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Minnesota Lawmakers Urge Feds to Clarify Hemp Rules
Minnesota Ag Connection - 11/19/2020

Wednesday, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN 2), Betty McCollum (D-MN 4) and Collin Peterson (D-MN 7) are calling on the leaders of four federal agencies to streamline hemp rules. Currently, contradictory federal guidelines are leading to uncertainty in the market and preventing Minnesota farmers and Tribes from fully reaping the economic benefits of growing hemp.

"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 (USDA) 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," wrote the lawmakers in their letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Smith, Craig, McCollum and Peterson go on to identify some of the inconsistencies that need to be addressed:

"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 .5 percent THC level three times in a five year period. Despite this somewhat onerous and arbitrary level, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) instituted their own rule saying that exceeding .3 percent 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 (FDA) guidance on CBD is still pending at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which adds even more uncertainty to the marketplace."


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