Hemp industry struggles with federal regulations

By Jacob Tierney

Hemp — and the CBD products that can be made from it — may have been legalized by the 2018 federal farm bill, but members of the nascent industry say new federal rules make it almost impossible to make hemp products without breaking the law.

An alphabet soup of federal and state agencies oversees the growth, processing and distribution of hemp and its byproducts. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency now has released its interim rule for hemp products, joining the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which has had an interim rule in place for nearly a year.

The problem with both agencies’ regulations is their strict interpretation of the difference between hemp and marijuana, said Erica McBride-Stark, executive director of the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council and the National Hemp Association.

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