Minnesota lawmakers ask for streamlining of hemp rules

-The Hagstrom Report

Four Minnesota Democratic lawmakers — Sen. Tina Smith, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, and Reps. Betty McCollum and Angie Craig — on Wednesday asked the heads of the Agriculture Department, the Office of Management and Budget, the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration to streamline federal hemp rules.

“The bipartisan 2018 farm bill legalized hemp in order to create economic opportunities for farmers. Minnesota farmers appreciate the United States Department of Agriculture’s efforts in implementing the interim rule on establishment of a domestic hemp production program. However, despite the interim rule, there are still hurdles in place for Minnesota farmers to fully realize the economic benefits of growing hemp,” they wrote.

“The federal regulatory framework has proven to be inconsistent. For example, the USDA’s rule stated that farmers will be held accountable — facing possible revoking of their licenses — if their crops test above a 0.5% THC level three times in a five-year period. Despite this somewhat onerous and arbitrary level, the Drug Enforcement Agency instituted their own rule saying that exceeding 0.3% THC level deems the crop a controlled substance. The burdensome competing rules don’t allow for remediation if the crop tests above the deemed inappropriate levels. Farmers should not be penalized for plants that they intended to grow as hemp, but for any number of reasons, the final THC numbers exceeded the arbitrary 0.3% THC level. At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration guidance on CBD is still pending at the Office of Management and Budget, which adds even more uncertainty to the marketplace.”