USDA Issues Rules For Domestic Hemp Production Program

On October 29, 2019, USDA issued an interim final rule for the establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program. The rule implements provisions within the 2018 Farm Bill authorizing the production and transportation of hemp. The rule is effective from October 31, 2019, through November 1, 2021. USDA is accepting comments through December 30, 2019.

The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law December 20, 2018, exempted hemp from the federal list of Schedule l controlled substances and added it to the list of agricultural commodities eligible for crop insurance. It also authorizes producers to grow hemp pursuant to a state, tribal, or federal plan. Under the new Domestic Hemp Production Program (Program), states or tribes may choose to regulate hemp production within their jurisdictions by submitting a plan for approval to the USDA. If a state or tribe chooses not to adopt its own plan, producers may grow hemp in those jurisdictions (if it is otherwise legal to grow) pursuant to a federal plan developed by the USDA. The interim final rule establishes the technical requirements for the Program, specifically setting forth the details for:

  • Licensing
  • Maintaining information on the land on which hemp is produced
  • Testing the THC concentration levels for hemp
  • Disposing of non-compliant plants
  • Compliance provisions
  • Handling violations