Massachusetts state hemp production plan earns USDA approval

As planting season approaches, Massachusetts’ proposed state hemp regulations have received federal approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The state enacted laws governing marijuana and hemp production in 2017, allowing hemp to be grown legally under the 2014 pilot program with oversight by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.

In its new plan, the state acknowledged there were changes that needed to be made to bring its program into compliance with the USDA’s interim final rules including:
  • Background checks for applicants.
  • Enforcement actions.
  • DEA disposal methods.
  • Reporting to USDA monthly and annually.

Including Massachusetts, the USDA has approved 17 state plans to date, including two – Montana and West Virginia – that have been approved but have chosen to run their programs under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program rules until they expire on Oct. 31.

Additionally, five American Indian tribes received federal approval last week, bringing total approved tribal plans to 25, including the:

  • Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida.
  • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska.
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes.
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe.
  • Pala Band of Mission Indians.

To date, five state plans are still under review or pending resubmission and four states have yet to submit a plan to the USDA, while 22 states have declared that they will operate under 2014 pilot program rules for the 2020 season.