WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Sen. Charles Schumer is pushing the USDA to not implement further regulations on New York hemp growers following financial struggles brought on by COVID-19.

On Sunday, Schumer asked to delay the issuance of a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program final rule until 2022. This would allow hemp growers and producers in Upstate New York to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program.

“Regulating this rapidly-emerging industry is a must, but the timing of new regulations is important and the current economic crisis must be considered,” Schumer said. “That’s why today I’m urging USDA to delay their issuance of a final rule until 2022 so the hemp industry across the country and in Upstate New York has a chance to grow and create good-paying jobs at a time when jobs are needed the most.”

According to Schumer, before COVID-19, the industrial hemp industry grew significantly in New York. He believes it is an “indispensable crop in New York’s agricultural future.”

Specifically, compliance costs for reporting would be $17,363.40 according to the USDA calculations, and for testing purposes, companies would have to pay $700 per sample.

“There are over 700 registered hemp farmers across New York who would be negatively affected by the USDA’s Interim Final Rule on hemp,” Allan Gandelman, President of New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association, said. “The costs and bureaucracy of implementing the new rules as written create unnecessary financial burdens on farmers and our state agencies. The existing hemp pilot program has been sufficient in making sure farmers are complaint with all testing and public safety protocols.”

Senator Charles Schumer wrote and published his letter to the USDA on August 7.