When the USDA released its Interim Final Rule for U.S. domestic hemp production last Halloween, a number of provisions raised significant concerns to hemp farmers and the industry. High on that list was the requirement that all hemp must be tested only at DEA registered labs. Because there are only 47 such labs across the country that meet that qualification – with many states having none or only one -- such a requirement would have led to significant bottlenecks in testing, stifling the growth of our emerging industry.
The US Hemp Roundtable responded in both formal comments and in private meetings with USDA Undersecretary Greg Ibach and other senior USDA leadership. More than 4700 other commenters joined the battle as well.
And there’s great news – you raised your voice – and the USDA listened...and acted.
Yesterday, Undersecretary Ibach announced that USDA and DEA have reached an agreement to remove the requirement for hemp farmers to have their crops tested in DEA-registered laboratories. Other senior USDA officials have signaled other changes may come soon, including reforming some of the more onerous testing and sampling requirements, and permitting on-farm disposal and re-use of “hot” hemp instead of requiring destruction.
We are excited to understand that, despite the fits and starts of a new industry, the USDA is listening to our concerns, and is acting on our requests.
Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks. And remember, when we raise our voices, we win!