On Jan. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officially announced that it has approved plans for new states in tribal areas to be able to produce hemp.
According to an article on the USDA’s website. the new plans were approved by the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program for Delaware, Nebraska and Texas and for the Colorado River Indian Tribes, the Fort Belknap Indian Community, the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and the Yurok Tribe.
States and tribes that already have approved plans are Louisiana, New Jersey, and Ohio, and the Flandreau Santee Sioux, Santa Rosa Cahuilla, and La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indian Tribes.
“The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) directed USDA to develop a regulatory oversight program for hemp and include provisions for USDA to approve hemp production plans submitted by states and Indian tribes,” the USDA website explains. “ State and tribal plans provide details on practices and procedures that enable hemp producers in their jurisdictions to operate according to their individual plans and in compliance with federal laws.”
In order to be eligible to grow hemp in these states or tribes, residents in the approved areas must be licensed by a production program under the USDA or their specific jurisdiction. These programs vary from state to state or tribe to tribe.
Even those who have been reluctant to embrace legal, recreational cannabis or a medical program have gotten curious about hemp and its impacts. The Cherokee Nation recently launched a group to study hemp and what it can do for a community and states like Texas have happily been approved for legal hemp plans. As the distinction between hemp and cannabis becomes clearer, and even cannabis becomes more accepted, hemp programs will continue to spread across the nation.