Hemp Industry Stakeholders Release Updated Policy Recommendations and Model Plan for State Hemp Programs

Feb 27, 2020

DENVER — On Wednesday, a coalition of hemp industry stakeholders released new policy recommendations and an updated model plan for state hemp programs, providing policymakers across the U.S. with a guide to developing federally compliant state regulatory regimes. They can be viewed and downloaded at http://bit.ly/UpdatedHempPlan-Pt1.

The document was authored by attorneys with national cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP with support from Agricultural Hemp Solutions, the American Herbal Products Association, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, and Vote Hemp. It is the first part of a two-part update to the "2018 Farm Bill Policy Guide and Model Hemp Production Plan," which was produced by the same coalition of attorneys and organizations and released last February under the banner of the American Hemp Campaign.

Part one of the update focuses on policy considerations related to hemp production. It is intended to promote compliance with the 2018 farm bill and the minimum requirements for state regulatory plans detailed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in an interim final rule issued October 31, 2019. Part two of the update will be made available in coming weeks and addresses areas not governed by the USDA, such as processing and transportation.

"Our updated policy guide and model plan outline the best practices and legal requirements states can utilize to create hemp programs that are operable, successful, and federally compliant," said Shawn Hauser, the lead author of the document and chair of the hemp and cannabinoids practice group at Vicente Sederberg. "We plan to continue updating these documents to reflect the evolving legal and regulatory landscape governing the burgeoning U.S. hemp industry."

The 2018 farm bill was signed into law in December 2018, lifting the decades-long prohibition on hemp production in the U.S. and allowing for federally sanctioned hemp production governed by the USDA. It gave states, U.S. territories, and American Indian tribes the option to act as primary regulatory authority, requiring those that choose to do so to first submit their regulatory plans to the USDA. In order to receive approval, plans must meet minimum requirements set forth in the farm bill, including regulations for registration, testing and inspection. States that choose not to regulate or prohibit hemp production cede jurisdiction to federal authority. Several states are in the process of creating plans, and  plans from eight states and 10 tribes have already been approved, according to the USDA website.

"Congress took a monumental step forward by ending our federal government's decades-long prohibition on hemp production," Hauser said. "It is equally important that it be replaced with sensible laws and regulations that protect public health and safety while also allowing this new industry to flourish. This crop has an exceptional amount of potential to boost our economy and improve our environment, but it will only be reached if the rules that govern it are fair and practical."