USDA extends public comment period for hemp interim final rule by 30 days

Federal agriculture officials are giving the hemp industry more time to provide feedback on new nationwide production rules.

After requests from state officials and members of the U.S. Congress seeking additional time for public feedback, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Tuesday it will extend the comment period on the U.S. Hemp Production Program interim final rule until Jan. 29, 2020.

The interim final rule originally established a 60-day comment period that would close Dec. 30, 2019. The extension provides an additional 30 days.

Recent requests from U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, and state departments of agriculture urged the USDA to extend the comment period to allow more time for hemp industry members to analyze the rules, determine how they would affect their operations and submit real-world feedback that could help inform changes to federal hemp production rules.

Comments on the interim final rule can be submitted via:

  • The Regulations.gov website.
  • Fax: 202-720-8938.
  • Mail: Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS; USDA; 1400 Independence Ave. SW, STOP 0237; Washington, DC 20250-0237.

Comments must be received by Jan. 29 to be considered before a final rule is issued.

2 comments on “USDA extends public comment period for hemp interim final rule by 30 days
  1. Elliott Tapelt on

    To whoever this concerns,

    The past six months that I have been in the hemp program a lot of talk on how to shape the hemp laws. the 15 days before harvest rule is a big one as of now since, we only have a few people from the department of agriculture coming out to take samples. The state just doesn’t have enough manpower to meet the demand of the growers which is causing higher than normal THC levels and causing failed tests. This especially is a problem now because of the new federal laws which say THC-A is now going to be added to that percentage. A few things that could help with this would be adding a sliding scale which says each day the state can’t make it out after the 15 days the percentage of THC-A gets lowered. It’s not anyone’s fault that they couldn’t harvest their crop due to the fact the state doesn’t have enough manpower to make it out on time or enough testing facilities to get the results back in a timely manner. This would be a big help to hemp growers. Another option would be hiring on more people during the harvest year this would help make it so everyone could get their crops in to be test in a timely manner. Now the solution to adding more people only solves one problem the other lies within the amount of facilities able to test the THC content which would need to be increased to due to the load of work on legend. possible solution to this would be during harvest time sending a trusted official to certain labs to oversee the THC testing and make sure everything is going properly. Adding the ISO 17025 certification is a great way to find the right facilities for this type of job and by sending the trusted officials to different facilities they would have a great idea on who would be good for the task and who would be not. With a lab having an ISO 17025 certification the lab could be considered trusted and be able to operate on its own without the overseeing of someone. Of course, checkups should be done to make sure these labs are not getting lazy. Another issue is sampling of the hemp plant to see its THC content. From what I have been reading only the top part of the plant is ever tested. With some of the research that has been put into hemp we know that heat can convert THC-A to THC with that being said you would think as you go lower down the plant less heat would be there making less THC. I was looking for scholarly articles on this but could not find any so I found this website https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/why-does-cannabis-produce-thc. It also says that UV-rays can also affect the amount of THC produced which yet again the top part of the plant would be getting the most UV. So, if any of this is true and we are only sampling the highest THC part of the plant than of course a lot of failures that don’t need to be failures would be happening because that it’s not a true representation of the plant being tested. Testing the whole plant is the only way to see if the plant is over the limit or not. Another option would being having the top of the plant cut off and disposed of if the rest of the plant checks out good why waste the whole plant on one bad area. Realistically the only way to get a true value to see if a crop is hot or not is by take the whole crop mulching it up making it homogeneous than take a sample from that which just isn’t feasible. By taking a full plant the representation of the crops true value of THC would be closer. Other options of sampling could be looking at height of the plants in the crop and seeing if that has any variation of the THC content do taller plants have a higher THC content than smaller plants. what is the average size of the plants if 95% of a crop is 5 feet tall than taller and smaller plants most likely wouldn’t make much of a difference on the true value of THC on the crop. Lastly for the issue of uncertainty there is a lot of underlying issues that could account for this problem depending on how a facility does it is up to them I know when I worked at a lead refining plant for a while we had 5 different checks in place to make sure the machine was running properly so we did not send out hazardous waste. One more thing to add is not everyone is an outdoor grower I am a indoor grower reason is I am trying to go for quality over quantity and the best part is I can pick and choose my dates when I wish to flower my plants out. I think adding a calendar to sign up on for harvest dates for indoor growing would be a great way to prevent too much sampling on certain days and would help the state and testing facilities on staff needed for the day.

    thanks,

    Reply

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