The 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the production and sale of hemp, allows states and Indian tribes to create and administer their own hemp production plans. Pursuant to the 2018 Farm Bill, the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) is authorized to approve state and tribal hemp production plants. On December 27, 2019, the USDA announced that it had approved for the first time six hemp production plan. The approvals include plans submitted by three states and three Indian tribes. The initial state-approved hemp production plans stem from Louisiana, New Jersey, and Ohio.
The USDA is maintaining a website summarizing the status of state and tribal hemp production plans that are pending approval, and that have been approved. As of today, 32 states have submitted hemp production plans for USDA approval. The approved hemp production plans have been publicly released, and can be reviewed on that website.
Hemp growers in the states and tribes with approved plans must apply and be licensed or authorized under the approved plan’s hemp program. Hemp growers located in states and tribes that do not have approved hemp production plans must abide by the interim final rule the USDA released earlier this year. The comment period on the USDA’s interim final rule has recently been extended, with all comments due on January 29, 2020.