30 Oct New USDA Rules Poses Challenges to Hemp Farmers
The USDA will release today their draft of interim final rules for the regulation of the cultivation of hemp in the United States. These rules have staggering consequences on the US hemp farmer. See their first version of the rules here.
The final version of the rules will be enacted on 12/31/19 and will govern hemp production for the next 2 years. After those 2 years are up then final rules will be released.
It is not like the USDA is trying to screw over hemp farmers, many of the rules are rooted in good science and will be beneficial to the industry. However, the rules based on sampling and test requirements may pose significant challenges to hemp farmers.
The goal of the USDA is to mandate a national uniform sampling and test protocol to reduce uncertainty and create uniformity, but are their rules too strict?
The short farmer-oriented summary of the law is as follows:
- Testing must occur 15 days prior to completion of harvest
- Total THC (not just Delta-9 THC) must be 0.3% or less
- Top 2” of flower cut from each sampled plant.
No CBD Hemp plant, grown for Phytocannabinoid Rich (PCR) Flower, in existence can meet this strict test unless harvested early or if it is genetically modified. The USDA is proposing the most stringent test possible to make sure farmers are meeting the federal mandate for less than .3% total THC.
FThis rule literally eviscerated the High CBD PCR flower market for 2020.
This will cause a shift in the CBD market for sure. Biomass rather than flower just became central to the CBD industry. Any product made from PCR Flower will have to be made from biomass. Making it more difficult to have products with high CBD content.
That doesn’t mean that the USDA has completely gotten rid of PCR Flower. It just means that it isn’t available yet and that breeders have a new goal to produce different cannabinoid levels. I’d imagine the we will see mass produced PCR Flower that meets the new guidelines in a year or so. Also means that CBG flower is going to become more popular.