Hemp industry struggles with federal regulations

An alphabet soup of federal and state agencies oversees the growth, processing and distribution of hemp and its byproducts. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency now has released its interim rule for hemp products, joining the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has had an interim rule in place for nearly a year.

The problem with both agencies’ regulations is their strict interpretation of the difference between hemp and marijuana, said Erica McBride-Stark, executive director of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and the National Hemp Association.

“There are significant problems with the interim final rule that we are all striving to get fixed before those rules become final,” she said.

Hemp and marijuana are the same plant. The distinction between them is a legal one, not a botanical one. The 2018 farm bill says that anything comprised of more than 0.3% delta-9-THC — the substance that gets users high — is marijuana.

Farmers and processors both want to follow the rules, according to McBride-Stark. However, it’s difficult to control the precise amount of THC in a plant. It’s easy for hemp growing in a field to “go hot,” going over the legal limit. [Read More @ Triblive]