In the last decade, the laws regulating hemp in the United States have undergone a significant transformation. From class I substance to agricultural commodity, growing, processing, and possessing hemp is now legal. Here we’ll explore the current state of hemp regulations in the United States and how laws vary state to state.

Hemp Regulations at the Federal Level

The 2018 Farm Bill opened the doors for a new legal hemp industry in the United States. The bill removed hemp and any strain of cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC by weight from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances. In 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) followed up with the release of its own regulations as part of a new national hemp production program.

To produce hemp legally, farmers must obtain a license from the USDA hemp program. States can also submit plans for approval that allow them to act as the primary regulating authority over hemp grown within their borders. Licensed farmers must also report their hemp crop acreage to the Farm Service Agency. This will help the USDA develop more accurate estimates for the amount of hemp planted and grown in the United States.

Hemp Regulations at the State Level

Since the legalization of hemp by the federal government, 48 states as well as Puerto Rico have passed legislation related to hemp production. Several states including Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Iowa, Ohio, and Texas have passed legislation to establish their own state programs while others (Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma and Maryland) have expanded their existing hemp programs.

Even if you live in a state without its own hemp program, hemp is legal to grow as long as farmers adhere to the regulations established by the USDA. But despite hemp’s new legal status, individual states may still choose to pass their own laws restricting its growth. Idaho and South Dakota are currently the only states to have outright banned hemp production. In both 2019 and 2020, hemp-friendly bills failed to advance through Idaho’s legislative process. And in 2020, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem vetoed House Bill 1191 which would have allowed industrial hemp to be grown and processed in the state.

On the other hand, some former holdout states that previously banned hemp have had a change of heart and recently passed legislation to legalize its production. In 2019, House Bill 459 legalized the growth of hemp in New Hampshire. And in 2020, Mississippi lawmakers passed the Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Act

As this new industry continues to grow and mature, state and USDA hemp regulations will likely continue to evolve. Stay ahead of the curve by ensuring your crop meets the most current standards. Encore Labs is a state-licensed, ISO-accredited cannabis testing lab. We offer a full panel of testing services to ensure your cannabis crop meets required quality and potency standards.