USDA Hemp Rules Await White House Approval

It has emerged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has completed drafting the national hemp cultivation rules and submitted them to the White House for approval before they can be released to the public.

The hemp industry has been waiting anxiously for those rules. The federal agency had initially promised that it would have them published by August 1, but delays over establishing a national testing protocol affected that timeline and the USDA promised to have those rules in place in time for the 2020 planting season.

The rules are now ready, and they were submitted to the Office of Budget and Management at the White House. This office reviews each policy or set of regulations that are proposed or picked for implementation during any presidential administration.

If the White House gives the rules a nod, then the USDA is likely to publish them within a few weeks.

If the rules are eventually published, they will be implemented on a temporary basis for twelve months. During this time, the different states in the country will adhere to them during the 2020 cultivation season.

The 12-month period will also allow different stakeholders, such as hemp farmers, state agriculture departments and research organizations to scrutinize the rules and identify any gaps that need to be filled. The public will also be allowed to point out which provisions are difficult to implement or make hemp cultivation unduly cumbersome.

Those comments and observations will then be considered by the USDA and those that can be incorporated in the national rules will be added so that the final rules are published.

Observers say this method of rulemaking is a good one because it allows the draft rules to be tested and modified before they are made permanent. Otherwise, if the federal agency released permanent rules before allowing them to be “test-driven” then it would be very costly in terms of time and other resources to amend those permanent rules once they are published in the federal register.

Under the Farm Bill, the USDA was mandated to draft hemp cultivation rules while also allowing states to make their own rules that follow the general guidelines contained in the national rules.

This means that the USDA can only start approving state hemp rules once the national rules are out, so all the states that have already submitted their hemp rules to the USDA could still amend those rules if they depart from the national rules in key areas, such as how hemp is to be tested.

Experts are of the opinion that different hemp industry players, such as Therma Bright Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) and TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8), will be relieved to see the USDA hemp rules since these are pivotal in enabling hemp cultivators to be fairly uniform in what they do.

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