Hemp Regulations-Worried Growers

In this April 24, 2018, file photo, a hemp plant is pollinated at the Unique Botanicals facility in Springfield, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Department of Agriculture has submitted the state’s plan to regulate industrial hemp to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state agency said.

With passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and issuing of USDA interim rules, states who wish to maintain oversight of industrial hemp production must submit a plan before Oct. 31, 2020. The USDA will review the plan before approving West Virginia’s regulatory framework for the 2021 growing season.

“There is a lot of discussion surrounding the rules proposed by the USDA. Many states have concerns, including West Virginia,” West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt said in a press release. “For our state’s industry to continue to grow, we have to work with our federal partners to create a business-friendly environment for producers.”

Farmers will continue to operate under the current rules and regulations for the 2020 growing season, the release said.

“After October of this year, states must have rules that mirror federal regulations or have state producers file for permit directly with the USDA,” the release said. “Currently, 22 states and 17 tribal organizations have submitted plans for review. Last year, 90% of West Virginia farmers had successful crops. I am confident our farmers will continue to prosper regardless of what the final rules or plan looks like,” Leonhardt said. “Our goal is to work with our producers on educational outreach, so they fully understand what is expected of them.”

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