USDA issues much needed guidance on hemp production.
The United States Department of Agriculture has released its initial guidance through an interim rule, the Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program (link to the full text). The rule is part of the system mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill governing hemp production and should be followed by FDA guidance and a flood of state statutory and regulatory rulings regarding the marketing, sale, and distribution of hemp and hemp-based products like CBDs.
The rule regarding hemp production programs will likely become the final rule, but is technically emplaced for only two years and gets replaced by the final rule. This new guidance on hemp production lays out the provisions for the USDA to approve the states and tribal plans for the domestic production of hemp. The guidance also details rules for places where hemp production is legal but a USDA approved plan is not yet in place.
Under this guidance, the state or tribal plans require reporting and documenting information such as company ownership (criminal history information as well), the certification requirements for labs that test to ensure THC levels remain at the less than 0.3% level, sampling and testing requirements, and compliance procedures for producers.
Interestingly, the rule creates a term “acceptable hemp THC level” to help in categorizing the margin of error in testing for THC levels.
Public comment is open through the end of the year.