Top-ranking Senate Democrat joins calls for USDA to delay hemp rules due to coronavirus

Hemp farmers are seeing an ally in U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the U.S. Senate Minority Leader, who is pushing federal agriculture officials to delay enforcing new hemp production rules until 2022.

Schumer asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Friday to delay issuing the final rules for the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program because of the coronavirus pandemic to the U.S. economy.

“Regulating this rapidly-emerging industry is a must, but the timing of new regulations is important and the current economic crisis must be considered,” Schumer said.

The delay would allow hemp farmers to continue operating under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program while growing the industry and creating jobs, Schumer said.

Before COVID-19, New York’s industrial hemp industry was growing significantly and on path to be an “indispensable crop in New York’s agricultural future,” Schumer said.

Licensed acreage among hemp farmers has decreased year over year from 2019, with hemp insiders projecting less than half of that will be planted in 2020.

Critics of the USDA’s interim final rule have said compliance would impose financial burdens, both on farmers and the state agencies that must carry out sampling and testing. Compliance costs for following the USDA’s new rules are more than $17,000, and farms would have to pay approximately $700 per sample for testing, according to the USDA’s calculations.

Schumer’s request to delay the rules comes on the heels of requests from the National Industrial Hemp Council and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, who said “many states will be unable to meet” the Oct. 31 deadline to switch to the new rules for hemp production.

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley from Oregon have also asked federal officials to delay implementation of the final rules for hemp growers “until regulatory obstacles are fully addressed.”

5 comments on “Top-ranking Senate Democrat joins calls for USDA to delay hemp rules due to coronavirus
  1. Pat Jack on

    New, USDA interim rules states especially, and states with total THC .3% or less state laws will be badly damaged, unable to compete with the states languishing in pilot program exemptions producing crops with far higher CBD percentages, and far higher THCA percentages than the farmers and states in total THC states.

    total THC states stakeholders have planned their capital outlays, purchased their strains for total THC operations and will be held to total THC standards, so they will not be able to compete with the D9 ONLY states, and they will face ruinous conditions, especially in the biomass markets and in the #SmokableHempFlower markets.

    Should we allow the states who were early into the game, states which have profited wildly in many instances from D9 ONLY compliance models to once again dominate? Total THC seed breeders, they will be damaged, it’s not only the grower, entire demographics of vertical segments of the industry have pivoted fairly to obey the law to total THC standards.

    The best CBD percentages from total THC compliant crops are 8-11% and cannot compete at the processor’s loading dock with hot hemp, nor over the smokable retail counter. Total THC was to be a compliance ADVANTAGE for those with the where with all to go total THC.

    It would be grotesquely unfair, and highly damaging to farmers and their family’s, to hemp growers and total THC stakeholders this first year out to “shake and bake” with this predatory regulatory capture and release unfair trade regulation.

    • Sean on

      Don’t hate others for having an advantage. That’s unfortunate for states and folks that already switched to total THC, but that was your decision and/or state decision.
      Too bad so sad type thing…
      Don’t say: “well they have a better product and I don’t, that’s not fair”.

      • Pat Jack on

        It’s easy to hate the truth. It’s comfortable to hear hate to justify an advantage. Shame is a powerful motivator, even powerful enough to force one into an ad hominem strategy. It’s best not to be emotional about these kinds of things. It’s business.

        Let’s just put you in your own little bottle, you do your thing and exercise any advantage you have, that’s fair. And we will redress government to exercise our advantage, the total THC advantage. Best not to go around pointing the hateful finger. Be free, and we will do the same.

      • Pat Jack on

        You would hear hate when I only address the business of the industry and a strategy with observations. You would point the finger of hate and bring hate into the equation.

        Once again, the politicians turn us against one another, divide and conquer. Congratulations, you have your plate of hate to feast upon. I will not join you.

  2. William Price on

    What about the states that never operated under the 2014 farm bill, like Iowa whose plan was adopted under the interim final rule with 14-day harvest window and total thc top-3/rd testing protocol?

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