POLITICSUSDA Clarifies That Farmers Can Import Hemp Seeds From Other Countries
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) clarified on Friday that hemp seeds can be imported into the U.S., and that the Justice Department no longer has a role in that process.
While USDA is still developing regulations for hemp cultivation under the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized the crop and its derivatives, farmers can still obtain seeds in the meantime.
The agriculture legislation “removed hemp and hemp seeds from DEA authority for products containing THC levels not greater than 0.3 percent” and “DEA no longer has authority to require hemp seed permits for import purposes.”
“U.S. producers and hemp seed exporters have requested assistance from USDA to provide an avenue for hemp seed exports to the United States,” the department wrote in a bulletin. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates the importation of all seeds for planting to ensure safe agricultural trade. Under this authority, USDA is providing an alternative way for the safe importation of hemp seeds into the United States.”
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is among those who’ve requested assistance related to hemp importations. Earlier this month, he told Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue that the DEA was blocking Montana farmers from importing hemp seeds.
Perdue said during the hearing that the matter was “news to me” and explained that farmers can import and cultivate hemp under the research-focused provisions in the prior 2014 version of the legislation while the USDA worked to enact new regulations.