The U.S. Department of Agriculture received a letter on Wednesday requesting some changes to the rules that they proposed last month. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sent a letter hoping to sway the minds of Washington.
They commend the USDA for taking the first step. They hope to build upon the rules that the agency has proposed so that they are more workable for farmers and legislators to enforce. They voiced their concerns about some unintended effects that these rules could have on farmers that would restrain the industry before it has a chance to flourish.
The concerns highlighted in the letter sent to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are aligned with those that the USDA received during the public comment period.
They had several suggestions for the legislation:
- The rules propose that all hemp be tested within 15 days of harvest. The senators argue that this time frame is too narrow for all farmers nationwide to comply with and request that they follow the more lenient 28 day period that Oregon uses.
- The testing must be completed at a laboratory registered with the Drug Enforcement Agency. They argue that this would bottleneck the testing of hemp and that independent laboratories should be allowed to test hemp crops.
- The senators are requesting them to restrict the THC tests to look only for delta-9 THC to go against the 0.3% threshold. They argue that as this chemical is the main psychoactive ingredient, it should be the only one tested for.
- They appreciate the margin of error that the USDA is giving farmers with their 0.3% THC threshold. However, they argue that the upper limit is arbitrary and ask for a more reasonable threshold of 1% if there has to be regulation at all.
“Farmers in Oregon and across the country are on the precipice of an agricultural boom that, with the right regulatory framework, stands to boost rural economies in every corner of the country,” they wrote.