U.S. Senator Joins the Push for the USDA to Delay Final Hemp Ruling Amid Coronavirus
- U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer is urging the USDA to delay their final hemp ruling for a couple more years.
- Schumer and farmers across the country are worried about the financial burden the new rules will create for them, along with its inevitable course of forcing people to work closely in facilities during the pandemic.
- Under the USDA’s final hemp ruling, farmers will be required to pay around $700 per hemp sample they want tested.
U.S. Senator and Democrat from New York Chuck Schumer is urging federal agriculture officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay the final hemp ruling until 2022 due to the coronavirus and its impact on the economy.
If the USDA chooses to grant both Schumer and farmers’ request for a delay in their final ruling, then producers could continue operating under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program. This is an area of concern for many states because, as it stands now, the 2014 pilot rules are set to expire in October; during the middle of growing season for farmers in particular parts of the U.S.
“Regulating this rapidly-emerging industry is a must, but the timing of new regulations is important and the current economic crisis must be considered,” Schumer stated.
“I’m urging USDA to delay their issuance of a final rule until 2022 so the hemp industry across the country and in Upstate New York has a chance to grow and create good-paying jobs at a time when jobs are needed the most,” Schumer continued in his statement to the press.
Aside from the confusion of a rule-change during the growing season, critics of the USDA’s final hemp ruling fear that following the rules will financially devastate both hemp farmers and state agencies due to the costs of sampling and testing.
Under the USDA final hemp ruling, farmers would be required to pay around $700 per sample to undergo testing.
“The costs and bureaucracy of implementing the new rules as written create unnecessary financial burdens on farmers and our state agencies,” stated Allan Gandelman, President of New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association.
“The existing hemp pilot program has been sufficient in making sure farmers are compliant with all testing and public safety protocols.”
Around 20 states in the U.S. are still operating under the 2014 Farm Bill provisions. With their expiration date set for October 31st, farmers and processors can only hope that the USDA will listen to the cries for help and delay their final ruling until a later time.
If the USDA refuses to do so, it could spell trouble for the hemp industry in certain states, particularly ones that have already seen a decrease in hemp acreage.