The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) Schedule 1 Controlled Substance list and provided national guidance for the production of hemp in the United States. The specifics for hemp production in the United States were released by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Domestic Hemp Production Program rule on October 31, 2019. In general, the regulations released by USDA in their rule are more stringent than current state regulations growers have been operating under. The end result is all states and Tribal entities will be utilizing similar hemp production regulations. This not only allows for unfettered interstate transportation of raw hemp (some restrictions), but also creates an equal ‘playing field’ for all hemp growers with respect to meeting similar requirements including THC levels.
The 2018 Farm Bill language originally required states and Tribal entities that have legalized hemp production to adopt USDA’s federal hemp regulations through a USDA approval process by October 31, 2020. However, due to a continuing resolution (H.R. 8319) passed by U.S. Congress in September 2020, states are authorized to continue operating under 2014 Farm Bill hemp pilot programs through September 2021.
For the majority of 2021 growing season, NMDA will be accepting applications and issuing both Annual and Continuous Hemp Commercial Research Production Licenses under New Mexico’s 2019 and 2020 rule and polices. Additionally, we expect for the majority of 2021, harvest requirements and laboratory testing will be similar to the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons. New Mexico hemp growers must be aware: all regulations for hemp production in the state, including licensing requirements, sampling, testing, and destruction of non-compliant crops/plants are subject to change during the 2021 growing season with the publication of USDA’s final hemp rule. In anticipation of a transition to the new USDA standards, we encourage you to read over USDA’s general comments regarding the regulations and the rule requirements.