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USDA Requires Six States to Resubmit Industrial Hemp Plans

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Six states that have sent regulatory plans for hemp cultivation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to resubmit their proposals with specific changes.

The states of California, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Utah were told that their initial industrial hemp rule proposals would need to be altered in order to be considered for approval. The proposals were originally submitted to the USDA on June 18.

Regarding the case of Colorado, the USDA and Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) have stated that the proposal was not rejected, but needs further revision. “The Colorado state hemp plan has not been rejected. USDA has reviewed the draft Colorado hemp plan, provided edits and is continuing to work with Colorado state officials,” a USDA spokesperson told Westword. In this stage of the revision, the CDA stated that it could not discuss the details of the negotiation just yet. 

Marijuana Moment reports one example of these rule differences in Colorado’s case. While state regulators proposed hemp testing to be conducted at independent facilities, the USDA requires that it be tested at facilities that are approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration. This is likely the case for the other five states whose submissions are labeled as “pending” on the USDA website.

Earlier this month, the USDA approved plans submitted by Maryland and the Lower Sioux Indian Community, making for a total of 55 “territories and tribes” whose industrial hemp plans have been approved.

There is a common opinion among regulators that the 2014 Farm Bill, which is known to be much more flexible, should be renewed rather than replaced when it expires on November 1, 2020. Congressional leaders like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed his belief that the best course of action lies in a more flexible version of the 2014 Farm Bill, with a delay set for 2022.

Some authorities are unwilling to put forth further effort at this time, due to the challenges of the USDA’s current plan. Regulators in New York have announced that they will no longer be pursuing hemp regulations because of “unrealistic” and “unreasonable burdens on growers and any state interested in administering a compliant program.”

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