USDA releases hemp regulations

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a long-awaited regulatory framework for hemp producers.

The rules, which have yet to be finalized, set procedures for data reporting, testing products for THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis),  and more.

Since hemp plants naturally contain THC, a federally illegal substance, most hemp production was outlawed until the 2018 Farm Bill legalized it nationwide. That bill, though, mandated that hemp plants must contain less than 0.3 percent THC.

The new regulations should provide some clarity for an industry that still at times exists in a legal gray area. But not all of them are favorable to producers.

In particular, the USDA’s timeline for testing THC levels appears problematic, The Denver Post reports. The new rules say that plants would have to be tested within 15 days before harvest — a quick turnaround for hemp producers.

Comments on the proposed regulations may be submitted through Regulations.gov until Dec. 30.

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