A notice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture published in the Federal Register at the beginning of this week provides insights regarding the department’s plans to release rules that will govern the newly legalized hemp industry.
Of particular importance is the August self-imposed deadline when the final draft rules will be released by USDA. Previously, the department had been noncommittal about when it would finalize these rules. They would simply say that the rules will come out in time for the planting season of 2020.
A USDA spokesperson revealed that the August deadline reflects the best-case scenario, but the process of approving those rules will determine the actual date when they would be published in the Federal Register. This approval process seemingly entails getting the nod from other sister federal agencies.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, states were empowered to pass their own hemp laws and submit them to the USDA for approval before they start being implemented. So far, the Department of Agriculture has revealed the basics of what they expect to see in the state regulations submitted for approval.
Those requirements include product testing standards, annual inspection and certification requirements, disposal procedures as well as law enforcement compliance measures.
These updates come approximately half a year from the time hemp was descheduled by the federal government with the enactment of the Farm Bill of 2018. There has been sustained pressure on the Department of Agriculture to release its rules but the department had remained evasive on when that would happen.
The notice in the Federal Register therefore comes as good news to all interested parties since it shows that the department has been busy ever since it revealed in March that it had started a process through which information would be gathered to shape the rulemaking exercise.
Until the rules are published, it will be hard for large-scale cultivation of hemp to begin across the country. This is because any company or individual wishing to grow or process the crop must adhere to the rather restrictive hemp rules in the 2014 Farm Act which only catered for research-focused hemp activities.
As the USDA works on the draft rules, they have provided clarification that it is now legal to import hemp seeds, transport hemp products across state lines and also submit intellectual property applications to the department even before the rules are released.
Marijuana industry analysts believe that the entire industry, including companies like Sproutly Canada Inc. (CSE: SPR) (OTCQB: SRUTF) (FRA: 38G) and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING), should be relieved now that the veil of uncertainty has been removed regarding when hemp industry rules would be released by the USDA.
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