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Oregon Senators Request 5 Changes To Proposed Hemp Regulations

Oregon Senators Request 5 Changes To Proposed Hemp Regulations

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Wednesday that proposes changes to the new rule for domestic hemp production before it's finalized.

The senators are the authors of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 that was included in the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp nationwide. 

In the letter, Wyden and Merkley said they are pleased with the issuance of the interim rule, but pointed out what they said are negative impacts it could have on hemp production in Oregon and the U.S. 

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Wyden and Merkley requested the following five changes:

1. To extend the timelines for testing before and after harvest to a more reasonable time frame. The USDA requires hemp plant testing to be conducted within 15 days of anticipated harvest, whereas the Oregon Department of Agriculture demands within 28 days of harvest.

2. Remove the demand that testing labs must be DEA-registered, as hemp, “like all other legal agricultural commodities, should not be subjected to prohibitive DEA regulations.” The senators said this could cause needless delays for hemp producers.

3. “To allow testing for delta-9 THC using methods that do not involve the application of heat or decarboxylation, and to remove all requirements for converting THCA into THC,” as the 2018 Farm Bill already allows “other similarly reliable methods.”

4. To pursue Oregon’s pre-harvest sampling protocol regarding the parts of hemp plants that should be sampled. Oregon’s protocol demands the following: “sample shall be obtained from flowering tops when flowering tops are present, and shall be approximately 8 inches in length,” compared to the USDA’s requirements to sample from the flower or bud at the top one-third of the plant.

5. To raise the negligence threshold for THC content to more than 1%. USDA set a negligence threshold for hemp at 0.5% THC, which concerns farmers who think it is too low.

“We appreciate USDA’s commitment to hemp producers across the United States, and are pleased by your efforts to grow and support domestic hemp production. Farmers in Oregon and across the country are on the precipice of an agricultural boom that, with the right regulatory framework, stands to boost rural economies in every corner of the country,” the senators said. 

Posted-In: farm billCannabis Government News Regulations Politics Markets General Best of Benzinga


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