USDA Publishes Hemp Rule

November 7, 2019

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announced new rules to allow the cultivation of hemp. Legalized in the 2018 farm bill, hemp is the same species as marijuana but has less than 0.3 percent by weight of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that produces marijuana’s high. Traditionally used in rope-making before it was banned, hemp is now the subject of intense interest because it is a source of cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that is being studied as an anxiety-reducer, a treatment for addiction and other potential uses.

The Food and Drug Administration, not USDA, regulates CBD itself, but under the new AMS rule, states will set up regulatory plans to allow and control hemp cultivation, including regular testing for THC levels and other restrictions. The rule goes into effect immediately but has a comment period and some changes could later be made in response to the comments.