USDA Reverses Position on Organic Hemp Certification

Industrial hemp farmers seeking organic certification for their crops should put their efforts on hold, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture has backtracked on an earlier decision to allow such certifications.

CBDRx, an industrial hemp farm in northern Colorado, recently became the first company of its kind to obtain the USDA’s coveted organic certification label.

The development was greeted as a major breakthrough for the cannabis industry because it boosted the industry’s legitimacy and promised to give individual hemp businesses another marketing tool. CBDRx requested and received the USDA certification after being audited by a Nebraska-based certifier.

But in a directive issued last week, the USDA said third-party auditors can no longer certify hemp operations because questions remain over the legal uses of the plant.

“Organic certification of industrial hemp production…is premature and could be misleading to certified organic operations,” the document said.

The agency added that it will work with other federal agencies to develop a solution.

On the bright side, Harvest Media reported that a USDA spokesman said the agency won’t take action on hemp farms that have already received their organic certifications.

Organic certification in the cannabis industry has been a confusing and sometimes controversial topic, with some cannabis firms using the label without really being organic, according to critics. That has prompted some Colorado lawmakers to try and develop their own state organic certification regime.

3 comments on “USDA Reverses Position on Organic Hemp Certification
  1. Seth Tyrssen on

    It sounds like the USDA doesn’t seem to know the difference between hemp and its more smokable cousin, “marijuana.” It should be remembered that hemp was demonized by William Randolph Hearst, because it could be used to make paper; and as a magabux newspaperman, Hearst had a lot of money tied up in the paper industry. The gummint back-tracked during WW2, as the old video “Hemp for Victory” shows, but apparently reverted to its more ignorant stance, after that war. In short: the entire squabble is DUMB.

  2. al simon on

    congratulations to cbdrx they got lucky and fell through a crack before industry got their lobbyists to work. Everybody knows that hemp is a safe product and looking for organic status should be a no brainer for any farmer or company that really wants and is serious about organic status. I firmly believe the same cast of characters. the same companies that have been fighting us for years are still at it doing everything they can to slow legalization, buying the right politicians and bureaucrats and they are getting away with it. The pattern all over the country is pretty clear if you look at how the process has slowed in the bigger states. Colorado being first got away from them but they keep trying.

  3. J. Petzold on

    Where can one obtain a list of Certified Organic Hemp farms? From the above article…
    “On the bright side, Harvest Media reported that a USDA spokesman said the agency won’t take action on hemp farms that have already received their organic certifications.”
    PLEASE PROVIDE THIS LIST IF POSSIBLE. I am most interested in Colorado and Kentucky farms and who owns / operates them.
    Thank You.

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