Since 2014, every Agricultural Act, also known as the Farm Bill, has defined hemp and broadened how we may grow it, initially for research purposes and now for commercial production. Finally, in 2018, the 45th President of the United States signed into law a new definition recognizing hemp as an agricultural commodity. However, this critical step towards legalizing hemp farming nationwide did not account for industry nuances when growing and processing diverse crops, particularly grain and fiber.
The language that became law assigned authority to the USDA based on a limited and outdated belief. The idea is that because hemp is part of the Cannabis genus, regardless of its target production, it must be subject to THC testing. Although the intent behind this testing is valid in ensuring producers are not propagating a DEA-controlled substance, the overbearing perception and management of THC create unnecessary challenges for a historically profitable and productive crop.
The current singular plan that manages three very different crops remains problematic. It puts a cost burden and red tape on farmers who require a more efficient process to succeed and increase acreage to meet demands for grain and fiber. Montana’s USDA-approved state Hemp Plan, follows performance-based sampling and remediation methods based on risk for higher levels of THC. Therefore, the idea that certain hemp varieties may be exempt from THC testing is not new, and it’s time to make this federal policy.
Why We Need An Industrial Hemp Exemption
Hemp has been growing, again, in the United States for the last seven (7) years. Pilot programs under the authority of the State Departments of Agriculture collected data about the varieties grown and have adhered to and strictly enforced THC testing protocols. It’s time we leverage that information to reduce the burden on hemp farmers who grow solely for grain and fiber. The end-use products that result from their production are already recognized and exempted from the Controlled Substances Act. So why should we continue to burden the farmers who grow these crops with background checks, costly sampling, and testing protocols?
In summary, it's simple. Producers who choose to grow hemp for grain and/or fiber purposes are at very low, if any risk at all, of harvesting an illegal crop. Therefore, federal law should not mandate testing and instead enforce reasonable programs that require harvest designation and visual inspection of hemp fields, both of which are far less burdensome to the American farmer.
Industrial Hemp Act of 2023
Grain and Fiber Industrial Hemp- Exemption Framework
To create a separation between the definition and regulation of industrial hemp fiber and grain from cannabinoid or flower hemp. The bill language maintains the current 2018 Farm Bill regulatory framework for cannabinoid hemp production with the following new framework for industrial hemp production:
New statutory definition for industrial hemp for grain and fiber - creating a distinction fromcannabinoid hemp or dual/tri-purpose cannabinoid crops
Same 2018 Farm Bill licensing with added designation for only grain/fiber production & harvest (including GPS coordinates of land on which hemp is produced & FSA report)
Signed declaration that producer will only harvest grain/fiber and will not harvest or sell flower material or extract any resin from crop (note- full use of hemp seed/grain authorized)
No background check required
Required visual inspection (i.e. in person, video, aerial with drones, or unmanned aircraft) to confirm uniform crop production consistent with production designation on license
No sampling or testing for uniform production consistent with production designation
Additional exemptions for known producers using certified seed/varieties
If visual inspection reveals inconsistent crop production with designation, the Department may detain crop and require documented verification of production (i.e. seed/variety receipts, sales contract, planting report) and reserves State, Tribe, or Territory right to require harvest inspection
If a producer fails the visual inspection, document verification, and harvest inspection, the State, Tribe, or Territory reserves the right to conduct chemical testing on harvested material that fails the visual inspection to determine compliance or civil and/or criminal enforcement
Intentional violations: crop destruction, fine/civil penalty, restricted from program participation for 5 years, potential criminal charges for high-THC production
Each state, tribal jurisdiction, and territory is authorized to determine the severity of civil and/or
criminal charges for knowing non-compliance with an election to solely grow industrial hemp
Revolution Hemp, LLC
Texas Hemp Coalition
Green Tree Ag
Virginia Hemp Coalition
The Peaceful Kingdom Farms
Peter Meyer Jr.
Canna Markets Group
Cannon Republic Feed and Fiber
Field Theory Foods
Hemp Harvest Works
Let's Talk Hemp
Minnesota Hemp Farms, Inc
Nebraska Screw Press
NoCo Hemp Expo
Planet Based Foods Global
Prairie PROducers LLC
Queen of Hearts
WAFBA - We Are For Better Alternatives
National Industrial Hemp Coalition
Hemp Solutions LLC
Industrial Hemp Association of WA
KS Hemp Consortium
Midwest Hemp Technology
Eric kweku Sekyi
Hemp Solutions LLC
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