The Delaware Department of Agriculture recently announced that the USDA approved the state plan submitted for the Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program.
Delaware is now the second state on the East Coast to receive approval to administer a domestic hemp program.
“I want to commend the staff at the Department of Agriculture for putting together a successful plan for smart domestic hemp production in Delaware,” said Gov. John Carney. “Not only does this help offer another crop for our farmers to produce, but it provides value-added products that will continue to grow small business in our state.”
“The final approval creates opportunities for growers within the state,” said Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “We know that many growers are looking to produce hemp for oil, but as with any farming operation, it is important to diversify to help spread the risk.”
Hemp biomass is used to produce clothing textiles, industrial textiles, paper, building materials and products to support other agricultural industries.
Grown in the United States since colonial days, hemp was a major crop until the end of World War II. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act classified hemp as an illicit drug due to its close relationship with marijuana. The 2018 Farm Bill permanently legalized hemp and hemp products, establishing them as agricultural commodities and removing them from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act.
With the approval, Delaware assumes primary regulatory responsibility for hemp production within its jurisdiction. Manufacturing of hemp products for human and animal consumption remains under the authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Delaware Department of Agriculture has released its registration materials online. Under the Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program, the Delaware Department of Agriculture is responsible for regulating the production of hemp. The department does not have oversight of the selling of hemp products or the businesses marketing these products. This includes any CBD product.
In the Participant Guide, Plant Industries Administrator Jessica Inhof outlined differences from the 2019 Delaware Hemp Research Pilot Program to the 2020 production program.
The department has removed acreage limits for producing hemp.
The department has removed the requirement that seed be delivered to the department for producer pickup. When purchasing seed, all seed is still subject to the Federal Seed Act and Delaware Seed Law, which regulate seed tags and labeling.
The department has removed the requirement to work with a research institution. A research agreement with Delaware State University or any other university is no longer required.
The department will issue official cards for participants to prove credentials to law enforcement if needed. These cards will demonstrate participation in the program.
The department will allow producers to designate one person as an authorized representative with the authority to be present at sample collection and correspond with the department. This person must be indicated on the producer application and must submit a criminal history report.
The department requires only one criminal history report, if applying for more than one license type. Criminal history reports are to be submitted at the time of application or renewal and must be dated no more than four months prior.
For this year, the Delaware Department of Agriculture will be accepting producer applications and growing site registrations until Thursday, May 7. Email all questions related to Delaware’s Domestic Hemp Production Program to DDA_HempProgram@delaware.gov.
The 2020 Delaware Domestic Hemp Production Program is fee-based as outlined in the Participant Guide and applications that can be found online at www.de.gov/hemp.