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Hemp news roundup: USDA rules draw praise, states move forward with planting and legalizations


Zoe Morrison for Wikimedia Commons

This week has seen a flurry of developments in hemp and CBD news, from hopeful signs that more states will legalize industrial hemp to updated USDA guidance that could mean good tidings for hemp growers and processors.


Controversial U.S. Department of Agriculture rules that many warned would harm the budding industrial hemp and CBD trade were amended this week to better reflect the needs of professionals. [1]


After a meeting in Arlington, Va., the USDA decided against requirements to have the Drug Enforcement Agency test hemp crops of American farms for THC content.


THC is the active ingredient in marijuana, and industrial hemp contains trace amounts of the compound up to 0.3%. Still, instituting these testing requirements would likely trigger false-positive THC results and lead to seizures, crop destruction and other negative outcomes. [1]


“[W]e now better understand how the limited number of DEA-registered labs will hinder testing and better understand the associated costs with disposing of a product that contains over 0.3% THC could make entering the hemp market too risky,” the USDA said, according to U.S. News and World Report. [1]


Meanwhile, state legislatures in both Idaho and South Dakota have moved forward with legalization measures that could pass into law this session. [3] [4]


ABC affiliate KOTA News reports that a hemp legalization measure has left a senate committee in South Dakota and is now ready for a full senate vote and signature from Gov. Kristi Noem. [3]


A house version of the bill has already passed the South Dakota legislature. [3]


According to the Idaho Statesman, the state senate voted Wednesday to legalize industrial hemp cultivation in the state 27-5. [4]


Idaho and South Dakota are some of the last sates in the U.S. to pass legalization measures after the national Farm Bill of 2018 removed the prohibition on industrial hemp for the first time in decades.


While some states have taken more overbearing approaches to hemp legalization and regulation than others, most have implemented permitting processes by which farmers and companies can vie to become one of the region’s harvesters, extractors, seed traders or transporters of hemp.


That’s not the only news this week in the world of hemp. New Mexico has also shown a growth in its humble market interest for hemp farming, according to the Albuquerque Journal. [4]


A state economic department there has said that CBD company Natural ReLeaf will soon be adding 50 jobs in the hemp industry in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Journal reports. [4]


With new developments like these in New Mexico, the entire U.S. is starting to see the boons of a vibrant young economy for an age-old North American staple crop.


Sources

[1] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2020-02-28/colorado-officials-applaud-usdas-new-hemp-testing-rules

[2] https://www.abqjournal.com/1424917/hemp-company-announces-las-cruces-expansion.html

[3] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/south-dakota-bill-to-legalize-industrial-hemp-moves-forward/ar-BB10uN1D

[4] https://www.idahostatesman.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article240654711.html

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