Sunday, October 1, 2023

VDACS Receives Approval on Plan to Regulate Hemp Production

(WYDaily/Courtesy Pixabay)
(WYDaily/Courtesy Pixabay)

STATEWIDE — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) plan to regulate hemp production in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

This approval gives VDACS the ability to continue as the primary regulator of hemp production in Virginia.

VDACS announced that, starting on Jan. 1, 2022, the production of hemp throughout the U.S. must comply with the 2018 Federal Farm Bill’s hemp provisions and USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production Program regulations.

“While the new federal hemp regulations require some adjustments to VDACS’s Industrial Hemp Program, we intend to continue the productive, supportive relationship we have had with Virginia’s hemp producers since our program was established. By operating this program under USDA’s new requirements, we aim to provide our hemp industry with certainty and parity, as all of the nation’s hemp producers are now expected to comply with the same set of rules,” said Brad Copenhaver, Commissioner of VDACS. “We look forward to continued collaboration with stakeholders in support of Virginia’s hemp industry.”

VDACS stated that if the federal government provides new flexibility in the regulation of the production of hemp, VDACS will consider the implementation of any program modifications that will benefit Virginia’s hemp growers.

This announcement coincides with a few changes to VDACS’s current regulation of hemp production. These changes are:

  • Requiring each applicant for an Industrial Hemp Grower Registration to submit a criminal history report to VDACS.
  • Requiring all registered Industrial Hemp Growers to test the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of their hemp lots 30 days before each hemp lot is harvested by utilizing private sampling agents and testing laboratories. Exceptions may be available to institutions of higher education researchers and certain growers producing fiber hemp under a contract with an industrial hemp fiber processing facility.
  • Requiring registered Industrial Hemp Growers to report certain crop information to USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

This follows The City of Williamsburg’s Nov. 10, 2021 decision which allows medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to operate within its Economic Development District.

According to Article III of PCR #21-010, “Sec 21-362 Permitted Uses: Medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia pursuant to Section 54.1-3443.6 of the Code of Virginia (1950), as amended.”

At that same meeting, the City also amended Article IV of PCR #21-010. This article is the Supplemental District regulations where the city addressed the retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products or extracts:

According to Article IV of PCR #21-010, “Sec 21.602. Prohibited Uses. Except as provided in Section 21-362(26), the retail sale of cannabis, including the sale of cannabis or products containing either cannabis or cannabis extracts, intended to be either ingested or inhaled in any form, but excluding topically applied products containing cannabis extracts or oils (e.g., CBD, THC oil) sold for the treatment of a medical condition. Private clubs and lodges used for the purpose of consuming cannabis on-site, whether or not the cannabis is purchased on-site, are not permitted.”

For more information about VDACS readers can visit VDACS’ Industrial Hemp webpage.

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