State Hemp Programs are getting another year to get their plans into compliance with USDA rules. Congress recently signed a stop-gap budget bill that included a delay on when state, tribes, and territories will have to comply with hemp rules. This extension comes a month before the previous deadline of October 31.
While 20 states have already adopted plans that comply with the rules, the rest are still operating under the rules laid out in the 2014 Farm Bill. The research-based rules of that bill appeal to states because of their leniency on the THC levels of crops and the requirements to dispose of hot hemp.
This extension is highly supported by the industry which has been in an outcry since the rules were released. They have been furious for some time about how restrictive these rules are for hemp farmers, with fears that they will unduly penalize small farmers who are just starting to learn how to grow hemp.
Advocates of the industry tout this as a win, believing that delaying these debilitating rules from crushing local farmers will keep their dreams alive. They also see it as a way for the top-producing states to keep their numbers up through this year. Many of the top producing states did not operate under the USDA’s proposed rules this year. States like Arizona, Californian, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, and Oregon have delayed submitting plans as long as possible, hoping to continue operating as they previously have.
Others question whether or not this will help farmers across the nation or in just a few key states. There is the argument that this delay will only keep the top producers alive while crushing the small farmers in states who are already working to comply with the rules.