The New York State department of agriculture has announced plans to continue its hemp growing season into 2021, after the federal government decided to delay new regulations that the state found “overly strict” and “unrealistic”.
The state’s two-year-old hemp pilot program will be extended through the end of September 2021, giving the industry “some breathing room,” according to Allan Gandelman, president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association.
“We have another year where we actually feel safe and growing hemp in New York State,” Gandelman said. “A lot of the worry around the new program was the DEA coming in. And if you have a crop that might test a little bit above 0.3%, you can be held criminally accountable for that.”
The program had been scheduled to expire Oct. 31, potentially leaving the 700 hemp growers and 100 processors across the state in legal limbo, without valid operating permits.
The announcement reverses a decision made in August, when the state Department of Agriculture told hemp growers that it would suspend trying to regulate the crop, if the U.S. Department of Agriculture enforced stricter requirements for farmers.
Those new federal rules mean a stricter definition of what’s considered legal hemp. The rules state that a crop that contains more than 0.3% of the chemical THC would be considered marijauna – rather than hemp.
Those rules have now been put off until the 2022 growing season.
David Falkowski a New York hemp grower, in a statement to WBFO, said the USDA rules almost made him quit. “The USDA framework for testing, total compliance timelines, potential disposal, potential criminal charges if things go hot over limits, issues regarding labs and analytics, it was very scary and really increased the risk” Falkowski said.