Local farmers are worried about the restrictive nature of the regulations that the USDA has released. The rules were released in a rough draft before being published and have a 60 day comment period until January 2020.
Farmers are aware that these regulations are going to completely change the industry. They are hoping they can loosen some of the rules before they are constricted out of the business. The regulations cover where hemp can be grown, rules for THC, and the protocol to dispose of hemp that contains too much THC.
Adam Harris, of Vesica Ventures, is a farmer from Phoenix. He told News 10 that quote, “the whole industry of hemp and CBD will forever be changed by this. We’re going to be forced, if we want to continue farming CBD, to be harvesting in week four to week six of flower time, where we’re typically not starting our harvest until seven or eight. We’re being forced essentially to harvest immature plants that aren’t ready. Don’t have the full cannabinoid profile that hemp has to offer. Which are the medicinal parts of why we farm CBD. I personally farm this because my son is autistic and CBD changed his life.”
His concern is that by working so hard to comply with the strict regulations around THC, the potential medical benefits of the plants won’t be realized.
Mitra Stricklen, of Om Farms LLC, is worried that the most popular products that consumers are demanding won’t be available.
“Most scientific research to date is indicating that the most medicinal benefits are with that full-spectrum CBD. These new USDA regulations make it so we can’t even take in the harvested material to take in those full-spectrum extracts the way that we have been,” Sticklen said.
With younger plants having to be harvested, and then thoroughly tested in one of 180 federal testing labs, getting the crops in will be tight. There might only be a 15-day window to test, receive the test results and harvest every single plant nationwide. Failing to follow any of these restrictions will be a federal offense. These regulations will undoubtedly affect states like Oregon, who are already growing 63,000 acres of hemp a year.