USDA secretary calls hemp rules a ‘draft,’ sparking industry optimism
Published March 18, 2020 | By
Hemp farmers and industry members cheered in late February when federal agriculture officials lifted enforcement action requiring that hemp be tested in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-registered labs and the disposal portion of the interim final rule.
Now they might have reason to cheer again, according to industry insiders.
That’s because Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Congress last week that the interim final rules regulating federal hemp production may be considered a draft, which means their enforcement could be delayed.
Perdue’s comments about the USDA hemp rules being a draft make a big difference to hemp producers such as Rick Fox, CEO of Meristem Farms in Vermont.
Fox, who formerly worked at the USDA for 15 years, said that Perdue’s acknowledgement that the interim final rule is a draft plan means states have another full growing season to use older hemp regulations.
“There is an obligation at this point to stop and reset that one-year clock,” Fox told Hemp Industry Daily, “and it cannot start again until the secretary has established the plan, and that will be when the rule is finalized.” "
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