At a National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) meeting in Arlington, Virginia, Greg Ibach (Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)) told members that USDA and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have reached an agreement to remove the requirement for hemp farmers to have their crops tested in DEA-registered laboratories for one year. The DEA requirement was included in the interim final rule for domestic hemp production, released Oct. 31. (Watch his statement.)
There are 47 laboratories currently registered with the DEA. Many states do not have a registered laboratory, therefore requiring state, tribal and federal law enforcement agents responsible for testing hemp crops to send samples out of state within a tight, 15-day testing window.
William Richmond, director of the USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production program, told farmers at the Industrial Hemp Summit in Virginia on Monday that testing and sampling requirements were among the aspects the agency could change. Other parts of the rule, such as the 0.3% total THC limit and the requirement for information sharing, can be changed only by Congress. Richmond reiterated that the USDA will open a public comment period in the fall, to gather industry input on the 2020 production season.
Additionally, they have removed the requirement that farmers use a DEA reverse distributor if their crop goes “hot”. “Hot crop” means that the plant tests at over 0.3% THC. The USDA’s site lists 6 options that farmers now have. These include: