The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published the final rule for domestic hemp production.
The USDA on Friday announced the final rule, which incorporates modifications to regulations of the interim final rule (IFR), published on October 31, 2019.
The modifications stem from public comments on the IFR and information gained during the 2020 growing season.
The IFR included details on the review process and criteria for hemp production plans that the USDA receives from states and Native American tribes.
After publication in the Federal Register, the IFR provided a 60-day public comment period, which the USDA extended until January 29, 2020, to give stakeholders additional time to provide feedback.
The USDA opened the comment period again from September 8 to October 8, 2020, to gather additional stakeholder comments, particularly from those who were under IFR regulatory requirements during the 2020 production cycle.
In total, the USDA received approximately 5,900 comments.
“With the publication of this final rule, USDA brings to a close a full and transparent rule-making process that started with a hemp listening session in March 2019,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “USDA staff have taken the information you have provided through three comment periods and from your experiences over a growing season to develop regulations that meet Congressional intent while providing a fair, consistent, science-based process for states, tribes and individual producers.”
Ibach says that USDA staff will continue to conduct education and outreach to help the industry achieve compliance.
Key provisions of the final rule include requirements for keeping records on land used for hemp production, procedures for testing THC concentrations, non-compliant plant disposal procedures, compliance provisions, and protocol for addressing violations.
The USDA’s final rule on domestic hemp production, which becomes effective on March 22, 2021, is available for viewing in the Federal Register.