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Jan-31-2020 17:58printcomments

AHPA Suggests Improvements to Domestic Hemp Production Program

Comments reflect significant room for improvement in the hemp production Interim Final Rule.

hemp products
Hemp products are growing in number and quality.
Photo by Bonnie King

(SALEM, Ore.) - The American Herbal Products Association submitted has comments to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), requesting numerous, significant revisions to the Interim Final Rule (IFR) that establishes a domestic hemp production program before a Final Rule is promulgated in 2021.

AMS has indicated the IFR will be in effect for two years, impacting hemp production during the 2020 and 2021 hemp growing seasons. However, a number of states have already announced they will continue to operate their hemp production programs under the provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill for the 2020 growing season.

The reason for this decision is the timing of the release of the IFR in late 2019 and technical details that represent significant implementation challenges.

Some states have also cited the lack of qualified analytical laboratories that meet the requirements defined in the IFR as another consideration.

"The issuance of federal regulations for hemp production in the form of the IFR represent an important step forward for this crop.

"AHPA also believes that there exists significant room for improvement in the IFR and the subsequent Final Rule," said AHPA Director of Program Development Jane Wilson.

"These comments were prepared with considerable input from our more than 40 AHPA members directly engaged in the hemp-CBD trade. We also consulted with partner hemp associations, so we expect these comments are consistent with major concerns of industry stakeholders."

AHPA also strongly recommended that AMS conduct another public comment period towards the conclusion of the 2020 hemp growing season to allow for first-hand experience with the IFR provisions to inform the Final Rule.

AHPA's comments address a wide range of topics, including recommendations to improve the sampling and testing guidelines issued with the IFR.

AHPA noted the following concerns with the IFR:

  • The requirement to test hemp for THC content within 15 days prior to harvest provides insufficient time to reliably complete THC compliance testing and harvest activities
  • Setting the negligence threshold at 0.5% THC does not provide sufficient protection for hemp producers
  • Analytical laboratories should not be required to be DEA-registered to perform THC compliance testing
  • Law enforcement should not perform sampling of hemp plant material for pre-harvest testing
  • The scope of appeals processes should include technical issues
  • The provision regarding interstate transportation of hemp should specify the controlling THC test result to avoid legal disputes
  • Acceptable disposal of non-compliant plant material should include other methods besides crop destruction

AHPA also highlighted ways to improve the separate sampling and testing guidelines issued by AMS:

  • Hemp sample preparation procedures are overly burdensome for analytical laboratories
  • Hemp sampling protocols should be designed to achieve a more representative compliance testing sample
  • AMS should clarify how it intends to evaluate if alternate testing protocols meet the requirements of the testing guidelines
  • AMS should provide a public list of approved THC analytical methods
  • Determination of moisture content during analytical process and calculation of measurement of uncertainty require clarification

Read the submitted info here:

Source: American Herbal Products Association


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