- Federal officials delay the required THC testing of hemp at laboratories registered with the DEA.
- The FDA acknowledges the demand for CBD and says it would be a “fool’s errand” to try and remove it from shelves.
- No timeline has been provided by the FDA regarding CBD regulation.
The previous ruling that all hemp crops must undergoing THC testing at laboratories registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been delayed by federal agriculture officials.
This delay in testing comes after a series of complaints from farmers and states that there would not be enough DEA labs to handle the testing demands of producers.
“We now better understand how the limited number of DEA-registered labs will hinder testing and better understand the associated costs with disposing of product that contains over 0.3% THC could make entering the hemp market too risky,” the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) stated.
This agreement with the DEA will provide some relief from the lab certification process that threatened to stall the industry. It also spotlights the USDA’s willingness to listen and adjust accordingly to the market, something that is vital for such a young industry.
Although the USDA’s testing update provides relief for this year, states are still expected to acquire their laboratory certificates next year. Greg Ibach, undersecretary for the USDA, told members of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) meeting:
“DEA will still expect states to work with their laboratories to try to achieve certification for the 2021 crop year.”
Hemp business owners certainly welcomed the update.
FDA Shifting Stance?
It has been well over a year since the FDA originally spoke about creating regulations for CBD products, and still no progress has seemed to have been made. And while it may seem like the FDA has been sweeping CBD under the rug, the newly appointed commissioner of the FDA, Dr. Stephen Hahn, just spoke on its demand earlier this week.
“We’re not going to be able to say you can’t use these products. It’s a fool’s errand to even approach that,” Hahn said at the NASDA meeting.
“We have to be open to the fact that there might be some value to these products, and certainly Americans think that’s the case. But we want to get them information to make the right decisions.”
No timeline has been provided regarding the regulation of CBD as the FDA still awaits better test results that help us better understand the effects of using CBD.
Other Notable Updates
In addition to delaying the rules regarding THC testing in DEA-approved labs, the USDA is also delaying the enforcement that you need DEA-registered reverse distributors in order to dispose of non-compliant plants. This delay will allow producers to dispose of these plants using on-farm procedures.
Hemp farmers are still required to document and report any disposal of non-compliant plants to the USDA.
The USDA will hold another open forum for the public in the fall to gather information on the 2020 growing season.
These updates show the USDA’s commitment to providing a fair and profitable hemp market and provide a huge relief to hemp business owners who have yet to begin generating capital. In the end, these delays should allow the hemp industry to grow and learn from its mistakes in the 2020 growing season.