ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law Monday that will require the hemp industry to test and label their products protecting consumers.
Prior to this, there was a short statute that essentially allowed the cultivation and processing of industrial hemp in the state, but CBD was left out to be completely unregulated. While some praise the acknowledgment of this industry, there are still gray areas that need to be addressed.
“If consumers found out that their products weren’t compliant, there’s now an ability for the state to go in,” said Jason Klimek, chair of cannabis practice at Boylan Code Law Firm.
Under the new law, CBD retailers will have to apply for a permit with the state to sell the product, giving the state oversight.
However according to Klimek, there’s a big clash between the federal and state government over whether CBD can be considered a supplement for consumers.
“The FDA has said CBD because it is in a pharmaceutical drug, is not by definition, a supplement. New York State is saying, yes you can sell this as a supplement and that’s a problem,” said Klimek.
Another big concern for hemp farmers, is the recent requirements laid out by the USDA. It limits the total concentration of THC in hemp to below 0.3%. Any plants measuring too high in THC must be destroyed. Potentially turning many crops across New York State illegal instantly. Additionally, producers would have a 15-day timeframe for the harvesting, sampling and testing of crops. However, Schumer explained, since this testing typically takes 5-6 business days alone, the proposed final rule creates a tight turnaround and affords farmers very little leeway in the prescribed timeline.
“Farmers across the state and across the country are utilizing these genetics and are going to be at the mercy of the usda, we’re going to see a lot of huge disruption and a lot of losses until the genetics industry can create new genetics based around this new rule,” said Steve VanDeWalle, hemp business owner & activist.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer has raised concern about the federal regulations. Schumer said the current draft regulations do not afford any provisions for growers to salvage or retest crops that initial tests exceed the established .03 THC threshold. Crop insurance, which is often difficult to procure, still affords no protections for most farmers in these circumstances.
But there could be a loophole. Klimek said if New York decides to legalize recreational marijuana , the federal requirements would be taken off the table.
“If it’s not compliant hemp at the federal level, they basically sell it through the recreational marijuana channels. it gives farmers an out instead what is the other alternative as of right now if you have “hot crop” you have to burn it,” said Klimek.
Governor Cuomo will host a hemp summit in January to further develop policies and priorities related to the hemp industry.
For more information on VanDeWalle’s business: http://www.stevevandewalle.com