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Congressional Letter to USDA from Senator Braun & Congressman Baird- Concerns with IFR

Congressional support for hemp!

Senator Mike Braun (R-Indiana) and Congressman James R. Baird (R-Indiana) submitted a joint congressional letter to USDA regarding the Domestic Hemp Production Interim Final Rule. The letter outlines four major areas in which they hope to see policy reform on behalf of American hemp farmers.

It is imperative that the Department operates with the understanding that important questions surrounding … best farming practices have yet to be answered.Senator Braun & Congressman James R. Baird, USDA letter excerpt Dec 16, 2019 

Hemp Production Rules Need Reform

Here are the four areas of the IFR highlighted for policy reform:

  1. The 0.5% negligence threshold should be derived from a number that is soundly based in science

  2. A 15-day harvest window does not provide adequate flexibility to producers

  3. Compliance testing should strictly measure for Delta-9 THC as opposed to “Total THC”

  4. USDA should expand sampling guidelines to allow for sampling of the entire plant in calculating THC levels

You can read the letter in its entirety here.

Negligence Threshold for THC% in Hemp

While the congressional letter did say that the four topics were listed “in no particular order”, the THC negligence threshold was highlighted as particularly concerning

The negligence threshold is the amount of THC allowed in a hemp plant before it is considered marijuana and is subject to criminal action by the DEA. The current negligence threshold stated by the USDA is .5%.

Senator Braun and Congressman Baird highlight the .5% threshold as being particularly problematic for farmers. Domestic hemp is a new industry and there are many agricultural and general industry factors to consider. Drought, extreme weather, genetics, seed manufacturing practices, and testing methods all contribute to the THC concentration in hemp. Therefore, the letter urges USDA to (a) share the science that contributed to the .5% threshold limit, and (b) set a new limit to better protect farmers using best practices and good intentions.

Joining the Cause

Thank you Senator Braun and Congressman Baird for advocating on behalf of American hemp farmers!

If you are interested in getting involved with hemp advocacy, now is the time! At AgHS, our mission is to support our clients and the industry by influencing and securing adoption of rational legislation and rulemaking consistent with the intent of the 2018 Farm Bill on both the state and federal levels that protects U.S. hemp farmers and agribusinesses, and supports departments of agriculture.

To learn more, join our mailing list today!

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