Hemp production for commercial sale, research or pilot programs is legal in all but three states, Idaho, South Dakota and Mississippi. While Colorado is one of the leading producers of commercial hemp, growers face uncertainty because so far, there is no consistency in regulations or standards concerning growing and processing the crop. For example, measuring the THC level in growing plants is a delicate, high-stakes task, and growers hope that the USDA will set a national testing standard. THC amounts in a crop vary due to environmental factors, including rainfall, temperature and even the growth stage when plants are tested. If a hemp crop exceeds .03 of a percent THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, the crop must be destroyed. The USDA is under pressure to rework this patchwork of state regulations, and the agency has announced that it plans to publish standards ahead of the 2020 growing season.
Many folks in the farming community are wondering if the Trump impeachment inquiry will sidetrack the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal and other farm country legislation. At an Agriculture Committee hearing last Wednesday, farm groups called for speedy passage of the trade Agreement. Then on Friday, corn industry groups sent a letter to the President warning him that “frustration in the countryside is growing” over the President’s biofuel policies, which they said are intensifying the already difficult financial situation for many farmers. Some observers believe that Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi must show that the House can still govern, so she’ll bring the trade deal to a vote later this year, while others think that politics will come into play, and the Democratic party will hold up the vote, rather than give the President something he wants.