The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finally approved six plans to grow hemp legally. The USDA has approved the plans of three states and three tribes to start producing hemp for the new year. This is a direct result of the 2018 Farm Bill.
States: Louisiana, New Jersey, and Ohio
Tribes: The Flandreau Santee Sioux, Santa Rosa Cahuilla, and La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes
All of these states and tribes will be the first ones in the country to be able to produce hemp for sales purposes. Each state/ tribe will operate and submit a set of guidelines to the federal government.
“The Tribe is confident that this plant is not only an incredible economic opportunity because of its vast product offerings, but is also native to this area, and beneficial to the environment,” said Flandreau Santee Sioux’s Attorney General Seth Pearman.
First of Many
These six approvals are only the beginning of hemp production. Many other states and tribes have already applied for licenses of their own. To do so, you can apply on their website.
The department is also running a website that shows the status of all the submitted plans from the USDA. Over a dozen tribes have already submitted additional plans, while it looks like just about every state in the country is in some stage of the process.
“If a state or tribe has an approved plan or is in the process of developing a plan, growers must apply and be licensed or authorized under its hemp program,” reads the notice released by the USDA. “If a state or tribe does not have a plan and does not intend to have a plan, growers can apply for a license from USDA.”
2018 Farm Bill
The USDA was instructed to develop a set of rules and guidelines for potential hemp production. The 2018 Farm Bill also forced the department to create provisions for reviewing plans submitted by states and tribes.
Some states have submitted plans to obtain hemp licenses so that their local farmers can obtain more benefits.
“[It] is in New Jersey’s best interests to administer a program within the State to ensure the needs of local farmers and businesses are being met, ” it reads in New Jersey’s submitted proposal.
The first set of approvals came during a public comment period. During this time, stakeholders voiced their opinions and expressed concerns. The public hearing has been extended to January 29, 2020, due to the large volume of input.
This is yet another huge step for the cannabis industry. It proves how the government is slowly warming up to cannabis culture and is willing to experiment with new regulations. You can expect to see a lot more proposals be approved in the next couple of months.