Virgin Islands, four tribes receive federal approval for hemp production plans

A U.S. territory and four American Indian tribes have received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their 2020 hemp production plans, just as hemp planting season is about to officially begin across most of the country.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is the first U.S. territory to receive USDA approval for hemp production under the interim final rules based on the 2018 Farm Bill. The Virgin Islands has not previously produced hemp, but CBD products are openly sold in the territory.

The approved plan gives research and production oversight to the territory’s Department of Agriculture, the University of the Virgin Islands and the Industrial Hemp Commission.

In January 2019, U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. approved a medical marijuana law approving three classes of medical marijuana cultivation.

The USDA also approved plans for the:

  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.
  • Chippewa Cree Tribe.
  • Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
  • Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.

The additional tribal approvals bring the total number of tribal plans approved to 29, while there are still four plans under review, one pending resubmission and three tribes working on drafting plans for USDA review.

To date, the USDA has approved 17 state plans. Meanwhile, growers from one state (New Hampshire) are operating under USDA authority, three state plans are pending resubmission and one (Hawaii) is under review.

Some 22 states, including one (Montana) that has received USDA approval for its 2020 plans, are operating under the 2014 pilot research program for the 2020 season.

The states that must resubmit their plans and the four states – California, Illinois, Nevada and Oklahoma – that are indicated to be still drafting a plan, according to the USDA, may also run their 2020 seasons under the 2014 pilot program, which expires on Oct. 31.