USDA Approves Virginia Hemp Regulation Program

Virginia has received official approval to proceed with hemp production regulation.

On Tuesday, December 14, The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had approved its plan to regulate hemp production in the Commonwealth.

Industry Regulation

Starting on January 1, 2022, hemp production in the United States must comply with hemp provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill and USDA’s domestic hemp production regulations.

State agriculture departments with USDA-approved plans must also regulate hemp production in compliance with the Farm Bill’s provisions and USDA’s domestic hemp production regulations.

If the federal government ever offers flexibility in hemp production regulation, VDACS says it will consider implementing program modifications to benefit hemp growers in Virginia.

VDACS Commissioner Brad Copenhaver says, while new federal hemp regulations require adjustments to VDACS’ industrial hemp program, the intent is to continue a productive and supportive relationship with Virginia’s hemp producers.

“By operating this program under USDA’s new requirements, we aim to provide our hemp industry with certainty and parity, as all of the nation’s hemp producers are now expected to comply with the same set of rules,” says Copenhaver. “We look forward to continued collaboration with stakeholders in support of Virginia’s hemp industry.”

Changes to VDACS’ current hemp production regulations in response to new federal rules include requiring industrial hemp grower registration applicants to submit a criminal history report to VDACS.

Another change requires all registered industrial hemp growers to test each hemp lot for THC 30 days before harvest through private sampling agents and testing laboratories.

VDACS says exceptions may be available to institutions of higher education, researchers, and some growers producing fiber hemp under a contract with an industrial processing facility.

VDACS says it has begun communicating directly with registered industrial hemp growers regarding the new requirements and will release applications for trained sampling agents and testing laboratories.