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.
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.