Oregon senators ask feds to delay 2018 interim final hemp rules

Two Oregon U.S. senators want federal officials to delay implementation of the final rules for hemp growers “until regulatory obstacles are fully addressed,” they said in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

The letter from Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley dated Thursday outlines several concerns with the 2018 interim final rules, including:

  • The department’s “irrational insistence” on using only DEA-registered labs.
  • The need for a wider range of disposal options for non-compliant crops.
  • Requiring growers to test plants within 15 days of anticipated harvest.

The senators note that Oregon currently allows more time for testing within 28 days.

At least 20 states, including Oregon, are still operating under the 2014 Farm Bill provisions, which established a pilot hemp program. But those rules expire Oct. 31, while this growing season is still going.

“We fear that without these changes, our past work and efforts to support hemp farmers and the industry across the country may be for naught and we will not be able to achieve the growth and success we all know is possible with the right support and policies in place,” the senators wrote.

States not operating under the 2014 have either chosen to work off the 2018 interim rules, while others submitted their own plans for approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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