Hawaii, Virginia eliminate in-state hemp regulation while USDA approves Utah and tribal production plans

Two more states – Hawaii and Virginia – have opted to halt in-state regulation of their production plans, meaning growers in those states will now need to apply for a hemp production license directly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to the USDA’s website tracking the status of state and tribal hemp production plans, Hawaii and Virginia join New York, New Hampshire and Mississippi – three other states that do not currently have hemp production programs.

Meanwhile, USDA officials gave the green light for two additional hemp production plans, just six weeks before the 2014 pilot program is set to expire on Oct. 31.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for the state of Utah and the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla tribe, located in California, late last week.

The Utah plan was adopted under the authority of the Utah Hemp and Cannabinoid Act, which was adopted in May of last year. The state has permitted industrial hemp production since 2017. Utah is also among the states that have opted to allow the sale of hemp-derived product in marijuana dispensaries.

The newly approved plans bring the agency’s total to 23 approved state plans and 35 tribal plans, while a handful of states including Colorado, Illinois and Oklahoma were asked to revise and resubmit plans. Twelve state plans are currently under review.

The USDA has been under pressure from U.S. lawmakers to extend the 2014 pilot program; however, the agency contends that the program will expire on Oct. 31.

“States and tribes operating under a 2014 pilot program must have a USDA approved hemp production plan in place by October 31, 2020,” a USDA spokesperson told Hemp Industry Daily in an Aug. 31 e-mail.

“After this date, if a state does not have a USDA-approved plan, growers in that state may apply for a USDA hemp production license unless prohibited by applicable state law.”

The USDA reopened the public comment period for the 2018 Farm Bill interim final rules for hemp production in early September, giving hemp advocates hope that the 30-day process will delay implementation of the national hemp rules.

2 comments on “Hawaii, Virginia eliminate in-state hemp regulation while USDA approves Utah and tribal production plans
  1. Jason Amatucci on

    This is incorrect information. Virginia has not eliminated in state regulation or the Virginia license program. That could potentially happen at some point in the future but some legislative solutions would need to be worked out, and there are a lot of moving parts to this issue at this time. It will take 2021 to see where the dust settles on all of this.

    Seems that some states are just saying no to all the arduous regs from the feds. The USDA regs are also TBD so we will see what changes are made after this comment period. It is also possible they extend the current rules for some States as has been formally requested.

    Also of note , to have a Virginia Hemp license is not contingent on getting a USDA one and we will be looking in Virginia at legislation that streamlines this whole process for less red tape for everyone.

    I urge everyone to not jump to conclusions and spread misinformation on when States decide to not resubmit a plan to the USDA after they reject it.

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