Vermont Migrates Hemp Program to USDA Purview

Vermont’s hemp program will be operated by the USDA beginning January 1, 2023, but regulatory oversight for hemp testing and hemp-infused products will remain under the purview of the Vermont Cannabis Control Board.

Full story after the jump.

Starting January 1, 2023, Vermont’s hemp program will be run by federal Department of Agriculture (USDA) rules, meaning growers will need licenses from the USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production program. Regulatory oversight for hemp testing and hemp-infused products will remain with the state under the purview of the Vermont Cannabis Control Board (CCB). 

In a letter to the USDA, Anson Tebbetts, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAFFM), said the agency “appreciated the opportunity to operate a state hemp production program” and that it would “continue to provide business support to producers and processors as it is able, and hopes the hemp grain, fiber and cannabinoid markets in the state continue to grow.” 

Hemp has been legal to cultivate in Vermont since 2009 – before the passage of the 2014 federal Farm Bill which set up hemp farming pilots throughout the U.S. Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, states were allowed to create their own programs, which Vermont did.  

In a July 7 press release, the agency noted that a bill passed in May transferred regulatory oversight from VAAFM to the CCB and the latter is now responsible for “the certification of laboratories conducting testing as well as setting contaminants action limits in cannabis, hemp, and infused products.”  

In the letter, Tebbetts said the VAAFM “will work with USDA to ensure a smooth transition for its growers including participating in a joint webinar, updating the agency website to refer potential registrants to the USDA grower licensing system, and conducting direct outreach to potential 2023 registrants.” 

Last year, Vermont farmers planted 1,100 acres and harvested 1,080 acres, according to USDA Hemp Program data. 

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