February 27, 2020 – USDA announced updated Enforcement Discretion of certain provisions in the Interim Final Rule. These changes affect all hemp farmers in the United States operating under the 2018 Farm Bill and USDA Interim Final Rules.
Delay in DEA Registered Lab Requirements
USDA announced a delay in enforcement of the requirement for DEA Laboratory registration. DEA registration requirement for labs will not be enforced until after Oct 31, 2021 or publication of the final rules, whichever is first.
This change resulted due to the comments received that
“that these provisions will serve as a significant hindrance to the growth of a domestic hemp market at this nascent stage. For instance, 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”
Disposal of Non-compliant Plants
The IFR rule requires hemp producers to use a DEA-registered reverse distributor or law enforcement to dispose of non-compliant plants (Cannabis with a THC level of over 0.3% on a dry weight basis is considered marijuana). However, USDA has announced hemp producers do not have to comply with this requirement IF the producer disposes of the plants using one or more of the Hemp Disposal Activities methods approved by USDA that are considered common on-farm practices as a means of disposal while rendering the controlled substance non-retrievable or non-ingestible:
- Plowing Under
- Bush Mower/Chopper
- Deep Burial (At least 12 in)