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USDA Hemp Comment Period Ends October 8

You have until October 8 to make comments to USDA regarding hemp:

Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program

Summary
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is providing an additional thirty (30) days for public comments on the interim final rule (IFR) that established the Domestic Hemp Production Program on October 31, 2019. Reopening the comment period gives interested persons an additional opportunity to comment on the IFR. Comments are solicited from all stakeholders, notably those who were subject to the regulatory requirements of the IFR during the 2020 production cycle.

Dates
The comment period for the interim final rule published on October 31, 2019, at 84 FR 58522, is reopened. Comments must be received by October 8, 2020.

Supplementary Information
The IFR (84 FR 58522, October 31, 2019) was issued under Section 10113 of Public Law 115-334 December 20, 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). Section 10113 amended the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (AMA) by adding Subtitle G (sections 297A through 297D of the AMA). Section 297B of the AMA requires the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) to evaluate and approve or disapprove State or Tribal plans regulating the production of hemp. Section 297C of the AMA requires the Secretary to establish a Federal plan for producers in States and territories of Indian Tribes not covered by plans approved under section 297B. Lastly, section 297D of the AMA requires the Secretary to promulgate regulations and guidelines relating to the production of hemp in consultation with the U.S. Attorney General. USDA is committed to issuing the final rule expeditiously after reviewing public comments and obtaining additional information during the initial implementation.

Background
The IFR established a domestic hemp production program pursuant to the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The IFR outlines provisions for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (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 total tetrahydrocannabinol, disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements, licensing requirements, and ensuring compliance with the requirements of the new part. As a supplement to statutory and regulatory requirements, USDA made available additional guidance documents on sampling and laboratory testing. In addition, on February 27, 2020, USDA delayed requirements for hemp testing laboratories to obtain Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration and clarified allowable cannabis disposal methods.

This document notifies the public of the reopening of the comment period from September 8, 2020 to October 8, 2020. Comments previously submitted to USDA by stakeholders during the initial sixty day public comment period [October 31, 2019-December 30, 2019] or during the thirty day extension period [December 31, 2019-January 29, 2020] need not be resubmitted, as these comments are already incorporated into the public record and will be considered in the final rule.

Public Comment Requested
AMS received approximately 4,600 comments from stakeholders during the initial ninety-day public comment period. These comments represent the perspectives of various organizations and individuals within the stakeholder community and provided AMS additional context for decision making. AMS is reopening the public comment period for the IFR to encourage additional input on several topics identified by commenters during the initial ninety-day comment period. The reopening of the public comment period allows stakeholders to provide AMS with further insight gained from the 2020 hemp growing season. AMS is interested in this additional input for all aspects of the U.S. domestic hemp production program, and particularly interested in comments on the following topics:

1: Measurement of Uncertainty for Sampling
2: Liquid Chromatography Factor, 0.877
3: Disposal and Remediation of Non-Compliant Plants
4: Negligence
5: Interstate Commerce
6: 15-Day Harvest Window
7: Hemp Seedlings, Microgreens, and Clones
8: Hemp Breeding and Research
9: Sampling Methodology—Flower vs. Whole Plant
10: Sampling Methodology—Homogenous Composition, Frequency, and Volume
11: Sampling Agents
12: DEA Laboratory Registration

Click here to make comments by October 8, 2020: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=AMS-SC-19-0042-4666

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