Delegation urges feds to heed DACF input on hemp

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) and Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01) and Jared Golden (D-ME-02) wrote to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging the agency to heed the formal comments and concerns of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry (DACF) on the interim final rule on domestic hemp production.  

  “As you know, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 created a legal pathway for domestic hemp production. We appreciate that [USDA] published an interim final rule on October 31, 2019 to implement those farm bill provisions, providing much needed certainty for hemp growers and businesses in Maine and across the country,” the delegation wrote. “As [USDA] works on drafting a final rule, we respectfully request your consideration of DACF’s comments and concerns.”

  Hemp, which is grown in every Maine county, contains less than .3 percent THC and can be used for a variety of products, including rope, textile and paper. The state’s hemp industry has seen massive growth over the past year; more than 2,000 acres were planted in 2019, up from 550 acres in 2018.  

Pingree and Golden first wrote to USDA on April 30 to ask for expedited hemp regulations and clarity for Maine farmers.

USDA released the interim final rule Oct. 31. Public comment is open until Dec. 31.

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