Traveling for the holidays and wondering if you can pack your CBD? The State Department issued a reminder to the traveling public that hemp products may not be welcome in all countries.
“Make sure your gift isn’t a fa la la la la la la la la fail,” the department wrote in a tweet, which also warns about carrying gifts like drones or firearms outside the US.
As for domestic travel, the TSA issued new guidance earlier in the year, stating that, since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp products, CBD oil is allowed on domestic flights “as long as it is produced within the regulations defined by the law.” It’s always a good idea, though, to check local regulations and state laws, since these can vary.
And if you’re flying to another country, absolutely exercise caution and do your research before traveling with CBD. Even cannabis-friendly countries like Canada may have strict rules about entering the country with cannabis products — whether they come from hemp or marijuana.
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While growing hemp is legal in most states at this point, shipping hemp across states continues to be a bit of a risky business. This week, a 25-pound hemp shipment from a farm in Vermont was intercepted by the US Postal Service.
The company who shipped the hemp said that they had a letter on file with their local post office detailing the contents of each shipment and are hopeful that the shipment will be returned.
USPS updated its policies in June of this year to state that hemp and CBD products are legal to ship as long as companies are complying with hemp rules laid out by state agricultural programs.
Hemp Industry Daily reported this week on the damage that that the USDA’s proposed regulations could do to the smokable hemp flower industry.
At issue are the stringent sampling and testing protocols that the rules currently require. For example, the rules require that the top eight to ten inches of the plant be tested for CBD and THC in a DEA-approved lab.
The top several inches of a cannabis plant is the area in which cannabinoids are the most highly concentrated, and many farmers growing for the smokable hemp market fear that their plants, if tested in this way, will almost certainly test above the 0.3 percent legal limit for THC.
Industry members suggest that the agency instead use a composite sample for THC testing. This would mean grinding up and testing a whole plant, which would give a more realistic expression of cannabinoids, including THC.
Stay in the know
Following numerous requests by politicians and CBD industry stakeholders, the USDA has decided to extend the public comment period on proposed hemp regulations.
Instead of expiring on December 30, the public has an additional 30 days to make their opinions known. The new date for the period to expire is on January 29.
In a notice published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, the agency explained their decision to delay closing the comments period:
“USDA is committed to issuing the final rule expeditiously after reviewing public comments and obtaining additional information during the initial implementation…In response to requests by commenters to [the Agricultural Marketing Service] and executive departments and agencies that the public comment due date for this rule be extended, AMS is extending the comment period by an additional thirty (30) days.”
And as the comments period continues, the USDA continues to get an earful in response to their proposed hemp rules.
This week, it was congressional delegations from both Virginia and Maine that sent letters to the head of the USDA, making a case for changes to the proposed rules.
In particular, the senators implored the agency to extend the hemp testing window, allow laboratories that aren’t registered with the DEA to test hemp crops, and raise the allowable THC limit.
According to the senators, the proposed rules as they stand would “unduly burden growers” in states that are “uniquely positioned to lead in the arena of hemp production.”
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It’s always big news when federal lawmakers can agree on something, and the $1.4 trillion government-wide 2020 spending package that was approved by Congress this week is no exception.
Of the $1.4 trillion dollars in question, a portion is allocated to hemp regulation. As part of the spending package, the FDA and USDA were allocated $2 million for research, policy evaluation, market surveillance, and issuance of an enforcement discretion policy.
Both the FDA and the USDA are in the process of creating the rules under which, respectively, hemp can be grown and CBD can be sold.
The bill has been sent to the Senate for approval, hopefully circumventing a government shutdown.
Just in time for the holiday season, discount retailer Dollar General started selling CBD products in 1100 stores in Tennessee and Kentucky.
According to Forbes, the retailer, which relies heavily on low-income shoppers, is betting that CBD topical cosmetic products will be a lucrative investment. Dollar General offers prices that are significantly lower than most grocery stores, and they are on track to apply those same discounts to CBD products.