Last week, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its interim final rule for hemp. The much-awaited regulations came after months of pressure from stakeholders to regulate the hemp-CBD industry, with some even calling it the Wild West. The Farm Bill of December 2018 legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp, but the industry lacked a formal regulatory structure.
Days after the publishing of the final rule, the USDA released a video providing a basic overview of the regulations. A statement from the USDA said that “The U.S Department of Agriculture has posted a webinar to provide an overview of the U.S Domestic Hemp Program, which was established to create a consistent regulatory framework around hemp production throughout the United States.”
It adds that “The webinar discusses the differences between hemp-related provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill and 2018 Farm Bill, and provides details of the requirements included in the interim final rule published on October 31, 2019.”
A public comment period where anyone can weigh in on the USDA’s final ruling is currently underway, and the video notes that more than 200 people have submitted their comments so far. Licensing for hemp business is also discussed. The USDA will start approving regulatory plans submitted by States and tribes soon after the comment period ends.
Growers in states that don’t submit plans for evaluation but still allow hemp cultivation will have to wait for the USDA to release general guidelines that they can use. States or tribes that have banned the cultivation of hemp cannot stop the movement of hemp products through their territories.
According to the USDA, the draft regulations are set to expire two years after the effective date, and that period will serve as a chance to test drive the interim rules to help guide any adjustments that are made in the final rule.
Before the USDA released its final rule on hemp, the industry was wildly unregulated. Institutions such as banks and insurance companies that provide essential services were reluctant to do business with hemp farmers, fearing legal ramifications. While the farmers can finally breathe easy, other players in the hemp industry are still waiting for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate CBD products in the industry.
However, according to former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, it might take several years for the FDA to come up with rules for using CBD as a food additive unless Congress steps in. for now, analysts believe that hemp industry actors like VPR Brands LP (OTCQB: VPRB) and Neutra Corp. (OTC: NTRR) are glad that a formal structure under which hemp can be cultivated is now available.
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