The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Minnesota’s hemp cultivation program, which has expanded from just six licensed growers and processors in the state in 2016 to 511.
The approved program is the same as the state’s pilot program enacted in 2016.
Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen called the approval “a major step forward” but said, “there are still concerns over some of the regulations imposed on states and tribal governments, such as testing requirements.”
“We thank USDA for their work on this new federal hemp program, and we are grateful they have approved Minnesota’s plan. … We look forward to continuing our dialog with USDA so we can ensure Minnesota’s hemp growers and processors are successful in this fledging industry.” – Peterson in a press release
Licensed hemp growers and processors in Minnesota have registered 8,605 acres of hemp this year, along with 4.66 million square feet of indoor cultivation space, the Minnesota Agriculture Department said.
The USDA has now approved 19 state hemp program plans, while 23 other states will continue to operate under their 2014 pilot programs. Three other states are still listed as drafting plans for USDA review, while Arizona’s plan is listed as “pending resubmission,” Idaho’s plan is “pending state legislation,” and Nevada’s is “under review.” Two more states are operating with a USDA Hemp Producer License.
Additionally, the agency has approved hemp cultivation plans for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while the Northern Marinas Island has pending legislation.
The USDA has also approved 32 tribal plans. Two more tribal proposals are currently under review, with three more drafting plans and one pending resubmission.
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