Vicente Sederberg LLP Hemp Update: November 2020

Nov 25, 2020

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Federal Updates


Movement on Hemp/CBD from Senate Appropriations

On November 10, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee released report language for the appropriations bill that it will negotiate with the U.S. House. There are two key provisions for the hemp industry to be aware of:

  • Directs the USDA to remedy its controversial Interim Final Rule (IFR) to provide a more fair and reasonable regulatory framework for hemp farmers and businesses
  • Directs the FDA to issue a policy of enforcement discretion on CBD within 90 days that would be kept in place until FDA develops a final regulatory framework

View more details from U.S. Hemp Roundtable


Senators Request Changes to USDA Rule on Hemp Production

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sent a letter to DEA Acting Administrator Shea, expressing “strong objections to the DEA’s unilateral and uncalled for actions on hemp that run counter to the 2018 Farm Bill and congressional intent by treating this legal crop as a Schedule I controlled substance whenever its THC content exceeds 0.3%.”


NIHC Awarded $200,000 Grant from the USDA

The USDA has awarded the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) $200,000 as part of a program meant to promote international trade policies that support the industry. The NIHC will use the USDA Market Access Program grant funds for the 2021 fiscal year to help develop marketing projects overseas, facilitate trade meetings with foreign partners and promote U.S. hemp products as the market expands. Read more here.


Justice for Black Farmers Act to End Discrimination Within the USDA

U.S. Senators Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced landmark legislation that will enact policies to end discrimination within the USDA, protect Black farmers from losing their land, and more. Read about this piece of legislation.


Biennial Food Facility Registration Deadline Approaches

Food facilities (including dietary supplement facilities) that are required to register with the FDA must renew their registration no later than December 31, 2020 if they have not already done so. Requirement details are available in the FDA Questions and Answers Regarding Food Facility Registration guidance.


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


After the Election, Let’s Focus on Fixing the Arbitrary THC Standard in Hemp

The U.S. has an important opportunity to adopt good policy at the critical early stages of cannabis regulation, and even influence responsible and science-based regulation internationally.” VS Hemp & Cannabinoids Department Chair Shawn Hauser recently wrote an opinion piece for Hemp Industry Daily. Read it here.


The 2020 Election’s Impact on Hemp

U.S. Hemp Roundtable shared a summary of the 2020 election’s impact on the hemp industry, pointing out which wins are a victory for hemp. 


Cannabis Trademarks 101

In an industry that runs on innovation and differentiation, a cannabis brand’s identity is among its most valuable—and most prone to copying—assets. Does your hemp brand have a trademark? Read more.


Guide for Shipping Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Products

Under the 2014 and 2018 USDA Farm Bills, certain hemp and hemp-derived CBD products can be shipped via USPS, FedEx and UPS— but only if certain conditions are met. Read more.



State Updates


Selling CBD Products Online? State Registration Requirements May Apply

Though hemp is federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, many states have distinct rules for the cultivation, processing, manufacturing, and retail sale of the plant and its derivatives. As more states develop CBD-specific regulations for retailers, it’s important to become familiar with the requirements so your business is compliant. Read more.



On January 1, 2021, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Market Enforcement Branch will begin accepting applications to license industrial hemp handlers and processors. You can access licensing forms here.

Interested in applying for a California hemp handler or processor license? Contactour hemp team for assistance!



The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) has approved six new industrial hemp seed varieties, bringing the total number of approved industrial hemp seed varieties in Colorado to 23.



Kentucky has become the latest state to explicitly protect the retail (and restaurant) sale of hemp-derived CBD products as a dietary supplement and food and beverage additive. Comments on this new regulation are being accepted until December 31, 2020. Read the U.S. Hemp Roundtable’s comments here.

If you'd like to draft a comment, we can help! Contactour hemp team.


New York

The New York State Department of Health released draft regulations on the processing and retail sale of cannabinoid hemp in the State of New York and is accepting public comments until January 11, 2020. Read our summary of the regulations.


USDA State & Tribal Hemp Plan Approvals

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



International Updates


EU Top Court Rules that CBD is Not a Narcotic Drug

In a major ruling that could eventually open the doors to an international European CBD market, the European Court of Justice ruled on November 19 that CBD is safe and should not be classified as a narcotic drug. View the full story.


New Regulations Set the Stage for Hemp in Ecuador

Ecuador has set the stage for the development of the country’s hemp industry with the release of regulations from the Ministry of Agriculture that will guide such things as seed production, farming, processing, marketing, export and other links in the hemp production chain, among others. The Ecuadoran National Assembly cleared the way for the hemp industry when it decriminalized the cultivation and production of cannabis products in September 2019, setting the limit for THC in hemp at 1.0%.


Contact our hemp team with any questions or licensing needs!

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