USDA Approves Hemp Production Plans For Minnesota, Tennessee And Puerto Rico

The U.S. Department of Agriculture or USDA said it has approved hemp production plans for Minnesota, Tennessee and Puerto Rico under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.

The total number of USDA approved hemp production plans across states, territories and Indian tribes has now risen to 53.

The USDA said it continues to receive and review hemp production plans from states and Indian tribes.

Following the USDA's approval of Minnesota's hemp production plan, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said, "While this is a major step forward, there are still concerns over some the regulations imposed on states and tribal governments, such as testing requirements. We look forward to continuing our dialog with USDA so we can ensure Minnesota's hemp growers and processors are successful in this fledging industry."

Minnesotans first planted hemp under the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's or MDA Pilot Program in 2016. There were six growers that year.

Currently, 511 people have grower or processor licenses, while 8,605 hemp acres and 4.66 million indoor square feet of growing space are registered with the MDA.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico is the second territory approval since hemp was federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. In May, the USDA approved the U.S. Virgin Island's hemp production plan.

The passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, more commonly known as the 2018 Farm Bill, legalized hemp production in the U.S. The Farm Bill removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, made it distinct from marijuana, and recognized it as an agricultural crop.

The Farm Bill defines hemp as containing 0.3 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol or THC on a dry-weight basis.

The Farm Bill directed the USDA to develop a regulatory oversight program for hemp and include provisions for the department to approve hemp production plans submitted by states and Indian tribes.

To produce hemp, growers must be licensed or authorized under a state, tribe, or USDA production program. If a state or tribe has an approved plan or is in the process of developing a plan, growers must apply and be licensed or authorized under its hemp program.

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