As USDA comments close, 30 states face law changes, group warns

As the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) closes an extended public-comment period on its national hemp regulations Wednesday, the agency’s state-level counterparts are warning that the young industry will be harmed if changes aren’t made.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture wrote in an open letter that the interim final rule released by the USDA last fall would force “at least 30 states” to change their existing hemp laws in order to comply.

NASDA CEO Barb Glenn said in the statement that the USDA’s hemp rules could “exacerbate competitive differences between the states and hamper growth of the national industry.”

The group is calling for 10 specific changes. Among them:

  • Extending the number of days in the THC testing window from 15 days to 30 days of harvest.
  • Dropping the requirement for states to use a laboratory registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
  • Removing Farm Service Agency reporting requirements.
  • Setting the negligence threshold for THC at 1%.
  • Allowing state law enforcement, instead of the DEA, to establish protocol for disposal of hot hemp.

The USDA is taking comments until 11:59 p.m. ET on Jan. 29.

The agency has not said when it plans to announce any changes to the rule.