The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will be delaying proposed regulations that would have required all hemp crops have their THC levels tested at DEA approved labs.
According to a statement, labs won’t have to register with the DEA to sample hemp from the 2020 crop. Hemp will still have to be tested at state-approved labs, and the USDA expects labs to register with the DEA in 2021. The delay is in response to complaints that there aren’t enough DEA registered labs to test all of the hemp samples at harvest time.
“We were able to reach an agreement (with DEA) that we are going to be able to provide some relief from the laboratory certification process for this crop year,” said Greg Ibach, undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture meeting. “DEA will still expect states to work with their laboratories to try to achieve certification for the 2021 crop year.”
Colorado officials are praising the decision, saying that the ruling allows the hemp industry to thrive. Along with Kentucky, Oregon and Montana, Colorado is one of the biggest hemp producers in the U.S.
“Colorado is leading the way when it comes to hemp production and cultivation,” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. “I’m relieved that the USDA and (Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue) are recognizing the concerns that Colorado raised in our comments on the interim final rule. This move will help create more job opportunities, will help our farmers and our economy.”
The USDA also announced relaxed rules for hemp crops that test too high in THC by allowing farmers to plow under or compost the illicit plants instead of destroying them. Earlier this year, the USDA approved hemp production in new states in tribal areas.