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Sept. 20, 2019
By Sarah CatoU of A System Division of Agriculture
(615 words with art at https://flic.kr/p/ZLRKCj)
Download Word version
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Unanswered questions for industrial hemp production in the United
States have the industry watching the United States Department of Agriculture closely
as they await regulations, according to the National Agricultural Law Center.
The National Agricultural Law Center, a unit of the University of Arkansas System
Division of Agriculture, hosted a webinar Sept. 19 to address some of the concerns
that have growers scratching their heads, such as the legality of CBD, THC testing
and crop insurance.
CBD oilAlthough cannabidiol, better known as CBD, seems to be the money maker for hemp producers,
there is still a large gray area surrounding the product.
“According to the Federal Drug Administration, or FDA, it is illegal to add CBD oil
to food or to a dietary supplement,” said Rusty Rumley, Senior Staff Attorney for
the NALC. “And although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp, Section 297D
states that nothing in the Farm Bill overrides the FDA.”
FDA has approved CBD for treatment of severe childhood epilepsy, however states are
taking their own approach, Rumley said. Some states are allowing CBD to be used in
food or dietary supplements while others are following FDA guidance and not allowing
“The FDA says that it is bound by the law, but they aren’t doing much to enforce it,
except in extreme cases,” Rumley said. “Initial statements from the FDA said this
could take years to resolve unless Congress gets involved.”
On Sept. 17, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell pushed to expedite action from
THC testingFor hemp to be considered legal in the U.S., it cannot have more than 0.3 percent
tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component of hemp.
“The biggest issue we’re facing is the THC testing,” Rumley said. “One of the most
critical issues is how do you measure it and what do you measure?”
There isn’t a standard testing procedure, and current THC testing regulations vary
from state to state.
“In California hemp must be tested no more than 30 days before harvest,” Rumley said.
“Kentucky has a 15-day harvest window.”
Different states also have different requirements for samples that are tested and
exceed 0.3 percent THC.
“Some states mandate samples be destroyed if it reaches above 0.3 percent, while others
allow for re-testing,” Rumley said. “Growers and processors need to check with their
states to see what the protocol is in their jurisdiction.”
Although the goal is to have a simple, inexpensive and reliable test for THC levels,
Rumley said there are still a lot of questions surrounding the protocol. Are the current
tests accurate enough for a court of law? In cases of interstate transport, whose
test results would be used?
Crop insuranceStarting in 2020, hemp will be insurable under the Whole Farm Revenue Protection Plan.
Producers can choose to cover between 50 and 85 percent of farm revenue.
There are some distinctions for industrial hemp, however:
During the webinar, Rumley also discussed the status of other issues for industrial
hemp production such as the labeled pesticides, contracts with processors, and expense
and quality of sourcing seed.
Those interested can watch the recording here.
For more information on industrial hemp production in the U.S., visit https://nationalaglawcenter.org/research-by-topic/industrialhemp/
For more information on agricultural law, or upcoming webinars, visit https://nationalaglawcenter.org/
See more of what the National Agricultural Law Center does on Twitter at @Nataglaw.
About the National Agricultural Law CenterThe National Agricultural Law Center serves as the nation’s leading source of agricultural and food law research and information.
The Center works with producers, state and federal policymakers, Congressional staffers,
attorneys, land grant universities, and many others to provide objective, nonpartisan
agricultural and food law research and information to the nation’s agricultural community.
The Center is a unit of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
and works in close partnership with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, National
About the Division of AgricultureThe University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal
access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to
participate or need materials in another format, please contact 479-575-4607 as soon
as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
# # #
Media Contact: Sarah Cato firstname.lastname@example.org