Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its approval of 10 new pesticides for use on hemp products. EPA’s approval of nine biopesticides and one conventional pesticide provides greater certainty to hemp farmers in time for the 2020 planting season.
The hemp industry awaits further guidance from other federal regulatory agencies.
In December 2018, Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill), which explicitly removed hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. The 2018 Farm Bill directed the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a regulatory framework for hemp production in the United States. USDA recently released its interim final rule including proposed rules and regulations regarding USDA’s approval of hemp production plans submitted by States and Indian Tribes, and the establishment of a Federal Plan for hemp growers in States without a USDA-approved plan. Comments on the proposed rule were initially due by December 30, 2019, but the USDA recently extended the deadline to January 29, 2020, to allow stakeholders additional time submit feedback.
Further, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) possesses regulatory authority over products containing cannabis or cannabis derived compounds under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The FDA has recognized hemp and several hemp-derived compounds as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) under its food ingredient standards; however, this does not cover CBD—even CBD derived from hemp produced under the 2018 Farm Bill.