When the 2018 Farm Bill (PL-115-334) was signed into law last December, we took a moment to celebrate. We quickly got back to work, because when you’re truly building something, you know that change comes incrementally. It's been a long five years and we're proud to have helped achieve this. Today the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued their Interim Final Rule for hemp production as mandated in the 2018 Farm Bill. This long awaited guidance is the next step forward for legal hemp production in the United States and our work to continue developing.
“We are excited by the news from USDA today. This large step forward bridges the 2014 Farm Bill's industrial hemp pilot program into the 2018 Farm Bill's commercialization of hemp production,” said Steve Bevan, President and Executive Chair of GenCanna. Mr. Bevan continued, “We would expect that GenCanna and Kentucky's hemp farmers are well positioned, because the Interim Final Rule is consistent with the KDA's regulatory framework. KDA leadership, under Commissioner Ryan Quarles, has clearly positioned Kentucky hemp growers as the epicenter of compliant USA hemp production.”
“It is clear that under the USDA's interim final rule, AMS has taken every possible step to protect the interests of farmers. Their disposition is most prominently stated in their testing protocols that include a ‘band of tolerance’ for THC levels and a ‘high degree of certainty when testing’ before moving forward with having to dispose of a crop,” said Brett Goldman, GenCanna VP of Government and Industry. He added, ”This is very significant, as they [USDA] appear to be taking every measure possible that results in a positive economic outcome for farmers.”
“THC testing will continue to be at the forefront of stable compliance and productions, and we are encouraged that USDA LAP approved labs will be required for testing,” said Chris Stubbs, GenCanna Chief Science Officer. Mr. Stubbs continued, “These labs will need to be ISO 17025 accredited, which GenCanna’s internal laboratory have already obtained. We are also 21 CFR 110, 111, and 117 accredited or pending accreditation.” Under the Interim Final Rule, the public will have 60 days to comment on the federal register, we urge you to do as well. Public feedback will matter greatly to ensure the new hemp program is well executed during the 2020 growing season.
Most of the contents of the interim final rule were previously laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill and this further codifies it. We look forward to working collaboratively with USDA over the coming months and years in order to provide feedback and best practices for the implementation of the new USDA Hemp Program,” said Matty Mangone-Miranda, Chief Executive Officer at GenCanna. He continued, “None of this would have been possible without the leadership of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Rand Paul, and Members of Congress James Comer and Andy Barr.”
As Senator McConnell commented upon news breaking, “I impressed upon USDA the need to finalize this new framework before the 2020 growing season. And I’d like to thank Secretary Perdue and the USDA for fulfilling this commitment with the announcement we are expecting later this morning…It’s a privilege for me to stand with Kentucky farmers every step of the way. Together, we’ll continue charting hemp’s course into the future.”
Legalization of hemp has brought on new challenges that require real-world solutions and creative thinking with public-private collaboration. We are committed to showing up when called by our elected officials, regulators, law enforcement, and our peers in the industry to collectively determine a path forward. At the end of the day, we're all here to ensure that our consumers receive high-quality, American grown hemp products from a reliable and sustainable source.