PORT REPUBLIC, Va. (WHSV) — The growth of commercial hemp became legal in 2018. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released regulations for the industry.
Port Republic-based hemp farmer and partner at Riverhill Farms Glenn Rodes is happy about the new regulations. Rodes was one of the first people to receive permission to grow hemp, partnering with James Madison University for research.
“Food and grain became a real interest,” Rodes said. “Hemp is a very good protein, and of course the fiber is a very good fiber for textiles and other industrial products.”
The regulations include requirements for licensing and records, testing levels that could cause a high and disposal of plants that don’t meet requirements.
“When you have an industry that’s starting and no one knows exactly when it might be shut down, or what changes will happen,” Rodes told WHSV. “With the regulations, there will be some certainty and therefore investors will be looking to invest in the industry.”
Rodes also believes that these regulations will influence consumers.
“Currently it’s kind of the Wild West out there, particularly with the nutraceuticals and CBD oils,” Rodes said. “There’s a lot of things being sold that no one knows for sure what the content is, so the new regulations will standardize the industry.”
Rodes said medical hemp based products need to be researched more, but thanks to regulations, should soon be sold over the counter reliably to treat issues like pain and anxiety.
“Consumers are buying these products over and over because they see a huge benefit to their health,” Rodes said. “They’ll be able to look at a label and have some assurance that the label is correct.”
Once the regulations are finalized, Rodes believes the hemp industry will continue to grow.