The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its long-awaited Domestic Hemp Production Program rules, following the reclassification of hemp as an agricultural commodity in the 2018 federal Farm Bill.
Agriculture Commissioner Nicole “Nikki” Fried, who will oversee Florida’s state hemp program through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, offered the following statement:
“The announcement by the USDA is welcome news to the many Florida farmers I have heard from who are excited to take advantage of this alternative crop. This keeps us on track for implementation of our state program ahead of the 2020 growing season. We will continue working closely with federal and state officials as we build our state program into a model for the nation, setting a gold standard for this emerging industry and creating billions in economic opportunity for Florida. We hope to see other federal agencies take swift action to facilitate the emerging hemp industry, such as addressing issues with pesticide use, access to financial services, and regulation of CBD products.”
The interim final USDA rule will become effective immediately upon publication in the Federal Register later this week. This will allow states to submit plans to the USDA to begin regulating hemp production, and provide eligibility for hemp producers to access a variety of USDA programs.
Fried has been a consistent champion of Florida’s emerging hemp industry, appointing in February the state’s first-ever Cannabis Director, hosting five workshops and public hearings across Florida on hemp state rulemaking, and working ahead of USDA to finalize rule development. More about Florida’s state hemp program can be found at FDACS.gov/Cannabis.