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Joseph R. Englander, shareholder with Fowler White Burnett. Joseph R. Englander, shareholder with Fowler White Burnett.

On Oct. 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released draft interim rules for hemp production. These rules on hemp will be formally published in the Federal Register on Oct. 31. With the formal publication of the interim rules, the USDA begins its implementation of the federal hemp program. A 60-day public comment period follows the formal publication.

The interim rules include provisions for the USDA to approve plans submitted by states and Indian Tribes for the domestic production of hemp. State or Tribal plans must be submitted to the USDA and approved prior to their implementation. The draft rules also establish a federal plan for producers in states or territories of Indian Tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved plan. Florida’s current plan, the framework of rules being promulgated by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), is also at the public comment stage which concludes at the end of October. FDACS had the foresight to draft application forms that require information from applicants that is also required in the draft USDA rules.

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