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USDA’s Final Rule on Hemp Regulation Impacts Louisiana Hemp Growers

Mike Strain, the Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, recently announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had made its final rule on industrial hemp production in the US.

According to KLFY, the final rule will establish how states will regulate the hemp industry. These new modifications to the current rule were made after Strain made the following comments about 2020’s hemp growing season.

“The final rule will impact Louisiana hemp growers. However, it will require changes in the law and regulations at the state level, which takes time,” Strain explained. “The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) will work with the legislature during the 2021 legislative session to align Louisiana’s hemp law with the final rule.”

Here are some of the alterations to the law that Louisiana hemp growers must expect:

Licensing requirements
Deadline to harvest hemp following the official THC sample collection and analysis extended from 15 to 30 days
Procedures used to sample THC concentration levels for hemp
Procedures used to dispose and remediate non-compliant plants
Compliance provisions
Procedures for handling violations

According to the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Louisiana’s state industrial hemp plan was approved by the USDA on Dec. 23, 2019. Since December 27, 2019, the LDAF Industrial Hemp Program has been accepting license applications to produce, transport, and process industrial hemp in Louisiana.

Anyone growing, handling, transporting, or processing industrial hemp or hemp seed must have a current license issued by the LDAF. These are the four types of hemp licenses available:

Grower License – allows a licensee to cultivate, handle, and transport industrial hemp, regardless of its intended use;
Processor License – enables a licensee to handle, process, and transport industrial hemp;
Seed Producer – allows a licensee to produce, transport, and sell industrial hemp seed;
Contract Carrier – permits a licensee to transport industrial hemp; this is essential for transporters who aren’t operating as licensed growers or processors of the plant material.

At this point, the “Bayou State” has 95 industrial hemp licensees. If you’d like to check the final rule, it’s available for viewing in the Federal Register and goes into effect on March 22.

Originally Published on 2021 02 02 by Louis Levey | DOPE Magazine

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