Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
USDA Releases Interim Final Rule Establishing a Domestic Hemp Production Program
VAAFM urges Vermont’s Hemp Industry to Submit Comment on the Rule
October 31, 2019 | Montpelier, VT ‐ On October 31, 2019 the Federal Register published the interim final rule establishing a Domestic Hemp Production Program. Upon its release, this interim final rule becomes effective for all states without hemp pilot programs. Vermont continues to operate under its pilot program enabled under the 2014 Farm Bill. This interim rule represents the beginning of the development of the final rule that addresses testing and recordkeeping requirements, acceptable THC levels, crop disposal, and the general authority for states to obtain primary regulatory authority over hemp production.
VAAFM encourages the public to provide written comments to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) comment period ending December 30, 2019. Access to the interim final rule and instructions on how to comment are on USDA’s website: https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/establishment-domestic-hemp-production-program.
The publication of the interim final rule does not immediately affect how hemp is regulated in Vermont. Vermont continues to operate under its pilot program, and the pilot program remains in effect until Vermont receives USDA approval for its state plan or the repeal of the authorization for state pilot programs under the 2014 Farm Bill, which is “1 year after the date on which the [USDA] Secretary establishes a plan”.
VAAFM continues to consider the implications of the national plan and the required contents of a state plan provide for in the interim final rule. VAAFM notes that the interim final rule focuses on preventing diversion of THC and destruction of “hot” crops, but not the opportunity this new crop brings in supporting small scale agriculture common in Vermont. And while the VAAFM supports consumer protection and quality control, it also supports defensible and sensible regulation that allows Vermont’s small, craft growers to take advantage of the economic opportunity and the continued development of supporting infrastructure, such as facilities that process grain, fiber and resinous hemp, and laboratories, which have drawn high paying jobs to the state.
Chief Policy Enforcement Officer
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Hemp Program (802) 828-1732
The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) under 6 V.S.A., chapter 34 must adopt rules establishing how the AAFM will conduct research within its hemp program and the requirements for the registration of hemp growers and processors. These rules will also address standards and expectations for record keeping, reporting, testing, and labeling, and include enforcement provisions as outlined by both state and federal law.
Industrial hemp or hemp is the Cannabis sativa L. plant including all parts of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. In Vermont, hemp is considered an “agricultural product” when grown by an individual that is registered with Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (the "Agency") as part of its pilot program. Cannabis sativa L. with a delta- 9 THC concentration greater than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis is not hemp and is not an agricultural product.
The Agency through its Hemp Program, authorized under 6 V.S.A., chapter 34, accepts registrations from interested hemp growers and processors. There are no residency requirements, minimum acreages, or limitations on the numbers of registrants. This is an annual registration; applications received and processed in previous years are not valid beyond the end of that calendar year. Growers and processors must have a valid registration prior to sowing through harvesting, drying and processing.
Questions about the Hemp Program can be directed to Agr.Hemp@vermont.gov or 802.828.1732.
Complaints about hemp cultivation or processing can reported to the Agency using the Environmental Complaint Form.
Registered Processors sourcing from Vermont Hemp Farmers (list)