Hemp Rules are in the Hopper

The VT Agency of Agriculture conducted two required public hearings on the proposed Rules to implement the law governing Vermont’s state Hemp Program. Rural Vermont sent a representative to both meetings, provided testimony and submitted formal comments. Read Rural Vermont’s comments here.

The DRAFT Rules will now be edited by VAAFM, based on the comments they received. There will be no further public hearings but Rural Vermont intends to stay in close communication with VAAFM about the final version of the Rules. Once finalized, the Rules must be submitted first to the VT Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) and then to the USDA. The VAAFM is working hard to get the final rules in place in time for this year’s hemp harvest.

Both public hearings (in Brandon and in Newport) were lightly attended, no doubt because both dates were ideal days for planting hemp after the relentlessly cool wet spring. Rural Vermont’s testimony and comments from producers and processors at the hearings generally focused on the following concerns:

  1. More information is needed about how the VAAFM will be conducting the research that is mandated under the federal law. Especially as it is related to data the Agency will be collecting form farmers and processors. (It is likely there will be a “preamble” about this concern added at the beginning of the Rules.) 

  2. Objections were voiced by Rural Vermont an others to the requirement for public disclosure (including to law enforcement) of information included on Hemp Registration applications.

  3. Rural Vermont strongly criticized the proposed restriction on participation in the Hemp Program by those who have a past drug-related felony conviction. The Agency has said that this is included in the rules to comply with federal provisions.  Past and present Vermont hemp registrants that this situation applies to have the possibility of being grandfathered into the program moving forward. If you have a past drug-related felony and are interested in participating in Vermont’s burgeoning hemp industry, email mollie@ruralvermont.org for more information. 

  4. Other comments focused primarily on the testing and record-keeping requirements 

If you have questions about the Hemp Rules or any other aspect of Vermont’s Hemp Program please contact mollie@ruralvermont.org. The VAAFM also has many resources available on its website.

Mollie Wills