Two senators representing Oregon sent a letter to the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Wednesday, imploring him to make a series of changes to the agency’s proposed hemp rules before they’re finalized.
The letter, signed by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), expressed particular concern about two regulations that USDA had temporarily lifted following stakeholder feedback but seems intent on reinstating in the long term. Those policies require that hemp be tested at labs certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and that law enforcement be involved in the crop’s disposal if it contains excess THC.
While USDA announced in February that it would temporarily suspend enforcement of those rules, the senators note that the department’s website contains a list of approved laboratories for hemp testing that are exclusively DEA-registered. None of those labs are located in Oregon, either, they said.
“This signals that there is no intent to remove this unnecessary requirement in the final rules,” Wyden and Merkley wrote. “We urge USDA to consider the 2020 production season and the several successful production seasons under the 2014 Farm Bill agricultural pilot program authority as precedent for not needing DEA registered laboratories for testing, or DEA-registered reverse distributors or law enforcement to dispose of non-compliant plants.”