New York State Pushes Back on Interim Final Rule, Sets Up Farmers for USDA Permits in 2021

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New York agriculture regulators are preparing hemp farmers for the USDA permit process ahead of the 2021 season, citing “unrealistic” policies in the interim final rule, according to a recent WSHU report

As this current season has gone on, states have lined up their own regulatory regimes for the burgeoning hemp industry. These new laws must be aligned with and approved by the USDA. But some states—like New York, North Carolina and others—have soldiered on under the 2014 pilot program guidelines. For any state continuing under the 2014 regulations, the expiration date is coming up fast in October of this year.

New York officials have requested an extension—through the 2021 season. And furthermore, they’ve announced that they will not be submitting a plan to the USDA this year.

The news came in a letter addressed to hemp growers. Read the full letter below. 

“In October 2019, the USDA issued its Interim Final Rule governing the licensing and cultivation of hemp,” the letter states. “The Department found substantial elements of the USDA’s requirements to be very challenging and contrary to Congress’ objective of stimulating the hemp industry. The Department shared its concerns with the USDA in hopes of timely revisions for the 2021 planting season. Unfortunately, as of today, the Interim Rule remains unchanged. It is the Department’s view that many of the requirements concerning the scope and timing of sampling and testing, the disposal of non-compliant plants, and reporting are unrealistic and impose unreasonable burdens on growers and any state interested in administering a compliant program.”

As of now, the only other states pursuing the USDA license plan are Mississippi and New Hampshire.

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