The 2018 Farm Bill introduced what some say will be the new era of American agriculture. The legislation decriminalized hemp after decades of prohibition, giving farmers across the country the go-ahead to cultivate the crop. States and tribes interested in growing hemp were instructed to create their hemp programs and submit those plans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for approval.
The bill defined hemp as cannabis sativa L. with less than 0.3% THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol). It’s the chemical that creates marijuana’s psychoactive high.
In line with federal law, the USDA recently approved Wyoming’s industrial hemp growing regulations, putting to rest fears that growers in the state would miss another growing season.
“This is a brand new crop with inherent risks and a challenging regulatory structure, so we encourage producers and processors to look closely at the rules and regulations if they choose to attempt growing or processing hemp in 2020. With that said, we are excited to get this program off the ground and to start a hemp industry in Wyoming,” says Doug Miyamoto, the Director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.
The state had already submitted a hemp plan last April but was delayed as the USDA worked on federal hemp rules. When the final interim rule on hemp was published, the state Department of Agriculture was forced to rework the plan and get it in compliance with federal regulations.
In late January, Wyoming attorney general Bridget Hill said that the USDA would likely approve the state’s proposal in time for this year’s hemp season. “Both the Department of Agriculture and my office are trying to ensure that everything is correct and in accordance with the USDA requirements and at the same time also designed to help hemp producers in Wyoming avoid the risk of violating controlled substance laws,” she said.
“In any event, we estimate that something will be approved and filed by the end of the month,” Hill concluded.
Governor Mark Gordon has welcomed the announcement. In partnership with the Attorney General’s office, he has signed emergency rules drafted by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture to initiate a hemp growing program before the 2020 season kicks in. The rules will be in effect for 120 days.
“This has been a long journey, and I want to thank all those involved in this effort, including the Secretary of State’s office, for expediting the rule process.”
The hemp sector is already worth millions of dollars in sales, with experts estimating it will hit $20 billion by 2024. Hemp growers in Wyoming will now be able to have a piece of that pie. Industry watchers believe companies like Champignon Brands Inc. and SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB: SING) will be interested in knowing how the states that implement the new federal rules this season will compare to those still using the 2014 pilot program rules.
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