by Duane Stjernholm
More Additional Comments on the Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program
AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service USDA
ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comments.
Please Note: Page Numbers reference the Federal Register
Because of variances in the results using different testing Methods we recommend that we only have one approved method that all labs utilize like either HPLC or GCFID. This will produce more consistent results and less variability. At the IFR level, this one method should be adopted as a standard in all states to promote and standardize testing for interstate commerce and the COAs for that transport.
There are other ways in the 21st Century to deal with non-compliant hemp including the extraction of the THC by approved extraction facilities or funneling the non-compliant material into an approved facility that will produce a non-ingestible products from the material such as hempcrete, paper or fiber.
Rather than an unrealistic time frame of testing of 15 days before harvest, it will be logistically much more efficient to perform the testing based on the planting date. For example, 40-50 days post planting. That way State Agriculture Departments can schedule personnel to do the testing as they have the planting date and the projected testing window from the very beginning. Harvest timing has too many extraneous variables to predict the optimum time for harvest in order to comply with the 15 days prior to harvest window. Utilizing a post planting timeline, the testing will be more spread out and will produce more accurate numbers regarding the total Cannabinoid ratios.
In regard to the FSA reporting requirement burden on Producers, the State Agriculture Departments already have that info, so in states with state plans, why can’t they just forward the information to the FSA removing the burden on Producers who do not need any more burdensome requirements.
In regard to Violations of plans, if only controlled substance felons are included, then it is discriminatory against them. Either all felons of all types should be excluded from participating in the program, or all felons of all types should be allowed to participate in the program.
We appreciate the Colorado CHAMP initiative to sample the top 12 inches of the plant but we also need to be assured that all of this sample will be homogenized so that more of the whole plant is being tested, not just the flower. The DEA does not have any jurisdiction over the stalks and seeds of the hemp plant and so to require that the whole plant be destroyed because the flower material is non-compliant is absurd and is outside the statutory range of the DEA’s jurisdiction. As we’ve pointed out above there are 21st Century ways to still utilize non-compliant hemp that involves extraction or non-ingestible products that allows Producers to still have a return on their considerable investment. At the very least this non-compliant material can be turned into biochar for soil remediation, water filtration, and the production of electricity and not be totally wasted.