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Lawyers Weigh In on USDA Interim Final Hemp Rule

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Lawyers Weigh In on USDA Interim Final Hemp Rule

As USDA seeks comments by December 30 for its new Interim Hemp Rule that lays out regulations to establish a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, a big concern is the rule’s timeline for farmers getting their plants tested to make sure they don’t exceed the maximum allowed level of THC.

The challenge is the rule requires that the plants be tested within 15 days before harvest begins. The USDA says if farmers delay harvest beyond 15 days, the plants will likely have a higher THC level than the sample. If the level exceeds 0.3%, the plants will have to be disposed of under Drug Enforcement Administration regulations because the hemp would be considered a controlled substance.

But the 15 days aren’t much time to submit the plants and get the results needed to know whether it’s OK to go ahead and harvest the crop, Michael Bowman, a co-founder of First Crop, a public benefit company working with hemp farmers, told the Denver Post. “I would call it unworkable at this point,” Bowman said of the provision.

Meghana Shah, a co-leader at the New York City office of Eversheds Sutherland law firm, told the Denver Post, “It doesn’t address the fact that all of the sampling and testing is essentially happening around the same time for all of the producers. There’s uncertainty as to when the results will come back and how that affects a producer’s decision to actually harvest. There are a lot of sort of logistical and practical hurdles posed by the 15-day window with not a lot of answers. That is one of the areas where USDA sought comment, so I think we can expect to see it addressed during the comment period,” Shah added.

According to USDA, the draft hemp rule outlines provisions for USDA to approve plans submitted by states and Indian Tribes for the domestic production of hemp. It also establishes a federal plan for producers in states or territories of Indian Tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved plan. The program includes provisions for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced, testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements, licensing requirements, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of the new part. The rule will become effective when it is published in the Federal Register. Comments received by December 30, 2019, will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule.

To help producers and businesses make sense of USDA’s draft Hemp Rule, a number of law firms and legal experts specializing in industrial hemp have published opinions, analyses and client alerts about the impact and key takeaways of the draft rule. Here is a sampler of recent analysis, interviews and video segments with leading law firms tracking the industrial hemp marketplace about their views on USDA’s new interim hemp rules.

Tree Free Hemp

Read the Draft Rule here.

Comment on the Rule here. To date, USDA has received 714 comments on the draft rule to establish a domestic hemp program. To submit an official comment on USDA’s Interim Rule, visit here. Comments received by December 30, 2019 will be considered prior to issuance of a final rule.

USDA (Finally) Releases Groundbreaking Interim Hemp Regulations
By Garrett Graff, Hoban Law Group
https://hoban.law/2019/10/usda-interim-hemp-regulations/

Attorneys Scrutinize USDA Hemp Rule
By Law Week Colorado
https://lawweekcolorado.com/2019/11/attorneys-scrutinize-usda-hemp-rule/

Key Takeaways from USDA Final Interim Rules for Domestic Hemp Production
By Jennifer K. Mason and Ambur C. Smith, National Law Review
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/key-takeaways-usda-final-interim-rules-domestic-hemp-production

Client Alert: Legal Analysis of USDA Interim Final Hemp Rule
By Michelle Nicole Diamond, et. al., WilmerHale
https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/usda-releases-interim-hemp-regulations-71800/

Video Interview: What Hemp Businesses Need to Know about the New USDA Hemp Rules
Featuring Shawn Hauser, Partner, Vicente Sederberg
https://vicentesederberg.com/updates/shawn-hauser-hemp-industry-daily-interview/

Legal Alert: USDA’s Rule on Hemp Is Here, and It Needs Greater Clarity
By Gregory Kaufman, et. al., Eversheds Sutherland
https://us.eversheds-sutherland.com/NewsCommentary/Legal-Alerts/226749/Legal-Alert-The-USDAs-eagerly-anticipated-rule-on-the-production-of-hemp-is-here-and-it-needs-greater-clarity-and-would-benefit-from-more-industry-input

Client Alert: USDA Issues Hemp Rule
By Cameron Field, et. al., Michael Best, Attorneys at Law
https://www.michaelbest.com/Newsroom/222606/USDA-Issues-Hemp-Rule

One Step Toward Clarity: USDA Issues Interim Final Rule Establishing Hemp Production Program
By Ropes & Gray
https://www.ropesgray.com/en/newsroom/alerts/2019/11/One-Step-Toward-Clarity-USDA-Issues-Interim-Final-Rule-Establishing-Hemp-Production-Program

USDA Interim Hemp Regulations Provide Welcome Guidance But Need Refinement
By Mackenzie Schoonmaker and Christopher Strunk, National Law Review
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/usda-interim-hemp-regulations-provide-welcome-guidance-need-refinement

Will USDA’s Rule Get Hemp Over the Hump? (Maybe Not Without a Little Help from FDA)
By Ricardo Carvajal, FDA Law Blog
http://www.fdalawblog.net/2019/11/will-usdas-rule-get-hemp-over-the-hump-maybe-not-without-a-little-help-from-fda/

USDA Issues Rules for Hemp Production – Many Questions Remain for Hemp and CBD Sales
By Jay Dubow, et. al., Pepper Hamilton LLP
https://www.pepperlaw.com/publications/usda-issues-rules-for-hemp-production-many-questions-remain-for-hemp-and-cbd-sales-2019-11-08/

Does the USDA Rule Affect Hemp That Is Currently On the Market?
By Cannabusiness Law
https://cannabusiness.law/does-the-usda-rule-affect-hemp-that-is-currently-on-the-market/

# # #

Steven Hoffman is Managing Director of Compass Natural, providing brand marketing, PR, social media, and strategic business development services to natural, organic, sustainable and hemp/CBD products businesses. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and  Southern Hemp Expo, and Hoffman serves as Editor of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact steve@compassnaturalmarketing.com.

News Briefs

Hemp Industry Urged to Comment on THC Content in USDA Rule
by Medical Marijuana Inc. News

I Tried Pumpkin Spice CBD – Here’s What Happened
by Yahoo Lifestyle

Former FDA Chief Scott Gottlieb Warns of CBD Safety
by The Motley Fool

Former Tour de France Cyclist Floyd Landis Enters CBD Market
by Bicycling Magazine

Headline News

Hemp Industry Sees Twists, Turns on Road to Establishing New Regulatory System
by The Denver Post

Strict USDA THC Content Standards Spark Hemp Industry Backlash
by Hemp Industry Daily

Feds Taking First Steps to Regulate Hemp
by Forbes

Inspired by Daughter’s Rare Disorder, Celebrity Pitchman Anthony Sullivan Launches Hemp Farm
by The Cannabis Radar

Will Smokable Hemp Come to Kentucky?
by The Messenger-Inquirer

Western Pennsylvania Hemp Processing Plant Reopens; Employee Pay Issue Remains
by The Tribune-Review

Opinion: It’s Time to Regulate CBD in New York
by The Observer

Investing

CBD and Supplements

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Credit Card Processor Organic Payment Gateways Joins National Hemp Association
by PR Newswire

Is CBD the Next Ibuprofen? Florida-based Green Point Research Funds University of Florida Study
by The Chicago Tribune

Hemp CBD Research Aims for Dog, Cat Dosage Data
by Pet Food Industry

Study: Hemp-derived CBD Helps Chronic Pain Patients Reduce Opioid Use
by Postgraduate Medicine

Third Wave Farms Opens CBD Extraction Plant in Central Indiana
by The Hartford Courant

Food and Beverage

How Will USDA Published Hemp Rules Impact Food?
by Food Safety Tech

Hemp Milk Identified as Top 2020 Food Trend
by Hotel Online

Hemp Milk Listed as One of Seven Healthiest Milk Options
by Healthline

CBD a Rising Ingredient in Functional “Shots”
by New Hope Network

What Does Legal Hemp and Cannabis Mean for the Alcohol and Spirits Industry?
by Spirits Business

Retail and Distribution

Natural Grocers Issues First-ever Dividend; Credits Part of Growth to CBD Sales
by New Hope Network

Dedicated Hemp and CBD Store, Thrive Well, to Open in Kentucky
by Kentucky New Era

Dixie Brands’ Aceso Hemp Expands Colorado Retail Distribution Via Sunrise Beverage Co.
by Cannabis Business Times

New Minneapolis Retail Store, Origin Wellness, Specializes in CBD Products
by The Minneapolis Southwest Journal

Online Grocer Fresh Direct Lists Hemp as Superfood Snack of Tomorrow
by New Hope Network

Building and Fiber

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University of Kentucky Engineers Using Hemp to Repair Deteriorating Bridges
by The University of KentuckyRodale Institute: Five Ways Hemp Can Save the Planet

by The Rodale Institute

Seven Sustainable Clothing Brands to Support
by Flowertown

Farming and Agriculture

How Cornell University’s Hemp Seed Bank Will Change the Industry
by Hemp Grower

South Dakota Tribes Apply to Grow Hemp with Federal Government
by KELO TV, Sioux Falls SD

Budding Hemp Famers Struggle to Find Success in the “Green Rush”
by National Public Radio

Seeking Certainty Between Certified Hemp Seed vs. High-Yield CBD Strains
by New Frontier Data

In Pursuit of Profits, Hemp Growers Blaze Path in Northwest Agriculture
by The Seattle Times

Cross Pollination of Marijuana and Hemp Becoming a Budding Concern
by AZMarijuana

Ohio Farmers Worry States Proposed Rules Will Exclude Small Growers
by The Columbus Dispatch

International News

Traditional Welsh Bungalow Built from Hempcrete
by HempToday

Survey Gauges Growing European Enthusiasm for CBD
by Yahoo Finance

EuroLife Brands Shifts Cannabis Business from North America to Europe
by Proactive Investors

Chinese Hemp Retailer Bullish on CBD Cosmetics Market in China
by Yahoo Finance

Upcoming Events

Winter Hemp Summit, Jan. 16, 2019, Boulder, CO
by Colorado Hemp Company

Texas Hemp Convention, Jan. 28-30, 2020
by Texas Hemp Convention

International Cannabis Business Conference, Feb. 6-7, 2020
by ICBC

NoCo Hemp Expo Expands 2020 Show at National Western Complex in Denver, March 26-28, 2020
by NoCo Hemp Expo

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An Interview with Lorena Beltran – Cannabis in Mexico

Join Morris Beegle and Rick Trojan for a brand new episode of the Let’s Talk Hemp Podcast, Featuring Lorena Beltran. In this episode, Lorena Beltran joins us to talk about everything cannabis-related happening south of the border. You’ll hear how the legalization of cannabis in the USA has changed the lives of cannabis farmers in Mexico, how the USA and Mexico differ in their approaches to hemp regulation, and why Mexico will be one of the leading producers of industrial hemp.

Listen Here

About Let’s Talk Hemp

Let’s Talk Hemp is a publication of Colorado Hemp Company (a division of We Are For Better Alternatives) focused specifically on the subject of industrial hemp and cannabis. We present features and curate news from across the globe to share the benefits of cannabis on health, energy, manufacturing and planet (H.E.M.P.). Colorado Hemp Company also is the Producer of NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo, the nation’s leading hemp conferences and expositions.

Publisher: Morris Beegle, Elizabeth Knight
Editor: Steven Hoffman
Web Developer: Debby West
Design: Allen Haeger
Circulation: Evan Tompros
Let’s Talk Hemp Podcast: Rick Trojan, Morris Beegle

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