The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a draft interim final rule earlier this week, establishing rules and regulations to produce hemp. These interim regulations were required under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), which required that the USDA create a regulatory framework for hemp production. These regulations have been widely anticipated by the hemp industry to support the cultivation of hemp.

This step was required before plans proposed by the States and Native American tribes for growing hemp could be approved by USDA under the 2018 Farm Bill. The regulations also create rules for how producers of hemp products can operate in localities that do not have USDA-approved plans. As a result, these regulations will help push forward the development of lawful hemp products and make the legality of these products more clear.

These regulations include requirements for maintaining information on 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.

It should be noted that this published version is only a draft and the official publication of the interim final rule may include some changes from this version. When the official interim final rule is published, USDA will announce the effective date and the relevant comment period.

This proposed interim rule comes only a few days after the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services published its rules specifically for the State of Florida’s Hemp Program. Provided these rules are not protested through the Florida administrative process, they will be submitted to the United States Secretary of Agriculture for approval within 30 days after adoption.

Once Florida receives the Federal approval, the Department will start issuing permits