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VDACS’ plan to regulate hemp production in Virginia approved by feds

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) plan to regulate hemp production in the Commonwealth, according to a news release from the Virginia Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

This approval allows VDACS to continue as the primary regulator of hemp production in Virginia, the news release said.

Notable changes to VDACS’s current regulation of hemp production in response to these new federal rules will include:

●    Requiring each applicant for an Industrial Hemp Grower Registration to submit a criminal history report to VDACS,

●    Requiring all registered Industrial Hemp Growers to test the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of their hemp lots 30 days before each hemp lot is harvested by utilizing private sampling agents and testing laboratories. Exceptions may be available to institutions of higher education researchers and certain growers producing fiber hemp under a contract with an industrial hemp fiber processing facility,

●    Requiring registered Industrial Hemp Growers to report certain crop information to USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

Brad Copenhaver, Commissioner of VDACS, was quoted as saying in the news release, “While the new federal hemp regulations require some adjustments to VDACS’s Industrial Hemp Program, we intend to continue the productive, supportive relationship we have had with Virginia’s hemp producers since our program was established. By operating this program under USDA’s new requirements, we aim to provide our hemp industry with certainty and parity, as all of the nation’s hemp producers are now expected to comply with the same set of rules. We look forward to continued collaboration with stakeholders in support of Virginia’s hemp industry.”

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, the production of hemp throughout the U.S. must comply with the 2018 federal Farm Bill’s hemp provisions and USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production Program regulations.

Additionally, state departments of agriculture with USDA-approved plans, like VDACS, must regulate hemp production in accordance with the 2018 federal Farm Bill’s hemp provisions and USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production Program regulations.

If the federal government provides new flexibility in the regulation of the production of hemp, VDACS’ news release said the department will consider the implementation of any program modifications that will benefit Virginia’s hemp growers.

VDACS said it :has begun communicating directly with currently registered Industrial Hemp Growers regarding the new requirements and will also release applications for trained sampling agents and testing laboratories.”

For more information, go to the VDACS Industrial Hemp webpage at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/plant-industry-services-hemp.shtml

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