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Hemp producers will now have more freedom under the new policies regarding acceptable THC levels before they are declared criminally negligent. The margin of error for federally mandated THC levels has increased from 0.5% to 1%.

Hemp farmers and testing agents can also get a longer time frame to harvest crops just after testing, with the ` raised from 15 days to 30 days just after the testing is done. The amendments have been made to consider unpredictable variables like testing, weather conditions, agricultural methods and equipment delays.

There are still several issues that the USDA didn’t seem to budge on, such as sampling specifications and the requirement for laboratories to enrol in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

Federal farming rule makers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched final hemp production policies on Friday during the Trump Administration’s last week. 

The final guideline in line with public feedback from farmers and sector members regarding temporary hemp rules launched last 2019 starts to apply on March 22.

The enacted 2014 Farm Bill that states production rules will end on October 31, 2021, though 50% of the states are still running the hemp production programs until this date. After which, all state and tribal hemp production programs should follow the USDA’s final hemp production policies.

Sampling Specifications

Apart from expanding the harvest time frame from 15 to 30 days just after sampling, the USDA revised sampling specifications a bit.

Within the final rule, USDA retains its sampling requirement since THC is concentrated around the plant’s flower material. As recommended by many farmers and industry members, it is more appropriate to test the top of the plant compared to its other parts to get the homogenised whole-plant samples.

The requirement was revised slightly by having the sample be taken from about 5 to 8 inches coming from the “main stem,” “terminal bud,” or “central cola,” comprising the leaves as well as the flowers of the top flowering part of the plants.

The rule states that this modification is in line with the sampling methods in numerous states which created hemp programs according to the 2014 Farm Bill authority.

The final rule permits states and tribes to embrace a “performance-based approach to sampling” on their programs. USDA is maintaining the requirement that only specified agents could acquire samples.

Testing and Negligence

The agriculture regulators highlighted that they couldn’t raise the legal THC limit over 0.3% as it is a modification that should be left to Congress.

Despite this, the agency has changed how it will regulate negligence charges for farmers whose crops that test to more than 0.3% THC content.

Producers still have to get rid of plants beyond the 0.3% authorised limit. However, when the plant tests at or more than the limit, producers won’t be held criminally liable for a “negligent violation,” the first time that it occurs. The act could result in criminal drug charges if done again.

The final rule raises the negligence limit from 0.5% to 1% and offers producers the right to 1 negligent violation during the calendar year’s growing season. 

This means hemp farmers can focus more on what’s most important!

DEA Laboratory Requirement

Hemp should still be screened for THC level in the DEA-certified laboratory since the facilities can potentially manage cannabis which tests more than 0.3% THC in a dry weight basis, that’s my description, marijuana and a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Then again, USDA officials realized that they don’t have enough DEA-certified laboratories all over the country for states to comply instantly, thus enforcement won’t start to apply till December 31, 2022.

Although the call to use DEA-certified labs will certainly frustrate a lot of producers, the USDA reported on its rule that since late 2018, several laboratories have requested to sign up and DEA is working hard to process all these requests.

Disposal Changes

Farmers notched an incomplete success on disposal and remediation processes for “hot hemp.”

The USDA states that hemp flowers that contain more than 0.3% THC must be eliminated. However, the rule right now permits farmers to hold and then sell other sections of the plant.

The rule states that Hemp producers must have the chance to remediate non-compliant crops to reduce financial risk from the loss of investment on their hemp harvest.

That is why this final rule permits removal activities, either getting rid of flower materials and salvaging the other parts of the plant or mixing the whole plant into biomass plant products.

On the other hand, the final rule doesn’t permit manufacturing procedures to extract THC from ‘hot’ hemp, making it legal, as a few people had wished.

Farmers such as Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller had already asked the government to give more choices for non-compliant hemp crops. According to Miller at the Texas Marijuana Policy Conference, it’ isn’t just right to eradicate the entire crop when you can find solutions to fix that concern.

The original rule called for authorities or a person authorised to deal with Schedule 1 substances to eradicate the plants off-site. The final version stands to the changes the agency first did in February, permitting farmers to or plough the non-compliant plants on their farms.

The USDA states the modification mainly made to reduce costs for law enforcement. As what the agency said, “We’re confident that any disposal methods make the crop unusable and so isn’t at risk for getting into any channel of business.”

USDA Provides Compliance Assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the rules to grant producers enough time to get ready for the 2021 season, right after given authorisation from the White House Office of Management and Budget and other departments influenced by the changes.

USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach said that through the publication of this final rule, USDA has concluded a complete and transparent rule-making process which began with a hemp hearing session last March 2019.

USDA personnel took the details that the people provided on the three comment periods and the growing season’s experiences to create rules that satisfy Congressional purpose while offering a reasonable, consistent, science-based method for states, tribes well as individual producers.

Ibach also said that the USDA would provide the hemp sector with education and outreach to help them attain compliance with the requirements.

Early responses from business advocates showed satisfaction that USDA paid attention to public feedback and modified particular hemp production rules; however, the incoming Biden Administration will examine the final regulations.

Larry Farnsworth, a spokesperson for the National Industrial Hemp Council, said that they’d be expecting, as always in the case of new administrations that this rule would be among the many concerns that will be frozen on the very first day of the Biden Administration. “We look forward to working through these issues with the incoming Biden Administration and have all of this year to get it right before the 2014 authorities sunset”, he added.

This is great new’s for the Global Hemp Industry

Hemp Foods have been made LEGAL today!! This is an amazing result for Australia. We have finally caught up with the rest of the world, and it will have great results on lots of levels, for your health, as hemp is nutritious, and also for the farmers who now have a sustainable and viable crop to grow. Here at ‘Hemp Co’ we are on target to grow Hemp this year, that will now have a dual purpose. Fibre for our building materials to build houses and seeds for our Food products. It’s a win win all round, not just for here in the South West of WA, but for the whole of Australia. It’s been a long 20 years of lobbying government! Common sense has finally prevailed.

Medicinal Marijuana given the Green Light.

As you may already know, our Health Minister Greg Hunt announced yesterday, companies will be permitted to apply to distribute cannabis oils and medications locally, establishing an immediate legal marijuana trade. News Corp Australia understands the government has been actively discussing the issue with half a dozen companies who are ready to distribute immediately.
Due to no available legal market in Australia, until now they were forced to import medicinal cannabis products from overseas or turn to the black market. Importation from overseas often meant cannabis products were unable to be received for months due to regulatory paperwork and compliance. Patients were also forced to obtain an importation permit for each specific importation from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

So how does this effect the Industrial Hemp Industry in Australia?
The answer is very little and nothing for industrial hemp farmers.
However, surely now Hemp Foods, should get the Green Light too!!
Let’s see what happens in April.
Hemp Foods would be a very viable industry for our farmers here in Australia.

Hemp home is going well considering the amount of rain we have had, these photos will document on how we are building, The outer ring beam will support the hempcrete walls and roof,
We are using a new ECO flooring system made here in WA, The Breathable MGO board is 50mm Fire rated termite proof moisture resistant and feels soft under foot, It has held up remarkable as we had 204mm of rain in 5 days just after we laid it, its breathability meant it released the water after a few dry days and dried out ,If we had used our traditional way of underfloor insulation, chipboard , and cement sheet,the floor would have swelled and held water with the amount of rain we had , MGO Board is made up of Magnesium oxide which is a natural mineral and has been used as a bonding agent for mortar in masonry construction for centuries in asia ,also a blend of sawdust and glass mesh fibres cast into trays and cured at ambient temperature ,requiring little or no embodied energy,
The house is now framed and roof should be on by the end of next week,The hemp and binder has arrived , so its all systems go, with this flooring system and hempcrete walls, we are creating a beautiful home that breathes ,and will have no air leaks , thus letting the hempcrete and floor do its thing,We have changed our traditional method of wall framing , to suit our hempcrete walls, these will be documented in the next update

Our local builder and owner of Hemp Co, is the first in Western Australia to be constructing a Hemp-based home. Gary Rogers is using a material know as hempcrete, which creates a healthy living environment and reduces the home’s carbon footprint.”At the moment, 64% of carbon emissions caused are from building products and we can’t keep going that way” he said. Hempcrete homes are naturally resistant to fire and pests, reducing the need to add toxic chemicals. “There is also no need for air-conditioning or embodied heating because the walls are breathable, so the house will always remain at around 14 degrees” he said. Hempcrete was also valuable during a bush-fire because the product hardened under heat.It ticks all the boxes.

We will be following Gary over the next few months of the Hemp build, to show how how it is constructed.

BMW’s electric car sheds weight with Hemp! BMW have been testing and using natural fibers like hemp since the 1990’s. By 2006, Hemp panels were used in all of BMW’s 5 series models. Many luxury European car makers – including Mercedes and Audi – now make use of Hemp in some form. Great News!

Great read about Hemp Co, in the ‘Your Margaret River Region Magazine’ for this Autumn. You can pick up your free copy from any of the visitor centre’s, Dunsborough, Busselton, Augusta & Margaret River. Plus are Stores, Fremantle & Margaret River.

NSW legislative Council after it voted 17-16 to adopt a motion calling on the Government to work with other Australian governments to lift the ban on Hemp Foods products.
Come on Western Australia lets follow!

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When it comes to hemp, there isn’t much we don’t do! Come on down and say hi to the team at our stores!
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