The United States Department of Agriculture today issued a long-awaited interim final rule establishing new regulations and procedures for the legal production of industrial hemp, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill. The law reclassified hemp as a legal agricultural commodity, but significant questions remained—including many related to banks’ ability to serve hemp producers and hemp-related businesses.
The regulations issued today provide a standardized framework for how USDA will approve regulatory plans from states and Indian tribes that wish to oversee hemp production, as well as a federal plan for producers in areas without approved local plans. The framework covers how to maintain information on the land where hemp is produced, test THC levels and dispose of plants that do not meet the necessary requirements. They also address licensing requirements and compliance.
The interim final rule will remain in place for 730 days after publication in the Federal Register; comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication.