final rule, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay the issuance of a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program final rule until 2022 and allow hemp growers and producers across the country and in Upstate New York to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program regulations until that time. Schumer said with the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic across all sectors, implementing additional regulations would crush the budding hemp industry.

“When it comes to an industry as promising as industrial hemp in Upstate New York, the feds must do everything they can to nurture its potential. Regulating this rapidly-emerging industry is a must, but the timing of new regulations is important and the current economic crisis must be considered,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today I’m urging USDA to delay their issuance of a final rule until 2022 so the hemp industry across the country and in Upstate New York has a chance to grow and create good-paying jobs at a time when jobs are needed the most. Delaying new regulations will help pull New York along in the recovery process as the nation deals with the impacts of the pandemic.”

Allan Gandelman, President of New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association said, “There are over 700 registered hemp farmers across New York who would be negatively affected by the USDA’s Interim Final Rule on hemp. The costs and bureaucracy of implementing the new rules as written create unnecessary financial burdens on farmers and our state agencies. The existing hemp pilot program has been sufficient in making sure farmers are complaint with all testing and public safety protocols. We would like to see the pilot program extended until 2022 and the USDA modify the program to let hemp become a widespread agricultural commodity like Congress intended by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Schumer explained, prior to the pandemic, the industrial hemp industry had begun to show significant growth in New York, adding a considerable number of good-paying jobs and bringing in significant revenue to the state, making it an indispensable crop in New York’s agricultural future. Operating under the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp farmers have reported difficulty integrating the Interim Final Rules into their operations, Specifically, Schumer said, the cost of complying with the Rules has proven to be suffocating for the emerging industry. Compliance costs for reporting alone would be $17,363.40 according to USDA calculations, and testing would add over $700 per sample.

The senator said these costs are simply too high for the budding industry to shoulder at a time when New York and the entire country is experiencing an economic crisis. Additionally, Schumer noted, implementing the Interim Final Rules now, also requires states to alter their Pilot Program budgets to meet standards, something which states slammed with COVID-related issues simply cannot spare the time and resources for.

Schumer also pointed out in light of COVID concerns, the timing and testing outlined in the Interim Final Rules would likely push farmers to rush harvests and increase the number of people working in facilities at once, leading to higher risk of COVID transmission among workers. The senator says that delaying implementation until January 2022 and allowing states to continue operating under the 2014 Farm Bill will address these issues, protecting both the hemp industry in New York and farm workers from potential COVID spread.

Senator Schumer’s letter to USDA Secretary Perdue appears below:

Dear Secretary Perdue,

I write in regard to deep concerns that USDA’s U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Interim Final Rules will hinder the advancement of the hemp industry and create significant compliance costs both for State Governments and producers. Despite these concerns being reflected in the numerous comments submitted on behalf of industry trade groups, businesses, and State Agriculture Departments during the extended public comment period, no significant changes were made. As you know, the 2018 Farm Bill removed federal regulatory restrictions from industrial hemp production, manufacturing, and sales with the intent of developing a new agricultural commodity for United States farmers. The timing of implementation of the Interim Final Rules, especially during the COVID crisis, will create extreme disruption in this nascent industry. I ask that you delay the issuance of a final rule until January 2022 and allow states to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program authority until then.

In New York, the industrial hemp industry has started to grow significantly, with new farms and businesses emerging and existing ones expanding operations. This has brought considerably better paying jobs and revenue to Upstate New York, making industrial hemp a critical new part of the state’s agricultural future. However, as industrial hemp farmers and businesses explore the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, they have experienced serious difficulty integrating the Interim Final Rules into their operations. Particularly in the current COVID climate, I see many farmers and processors in New York struggle with incorporating these changes into the existing state Pilot Programs. In a time when farmers and producers struggle with economic uncertainty, the implementation of the Interim Final Rules will create costs without the support of offsetting revenues. USDA calculated compliance costs for reporting alone of $17,363.40 with testing adding approximately an additional $714.50 per sample (see 7 CFR Part 990, 58537 and 58545).

These costs do not just impact businesses across the United States but also state budgets that must alter their Pilot Programs to meet the demands of the Interim Final Rules. With bandwidth completely consumed by COVID concerns, the state regulatory agencies cannot focus on implementation of the Interim Final Rules. At this point, only 19 states have approved plans in place and enforcement efforts will deal a significant economic blow to the industry.

Lastly, I have concerns that the Interim Final Rules will potentially create public health issues in our current COVID environment. As we move into harvest season, farmers will need to operate with as much certainty as possible but timing and testing requirements will likely create bottlenecks that will push farmers to rush harvests. The potential for greater numbers of people working in facilities to meet the rush may create opportunities for COVID to spread among farm workers.

The Interim Final Rules provide a first step in developing regulations for the hemp industry. The critiques from the comment period will provide USDA with areas to consider revisions that further encourage economic opportunity for farmers and producers. However, COVID creates hurdles for states and producers to comply with the Interim Final Rules. Under the circumstances, the Interim Final Rules will harm the very businesses we hoped to help with this new agricultural commodity. We can easily remedy this situation by delaying implementation until January 2022 and allow states to continue under the 2014 Farm Bill until then. This will allow USDA to address some of the more pressing regulatory critiques while giving states and producers additional time to come into compliance.

Once again, I appreciate your efforts to help establish guidelines to develop a thriving American hemp industry. Thank you for your attention to this important matter and please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Sincerely,

Colorado Ag Department Provides State Hemp Plan Status Update

COLORADO:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has requested Colorado clarify and revise certain elements of its State Hemp Management Plan, submitted on June 18, 2020. The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is currently reviewing USDA’s comments and questions and considering revisions as it continues to prioritize representing the needs of the state’s industrial hemp registrants and stakeholders.

“As we have done from day one, CDA is working through the state plan submission and approval process in a careful and comprehensive manner to best serve the needs of Colorado,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “Given the many changes at the federal level, we are working hard to create a stable and sound regulatory environment so that Colorado’s hemp industry can continue to lead the nation.”
Feedback received from numerous stakeholders statewide and over several months contributed to the plan, including input from farmers, processors and product manufacturers, state and local government agencies, healthcare professionals, financial services providers, law enforcement, and academic institutions, as well as consultation with Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes, as part of CDA’s Colorado Hemp Advancement and Management Plan.

South Dakota Department Of Agriculture Submits Hemp Plan To United States Department Of Agriculture

SOUTH DAKOTA: The South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) submitted its plan to regulate industrial hemp in South Dakota to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for final approval.

“I am looking forward to working with industrial hemp producers and processors in South Dakota,” says Derek Schiefelbein, SDDA Industrial Hemp Program Manager. “The SDDA will continue to develop the program while waiting for approval from the USDA. Processors and growers can look for more information for how to apply in the near future.”

The industrial hemp legislation was passed by the South Dakota legislature in 2020 authorizing the SDDA to create a program to regulate the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp. The SDDA has been working to establish the industrial hemp program to support this new industry in the state.

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $32.5 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 132,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect, and preserve South Dakota agriculture for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Nominations Sought for Colorado State Hemp Advisory Committee

COLORADO:The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is seeking member nominations for its Hemp Advisory Committee (HAC). The HAC advises the Department and confers on all matters regarding the regulation of hemp.

Committee members assist the Commissioner of Agriculture and program staff in promulgating rules to carry out the Hemp Act, Title 35, Article 61, and provide advice and consultation to the Commissioner and program staff by reviewing rules, recommending new rules or changes to existing rules. Members also offer advice and consultation on the establishment of an inspection program to determine THC concentration in compliance with the USDA Interim Final Rule and approved Colorado State Hemp Plan.

HAC members meet quarterly and serve two to three year terms. Members may be nominated to serve two successive terms. The committee is comprised of 10 members and there are a number of current openings. Specifically, nominations are sought for the following positions:

  • One member with experience in hemp regulation – to serve until July 31, 2021.
  • One member who is a farmer from a cooperative – to serve until July 31, 2022.
  • One member who is a commercial farmer – to serve until July 31, 2022.
  • One member with experience in seed development and genetics – to serve until July 31, 2022.
  • One representative from a research institution of higher education –  to serve until July 31, 2022.
  • One representative from the cannabinoid industry – to serve until July 31, 2021.

CDA welcomes nominations from those interested in serving from third party Hemp Associations. People from diverse constituencies and communities of color are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due August 31, 2020. The nomination form is available here. Please contact industrialhemp@state.co.us with questions and learn more about CDA’s industrial hemp program here.