Hello WA Hemp Supporters!
Governor Inslee signed WA Hemp bill SB 5276 into law on, April 26, 2019! This is a bill we hijacked and substituted with the language from HB 1401 that we worked on for over a year. Now we have to follow USDA Interim Rules for Hemp which does not match the New Hemp Program legislation. Our program is not inline with the USDA. We are working with the Association of Hemp Professional on the Federal level trying to change what we can before final USDA rules go into effect. The USDA comment period has been extended to January 29, 2020. In the mean time in Washington, unless we get the IHRP reinstated in the coming legislative session we will be stuck with a 15 day pre harvest test of only the top 1/3 of the plant.
The Honorable Greg Ibach
Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20250
Re: Comments on USDA AMS Interim Final Rule Establishing a Domestic Hemp Production Program; Submitted by the Industrial Hemp Association of WA in conjunction with the Association of Western Hemp Professionals.
I am contacting you to comment as Bonny Jo Peterson, Executive Director of the Industrial Hemp Association of WA(IHEMPAWA) on behalf of our members. IHEMPAWA is a Washington State Hemp Trade Association started in 2017 and were part of a work group of WSDA representatives, legislators and members who spent a year writing the Washington Hemp Commodity Program legislation signed into law on April 26, 2019. We are also founding members of the newly-formed hemp industry trade group, the Association of Western Hemp Professionals (AWHP). As being among the primary authors of official comments, we cite it as illustration [citation in appendix], the main points of which are listed below:
Our proposed adjustments to the USDA Rules require that USDA develop a program which incorporates the following four critical elements:
1. A sampling program based on using a homogenized sample that consists of 25% -30% flower and the remainder being made up of stem/leaf and stalk.
2. A testing program that is at least 30 days before harvest or a post-harvest test.
3. A phase-in period for DEA lab registration.
4. Allowance to move a crop from field to drying facility prior to testing results even if that entails moving the crop between independent license holders.
To expand further, we would like to highlight some of the issues Washington hemp farmers had in 2019 under the IHRP with a 30 day pre harvest test using a whole plant representative sample. As mentioned, the 15 day pre harvest test is not long enough with testing turnaround time with harvesting and drying issues. Most first year hemp farmers planted late and harvested in late September and through October. Multiple hemp samples, sometimes 40 wet samples would be delivered on the same day to the WSDA contracted testing lab causing 10-14 day turn around times where farmers had to wait for testing results before harvesting and moving their crops to be dried off the licensed property. This fall had early frost and freezing weather.
One farm in particular of 100 acres, had to wait to 3 weeks past planned harvest without drying capabilities on site. Another hemp farm of 300 acres lost 40% of their crop with weather issues and harvesting difficulties. The 30 days is not perfect but is possible with proper sampling and testing procedures in place as we learn. The 15 day pre harvest will be next to impossible.
A post harvest test based on a homogenized whole plant sample was passed as part of our new WA hemp program.This procedure would be representative of product entering the market. Under the IFR, we our not able to use the procedure for sampling and testing as planned. A whole plant representative sample for pre harvest as we developed is cited in the appendix as well as for post harvest as a redline of guidelines along with testing guidelines. Filtering out the stems and stalks from the top 1/3 of the plant below the flower will not be representative as an example attached shows.
Washington is under our new program as of January 1, 2020 we do not have the option to continue under the IHRP due to state statue. Expedited changes to sampling and testing before the 2020 season begins is crucial to our hemp industry in Washington and nationally.
*Appendix is attached
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Bonny Jo Peterson,
Industrial Hemp Association of WA
(for the membership of the Industrial Hemp Association of WA)
Jason Zitzer, Trace Analytics
Dylan Summers, Lazarus Naturals
Bill Cyr, Unique Food Works
Robert Cook, Columbia Valley Hemp Co.
The 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law on December 20, 2018 legalizing Hemp in all 50 states! Now there is much work to do in Washington State to bring us in line with the Farm Bill regarding hemp. Legislation has to be passed in the next session beginning mid January to change our state language to open up farming and the supply chain. It will be at least 6 months before the new hemp program will be in affect and new licenses are available. Hemp field GPS coordinates and THC results are mandatory under the 2018 Farm Bill.
The WSDA must submit a proposal to the USDA for approval of our new program. It will be at least 6 months before the new hemp program will be in affect and licenses available. There is a chance the time frame for state laws to change may be after the 2019 planting season begins. Washington's Hemp Research Pilot Program will expire January 1, 2020. The current program rules and regulations will be in effect until state law is implemented and new rules and regulations written and signed off on. There will most likely be a Grandfather Clause for IHRP licensees to move over to the New Program rules and regulations.
A WSDA request for hemp funding was not included in the Governor's budget but is going to be put in this coming legislative session in another form. There are back up plans. I will let you know more on funding and other new hemp program specifics when I have details. Stay Tuned for updates on developments.
Washington State's Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program is accepting applications. New stream lined applications are now available and are much less complicated and less information is required. Contact us with questions and assistance filling out your program application to acquire a license to grow Industrial Hemp in WA.
Promoting the research and development of Industrial Hemp as an agricultural crop in Washington State as a viable and sustainable ultimate renewable natural resource through the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. Supporting and educating pioneers in the field while advocating legislation on their behalves. Members share research and resources as growers, seed and equipment suppliers, food and building material processors, organizations and those who dare to reinvent the wheel to fit into our industry. We are building a sustainable re-emerging industry together. We are here to answer when asked, What is Industrial Hemp and what is it used for?, How do I get a License to grown hemp in WA? How do you grow Industrial Hemp?
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