December 15, 2022

USDA Delays DEA-Registered Lab Requirement For Hemp Testing

USDA Delays DEA-Registered Lab Requirement For Hemp Testing

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service announced that the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program regulation requiring any laboratory testing hemp for THC to be registered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been delayed for a year. The USDA extended the original deadline from Jan. 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023 due to the limited number and overall testing capacity of current DEA-registered laboratories. Producers can continue to conduct hemp testing through labs that are not registered by the DEA, but must comply to all other regulatory requirements.

USDA Delays DEA-Registered Lab Requirement For Hemp Testing

According to USDA, the agency is delaying enforcement of this requirement based on input received from state and tribal governments and third-party cannabis testing facilities that have experienced delays in completing the DEA laboratory registration process. Because of these delays, USDA is concerned there will be inadequate hemp laboratory testing capacity for the 2023 growing season.

“We are very pleased that the USDA has provided producers another year to avoid the tremendous burden securing a DEA-registered lab for hemp testing, but we would like for this requirement to be eliminated permanently,” stated Jonathan Miller, General Counsel for the US Hemp Roundtable. “There’s simply no need for DEA to be in the hemp business, and we strongly support Rep. Chellie Pingree’s legislative efforts to eliminate the DEA-registration requirement.”

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) is championing The Hemp Advancement Act (H.R. 6645) which includes several provisions that would help ease burdens on hemp producers and resolve this issue by removing the DEA-registered lab requirement for hemp testing. Pingree told Forbes that in her home state of Maine, where hemp is grown in every county, there are no DEA-registered labs to serve farmers and processors.

“There are insufficient testing facilities. Right here in Maine, we don’t have one at all—and there’s two that cover all of New England,” she said, noting that there are labs not registered with the DEA that are “perfectly capable of doing this.”

“To eliminate this DEA requirement would take away one more obstacle that farmers are currently facing,” she added.

The DEA should not have a monopoly on the registration of labs, nor should producers face the risk of losing profits due to testing delays!

You can help take action today by using our Federal Action Center to contact your members of Congress urging them to support The Hemp Advancement Act and the repeal of the DEA lab registration requirement for hemp testing!