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Vicente Sederberg LLP Hemp Update: October 2020

Oct 22, 2020

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Federal Updates


Great News for Hemp Farmers! Congress Extends 2014 Farm Bill

After months of lobbying and requests from the industry to extend pilot programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HR 8337 was signed, which extends the 2014 Farm Bill’s Hemp Pilot Program for one more year—until September 30, 2021.

The USDA has not yet published any guidance regarding the 2014 Farm Bill extension, but VS reached out to various state regulators to determine their plans. Learn more about what this extension means for state hemp programs and the industry in our recent blog post, “The 2014 Farm Bill Extension: What Does it Mean for the Hemp Industry?

“...Given the difficulty and transitioning operations with the challenges of COVID and the time and work that needs to be done to address the federal rules, it’s important that these state programs be able to continue, and this is going to allow the hemp industry to succeed.” – Shawn Hauser, VS Hemp & Cannabinoids Department Chair to Marijuana Moment


Hemp Opportunity Zone Act

In late August, Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) filed the Hemp Opportunity Zone Act. Opportunity zones are intended to attract capital to low-income or economically distressed areas and this legislation would allow hemp farmers to receive tax benefits if they operate in a designated “opportunity zone.” The bill will also create a “hemp farmer start-up tax credit,” a “small hemp farmer credit,” and direct the Treasury Department to work with the USDA on a study of the hemp industry.


FDA Hiring Contractor to Study CBD Products

FDA has awarded a contract to IEH Laboratories & Consulting Group to study CBD products. The company will provide support with “collecting samples and assessing the quantities of CBD and related cannabinoids, as well as potential associated contaminants such as toxic elements, pesticides, industrial chemicals, processing solvents and microbial contaminants, in foods and cosmetics through surveys of these commodities.” Read more about it here.


Hemp Farmers Now Included in USDA Coronavirus Relief Program

USDA revised its guidance and made coronavirus relief through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) available to hemp farmers as of September 21. The Farm Service Agency will accept applications through December 11. View additional information and application forms here. Interested in applying? Contact our hemp team for assistance!



General Updates


Hemp Industry Members File New Federal Action Challenging DEA’s Regulatory Overreach

The Hemp Industries Association and a South Carolina-based hemp company, RE Botanicals, filed a new federal action aimed at clarifying the scope of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. This is the second federal action taken by the plaintiffs, who last month filed a petition for review of the DEA’s August 21 interim final rule (IFR) in a federal appeals court. Vicente Sederberg LLP is proud to be one of the firms representing HIA and RE Botanicals. Read the full press release.

A legal defense fund has been formed to support the effort—please support Hemp Legal Defense Fund here!


Work In Progress Hemp Campaign to Protect Hemp Cannabinoid Processing

Agricultural Hemp Solutions (AgHS) has launched the Work In Progress Hemp Campaign (WIP) to enact federal legislation protecting hemp cannabinoid processors and intermediary hemp. The AgHS team has led multiple meetings with congressional members outlining cannabinoid processors’ concerns. Learn more about the WIP campaign and join here!



State Updates



The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries will accept hemp applications from eligible growers and processors/handlers for 2021 through November 30, 2020. Applications are available here.



California Department of Food & Agriculture finally published the proposed state regulatory plan for hemp production. The proposed plan was sent to the USDA last month.



Gov. Lamont recently signed an amendment into law that revised the state’s hemp program to comply with USDA regulations for hemp production.



The state signed its hemp bill into law in late August and will operate under the USDA Domestic Hemp Production Program. Individuals or entities can acquire a hemp license from the USDA starting November 1.



Idaho remains one of the few states banning hemp production, but the Nez Perce tribe located within the political borders of Idaho seeks to allow hemp production and is accepting public comments on their proposed hemp ordinance through October 23.  


USDA Approvals of State and Tribal Hemp Plans

Since the last update, the USDA approved hemp plans for the following states/territories/tribes:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Comanche Nation
  • San Carlos Apache Tribe of Arizona
  • Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

View the USDA approval status of each state and tribe hemp production plan.



International Updates


Amazon Debuts Hemp and CBD Pilot Program in the United Kingdom

Amazon previously shunned CBD, but recently launched an invitation-only pilot program for U.K. sellers of hemp-CBD oils, capsules, balms, creams and lubricants.


UK Food Regulators Reject CBD as Narcotic

The U.K. has rejected the European Commission’s preliminary stance that hemp flower-derived CBD should be regulated as a narcotic, and will continue regarding CBD extracts as novel foods.





CalCPA & COCPA 2020 National Cannabis Business Symposium

Corey Cox and Jordan Wellington will give a Colorado hemp and marijuana update during the conference's state-specific breakout sessions on October 27, 2020. Learn more and register here!


Burns & Levinson's 4th Annual State of the Cannabis Industry Conference

Shawn Hauser will participate in the panel discussion "Demystifying Hemp & CBD" on October 29, 2020. Learn more and register here!


Best Practices for Hemp in Texas

Join Informed Texas on Thursday, November 5 for this educational online seminar on best practices for hemp in Texas. As the state progresses through its inaugural hemp season, education on the burgeoning market is imperative. Learn more and register here!


The content and links provided on this page are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. Viewing this page does not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with a qualified legal professional for advice regarding any particular issue or problem. The contents of this page may be considered attorney advertising under certain rules of professional conduct.