State Doesn't Expect Response To Its Hemp Plan Until Fall

Apr 18, 2019

Herbicide damage on hemp plants. A lot of research still needs to be done to know what products work on the plants.
Credit Leslie L./Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this month, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture submitted its application to the federal government outlining the state's plan for regulating hemp growing in the state. Legislation passed this year by lawmakers provided funding to move forward on the plan, but Wyoming's Hemp Program Coordinator Scott McDonald said the U.S. Department of Agriculture won't look at state regulations for the industry until they've finished designing federal rules. 

He said that's why putting together the application became something of a guessing game.

"In the long run, we might have to go back and rewrite a lot of that because we drafted it not knowing what they want."

McDonald said the U.S.D.A. has informed states they can't start licensing hemp growers until after the federal regulations are in place, and that probably won't happen until next fall. After that, he said, they'll likely have to revise it based on pending federal rules.

"In drafting the plan and getting things out, we were hoping we could probably get something in place by the 2019 growing season. It's not looking promising at this point."

In the last legislative session, Wyoming lawmakers approved funds to monitor a hemp industry in the state. McDonald says whenever the U.S.D.A. approves Wyoming's plan, they're ready to go. He said, they're already moving forward on setting up a lab for testing, training staff and designing a licensing program.