Rules Establishing Testing Standards for Hemp Go Into Effect

Process ensures THC levels don’t exceed state, federal maximum

Emergency rules establishing testing standards for Michigan’s first industrial hemp crop are now in place.

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell recently announced that the rules went into effect for the new industry. MDARD approved 541 hemp grower licenses covering 32, 243 acres across the state. The rules also regulate the 389 processor-handler licenses that have been issued by the state.

“This is an exciting next step for the growth of our newest agricultural crop, and with harvest coming up, we needed to provide clear direction for Michigan’s industrial hemp growers,” said McDowell. “These temporary rules help ensure our growers’ first crop meets the standards and requirements outlined in the Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act.”

Hemp cultivation became more expansive after Congress approved the 2018 Farm Bill, which allows hemp cultivation broadly, not simply pilot programs for studying market interest in hemp-derived products. The federal legislation explicitly allows the transfer of hemp-derived products across state lines for commercial or other purposes. It also puts no restrictions on the sale, transport or possession of hemp-derived products. Michigan followed enactment of that bill with the Industrial Hemp Research and Development Act, passed by the Legislature in December.

Michigan’s industrial hemp pilot program was put in place for the 2019 planting season. The new rules, processed under the state’s Administrative Procedures Act emergency rules provisions, went into effect after being filed with the Office of the Great Seal. The rules will be in place for up to six months and may be extended once for an additional six-month period, if needed.

The new rules establish proper sampling and analytical testing methods for measuring the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in industrial hemp, to ensure levels do not exceed 0.3% on a dry weight basis. THC is the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

“With these rules in place for six months, we have time for our growers to move forward while we wait for federal standards,” McDowell added. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to issue federal guidance and requirements later this fall to help better shape a long-term statewide industrial hemp plan.”

A link to the rules, and other information about Michigan’s industrial hemp pilot program, may be found at www.michigan.gov/IndustrialHemp.

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