Oct 13, 2020: Revisions to Connecticut’s State Hemp Plan Signed Into Law
Connecticut’s budding hemp industry achieved another milestone on Tuesday, October 13, when Governor Lamont signed Public Act 20-2 into law which allows hemp growers to transition from a pilot program authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill to a state plan in compliance with the national regulatory framework established by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Interim Final Rule as directed in the 2018 Farm Bill. The ceremonial signing took place at Lasa Extract, LLC, a wholesale CBD extraction business in Suffield, CT, with Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt, Congressman Courtney, and other elected officials supportive of the public act.
“The future of Connecticut agriculture is both innovative and entrepreneurial,” said Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “This is a fantastic bill and we appreciate the leadership of Governor Lamont, Congressman Courtney, and the state legislature to get this done in accordance with the USDA Interim Final Rule. By transitioning to our state plan, we can be sure the opportunity exists for businesses to be successful in the state.”
In order to submit a state plan in compliance with the USDA Interim Final Rule, it was necessary for the General Assembly to act on proposed statutory amendments to the current state laws during a special session. Without an approved state plan, Connecticut’s hemp growers would have had to apply for a federal license to grow hemp. With more than 170 licensed growers and processors and over 500 acres registered for hemp production, the program was in jeopardy of expiring on October 31, 2020, when the USDA Interim Final Rule was scheduled to go into effect and pilot programs would no longer be permitted.
The new bill implements required USDA changes and combines the grower license and processor license into one combined “producer” license valid for three years, versus two, to simplify the licensing. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture also incorporated feedback received from growers during listening sessions to expand the information exempt from disclosure under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to include test results and producer location information to provide more protection for growers’ crops.
Complete details on the revisions will be posted at www.ctgrown.gov/hemp.