USDA publishes interim final rule on Hemp: key takeaways

On October 31, 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published an interim final rule (IFR) on domestic hemp production. This rule establishes a regulatory framework for USDA oversight of domestic hemp production in accordance with the 2018 Farm Bill. While many questions remain about how the federal government, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will regulate hemp-derived products, including cannabidiol (CBD) cosmetics, dietary supplements, and food products, we’ve addressed below the most important takeaways from the IFR with regard to the provisions that would apply to the farmers who are growing hemp.

Scope of Interim Final Rule

The scope of the IFR is limited to the production, sampling, testing, and disposal of hemp plants. The 2018 Farm Bill and the IFR’s requirements (licensing, etc.) apply to hemp producers, and the regulations define producers as, essentially, farmers that grow (or cultivate) hemp plants for market. In other words, the USDA is not regulating the processing, manufacture, testing, or marketing of hemp-derived products (including CBD products) through the IFR. FDA retains authority over the manufacturing and marketing of CBD, and other cannabinoid-containing pharmaceuticals, foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) retains jurisdiction over any plants or products that contain greater than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. USDA also reiterates that states may not prohibit the transportation or shipment of hemp produced in accordance with the IFR (and the 2018 Farm Bill) or the 2014 Farm Bill.

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