United States: Legalized Industrial Hemp Production Is Coming (But It's Not Here Yet)

Taite R McDonald is Partner in Holland & Knight's Washington D.C. office

Michael Obeiter is Senior Public Affairs Advisor in Holland & Knight's Washington D.C. office

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided some limited but important clarity on the road ahead for the legalization of industrial hemp production, although some questions still remain.
  • The USDA will host a listening session, in the form of a public webinar, on March 13, 2019. USDA has said that its intention is to issue regulations this fall, in order to provide certainty to states, growers and other industry participants in time for the 2020 planting season.
  • From permissible procedures on extracting and testing for THC to how states and growers should dispose of non-compliant product, there is still ample opportunity to inform USDA's rulemaking and help shape the ultimate regulations.

When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law last December, there was a good deal of excitement about the legalization of industrial hemp production. However, as we have noted before (see Holland & Knight's alert, " The Road Ahead for Cannabis-Derived Goods," Jan. 28, 2019), a number of open questions would need to be resolved before growers could begin cultivating hemp, and the timeline was uncertain at best. The month-long government shutdown didn't help matters, either. But on Feb. 27, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided some limited but important clarity on the road ahead. Here's a brief rundown of what we know now and what questions remain.

Who Will Oversee the Industrial Hemp Program?

When the 2014 Farm Bill authorized limited hemp production for research purposes, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture administered the program. And until regulations are promulgated for implementing the hemp provisions in the 2018 Farm Bill (more on that below), that will remain unchanged. In the meantime, the Agricultural Marketing Service's Specialty Crops Program has begun collecting information to inform a future rulemaking, and that program will also be charged with writing the implementing regulations and reviewing state plans.

What Will USDA's Regulations Entail?

For states that are interested in establishing their own industrial hemp program, the 2018 Farm Bill lays out specific requirements for what a state plan needs to contain. These include procedures regarding land to be used for planting, testing, effective disposal of plants and products, compliance with law enforcement, annual inspections and submission of information to USDA. Over the coming months, USDA will solicit input from stakeholders to help inform the rules that will govern these aspects of industrial hemp production.

What Happens Next?

USDA will host a listening session, in the form of a public webinar, on March 13, 2019. USDA has said that its intention is to issue regulations this fall, in order to provide certainty to states, growers and other industry participants in time for the 2020 planting season. This is a fairly aggressive timeline, given that the agency must publish a proposed rule, allow for public comment and then incorporate that feedback into a final rule, all over the next six to nine months.

There are reasons for optimism, though, and none more important than the fact that states are champing at the bit to put their own industrial hemp programs into place. Kentucky submitted its proposed plan the day the Farm Bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump, and other states aren't too far behind. But USDA won't approve any state plans until its regulations have gone into effect, underscoring the need for an accelerated rulemaking timeline.

It is worth noting that states do not need to issue their own plans for producers within those states to grow hemp. So long as hemp production is not explicitly prohibited by state law, the 2018 Farm Bill authorizes USDA to accept production plans from individual producers; the forthcoming regulations will also include a federal plan, which will dictate how the agency will issue licenses in those instances.

What Don't We Know?

In short, it is still not certain what USDA's regulations will look like, so it is also unclear what an acceptable state plan will look like. From permissible procedures on extracting and testing for THC to how states and growers should dispose of non-compliant product, there is still ample opportunity to inform USDA's rulemaking and help shape the ultimate regulations.

Additionally, keep in mind that USDA is charged with administering how industrial hemp is grown and processed. Cannabis-derived goods that are marketed for consumption or that make claims of therapeutic benefits are still governed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions