According to the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there’s significant interest in the federal government’s regulatory plans for industrial hemp.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said on Tuesday, “You’re correct in there’s a lot of excitement and interest. It’s probably created as much interest as anything in the Farm Bill—maybe because it’s new or it’s CBD oil and it’s all the new fad of medicine in that regard.”

“It probably has a little bit of allure because the plant is very, very similar to its federally illegal cousin, the high-THC marijuana plant,” he said.

But according to Perdue, the agency is “not expediting this” and is “taking this slow.”
Lee had asked about the department’s timeline for implementing hemp legalization provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Perdue said he expected the rules to be completed with “plenty of time for the 2020 planting season.”

“States will still have a primary responsibility in the regulation of that,” he added. “They are submitting their applications to USDA now.”

“Our goal is to have them out with plenty of time for the 2020 planting season, where we approve the state lands and the states will provide fees for participating, and they will be the primary regulator of the federal rules in that regard.”

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