October 31, 2019, the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its interim final rule setting forth the proposed rules and regulations regarding the production of hemp under the provisions of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, or the “2018 Farm Bill.” As mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill, the proposed regulations outline provisions for both the approval by the USDA of State or Indian Tribe proposed plans as well as the development of its own federal plan for the production of hemp in the absence of an applicable approved State or Tribal program.
While the draft rule is still subject to further comment, it provides the first official guidance from the USDA regarding the lawful production of hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill. In general, each of the approved State, Indian Tribe or Federal Plans include requirements for documenting and reporting, such as:
In addition, the USDA specifically requested further public comment on the following areas of regulatory oversight:
Finally, while the interim rule provides much anticipated guidance regarding the production of hemp products, it is also worth noting what the rule does not cover. Namely, regulatory guidance on the distribution, marketing and retail sale of hemp or hemp-based CBD products, which will come either from the FDA or individual state legislative efforts.