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Proposed USDA regulations will harm America's hemp industry, comment now before it's too late

Alex Cannect

New Member
After the 2018 Farm Bill was signed, the USDA released a draft of the Interim Final Rule on October 29, 2019. These proposed USDA regulations will no doubt wreak havoc on America's hemp industry, so I am calling on fellow hemp farmers and hemp industry professionals to formally register their concerns and recommended amendments before the January 29, 2020 deadline. After this date, the USDA will being to finalize the regulations. If you do not comment, you will not be able to challenge these rules later, so please make your voices heard.

Phytonyx summed up their concerns with the USDA's interim final rule brilliantly, so I am linking to their article here for you to read if you are so inclined. I'll summarize the main concerns below:

1. The pre-harvest hemp sampling procedures to test for total THC content restrict pre-harvest sampling to DEA registered labs only, which are few and far between. This will create costly pre-harvest sampling bottlenecks for thousands of American hemp farmers.

2. The USDA interim rule restricts the plant sample to only the top two inches of the hemp flower, which contain higher concentrations of THC than the rest of the plant. If you are harvesting hemp for biomass, this is not an accurate representation of the total THC level of the plant.

3. The current USDA rule limits farmers to 15 days from the time the pre-harvest sample was taken to await the results and then harvest their entire crop. A 15-day window is ridiculous and unreasonable, this will create bottlenecks and put farmers at risk of losing their entire crop. Waiting on the DEA registered labs alone could easily take an entire two weeks (if not longer).

4. The USDA’s adherence to a strict 0.3% total THC limit for hemp is not based on sound science, but rather on an arcane Canadian hemp standard implemented for the hemp market in the 90s. Let's be real, nobody is getting high off hemp. The USDA should adopt a more reasonable 1% total THC limit

5. The proposed regulations set up a 'three strike' policy where a hemp farmer that tests above 0.5% THC will need to destroy their crop and receive a strike. If a farmer receives 3 strikes in a five-year period, they could get barred from growing hemp for five years. It's ludicrous that farmers would be penalized for going inadvertently hot, especially with the strict 0.3% THC limit and the bottlenecks they are creating in the system.

You can read the Interim Final Rule and comment here. Please do so before it's too late, you only have until January 29th to make your voice heard and reserve your right to challenge these rules later.
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