USDA delays enforcement of DEA hemp testing rule due to ‘inadequate’ capacity

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is delaying enforcement of a rule requiring hemp to be tested at laboratories certified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) due to the “inadequate” capacity of such facilities.

USDA announced the extended enforcement deadline for the hemp rule in a notice last week, explaining that the DEA laboratory testing requirement will not go into effect on January 1 as originally planned. At the earliest, the industry-contested rule will go into force on December 31, 2023.

“We are delaying enforcement of these requirements based on input received from State and Tribal governments and third-party cannabis testing facilities who have experienced delays in completing the DEA laboratory registration process,” the department said.

“Because of these delays, USDA is concerned there will be inadequate hemp laboratory testing capacity for the 2023 growing season, which will hinder the growth of a domestic hemp market at this nascent stage,” it said. “Laboratories testing hemp must comply with all other regulatory requirements.”

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