While hemp is finally legal to grow in the U.S., hemp growers are currently worried about the future of their craft due to pending federal policy that could create new draft regulations that would cripple the industry.
According to The Associated Press, cultivators are concerned that the heavy hand of the government will regulate things too much. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that currently, 20 percent of hemp lots would fail under the proposed regulations, as they could contain too much THC. “Their business is to support farmers—and not punish farmers—and the rules as they’re written right now punish farmers,” said Dove Oldham, a hemp farmer who grew an acre of hemp on her family farm in Grants Pass, Oregon last year. “There’s just a lot of confusion, and people are just looking for leadership.”
In response to concerns, the public comment period has been extended by a month, so those who are concerned now have until January 29 to voice their complaints. After that, the final decision about how regulations should be handled will be made. “There are 46 states where hemp is legal, and I’m going to say that every single state has raised concerns to us about something within the rule. They might be coming from different perspectives, but every state has raised concerns,” said Aline DeLucia, director of public policy for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.
The concern with the new regulations mostly revolves around how the government will be testing for THC. Only plants that contain 0.3 percent THC or less, a very small amount, will be considered hemp by law. All other plants wouldn’t make the cut.
Hemp legalization is currently changing the cannabis game across the U.S., and many are concerned about how to distinguish hemp from cannabis. This worry may continue to persist until full legalization is realized.