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Department of Agriculture amends hemp regulations following changes to state law

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The agency charged with overseeing the resurgence of industrial hemp in Missouri has filed rules to update state regulations in accordance with a new law. As originally predicted, regulators expected a 2020 growing season for hemp. 

The Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) is seeking to rescind acreage limitations and alter fees, among a multitude of other changes. The proposed regulations were released by the department on Wednesday and will be open for comments from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1. 

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act strictly regulated the cultivation and sale of all cannabis varieties. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis — including hemp — as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to grow in the U.S.

In 2018, the General Assembly passed an industrial hemp pilot program in Missouri — as outlined in the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill. The legislation limited production to 2,000 acres statewide, among other provisions. Under that law, MDA published proposed rules in January 2019, which went into effect in July. 

In 2019, that fledging industry was amended by lawmakers. The bill updated the language in Missouri statute to be consistent with the standards laid out in the federal 2018 Farm Bill. It also removed statutory acreage restrictions on the crop.

The General Assembly charged MDA with oversight of the program and the responsibility of creating rules and regulations for the industry.

The new proposed regulations either amended or rescinded the regulations to bring them in line with the new law.

According to the proposed rules, applicants would pay a $750 fee with each registration or permit application. Registered producers and permit holders would pay an annual fee of $750 for the second and third year of registration. 

Hemp producers would be required to collect two composite samples of the crop 15 days before harvest. Specific industrial hemp varieties testing out of compliance must be destroyed by the producer within 15 days of an “order of destruction.”

The full proposed rules can be found below:

Noteworthy dates include:

Nov. 1 to Dec. 1: Public comment period for proposed industrial hemp regulations

Fall 2019: Anticipated publication of USDA industrial hemp regulations, prompting MDA to submit a state plan to USDA for federal approval

Dec. 2: Producer Registration and Agricultural Hemp Propagule and Seed Permit applications available online

Winter 2019 to 2020: MDA issues Producer Registrations and Agricultural Hemp Propagule and Seed Permits