USDA Secretary Says CBD Oil And Marijuana Are Driving Interest In Industrial Hemp

The head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday that there’s significant interest in the federal government’s regulatory plans for industrial hemp, and he attributed some of that enthusiasm to CBD oil and hemp’s relationship to marijuana.

“You’re correct in there’s a lot of excitement and interest,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who asked about the department’s timeline for implementing hemp legalization provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill. “It’s probably created as much interest as anything in the Farm Bill—maybe because it’s new or it’s CBD oil and it’s all the new fad of medicine in that regard.”

“It probably has a little bit of allure because the plant is very, very similar to its federally illegal cousin, the high-THC marijuana plant,” he said.

But in terms of a timeline for when USDA will release its rules and regulations for manufacturing and marketing hemp and hemp-derived products, Perdue said the agency is “not expediting this” and is “taking this slow.”

The 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized hemp, shifting regulatory responsibility for the crop from the Justice Department to USDA. But it will still take time before USDA is able to approve state regulatory plans and develop its own standards. Perdue said he expected the rules to be completed with “plenty of time for the 2020 planting season.”

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