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  • Karel Ancona - Best Cali Hemp

The USDA Has Spoken!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its final rules regarding hemp Jan. 21, 2021,

with enforcement beginning March 22,2021. There were several key provisions in the final rules in part addressing how, when and the timing of hemp being tested for THC concentration, all changes to the initial verbiage put forth in the 2018 Farm Bill.

The simplest change is that rather than testing be conducted within 15 days of anticipated harvest, the time now extends to 30 days. Also, taking into consideration feedback provided by hemp producers, USDA has allowed final determination about specific plant sample quantities etc., be designed by state and tribal agencies with those specific proposals to be submitted to USDA for final approval. The area causing greatest concern, especially to producers in rural areas where testing is often limited to begin with, is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-registered testing lab requirement.

The primary concern is the bottle-neck this will cause in hemp testing and since this is a known quantity, steps are being taken to get labs approved without compromising the DEA’s stringent approval process. While there are many reputable testing facilities that have handled crop testing in the past, just 75 facilities are currently listed in USDA’s approved lab directory, up from about 37 a year ago. While this is nearly a doubling of available testing facilities, it’s not nearly sufficient to support demand, so much so, that USDA is allowing non-registered labs to test through Jan. 1, 2022. After this, laboratories will have to meet the final rule requirements or forego offering these specific testing services. Meanwhile, USDA is working to expedite the registration process in preparation of the 2022 growing season.

There are several reasons DEA-registered labs are are good for both the industry and consumers,

perhaps the most important being that credible, regulated testing boosts consumer confidence by ensuring product claims and labeling reflect the truth regarding purity and potency. This begins with a grower’s Certificate of Analysis, which originates from testing conducted in the lab.

The DEA’s approval process is exhaustive, ensuring only the best labs will be registered, that a lab is not being influenced by outside forces and allows for consistent operating procedures and levels of accountability, all of which provide a layer of protection for consumers.

As the industry continues to grow, evolve and change, it is important to ensure that bad actors are left behind. This is at least in part, how we’ll get there.

For more information regarding USDA’s final rule, visit

regulations/hemp/rulemaking-documents .

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