As the October 31 deadline to switch over to federal rules looms near, many hemp groups are starting to ask the USDA to extend the deadline. In a letter to Congress, the National Industrial Hemp Council and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture fear that many states won’t be able to meet the deadline.
The groups are asking for the USDA to delay putting its rules into action for another year. The delay would give states more time to transition from their pilot programs to the new USDA plan. Some states have already made the transition from the 2014 hemp pilot program rules to the newly approved plan, but others have lagged behind.
“These states have cited that due to the unprecedented national COVID-19 pandemic, state regulators have been unable to work with their state legislatures to acquire necessary statutory amendments,” said the letter.
Over 20 states have stuck with their original plans for the 2020 growing season. Advocates are also hoping to gain some more time to negotiate several points in the plan that are causing them pain like the USDA’s requirement to use DEA-registered labs for testing, getting more disposal options in place for hot hemp, and requiring growers to test their plants within 15 days of harvest.