Hemp Growers Get Congressional Reprieve on Looming USDA Deadline

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Hemp growers in limbo between their states’ pilot regulatory programs and more restrictive USDA rules got a reprieve from Congress late last week when federal legislators tacked an extension of the deadline for states to seek USDA approval for their state-level permanent production programs onto the continuing resolution keeping the federal government open. States now have until the end of September 2021 to seek USDA approval of their permanent production programs.

With many states still working to submit final plans for the regulation of hemp production to the USDA, the October 31, 2020 deadline had created uncertainty for many hemp farmers. The push for an extension, especially in light of the pandemic, had received broad, vocal support across the industry.

The state pilot programs may now operate through September 30, 2021, and farmers operating under these programs can, for now, operate under the same set of rules while having more time to either adjust to a new permanent state hemp production program or navigate the rules for licensing set by the USDA. State legislatures still debating a hemp production program in their state now have another year to set the course for hemp growers in their state.

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