The regulations governing hemp production are beginning to come into focus. However, the uniqueness of the crop may present some challenges when evaluating the types of crop protection materials that can be applied. Variety selection and cultivation practices will be largely dictated by what the hemp will ultimately be used for and the production of Cannabidiol (CBD) oil appears to be the most confounding issue as it pertains to establishing production guidelines.
“The kind of hot button issue is the CBD oil products and that’s really kind of a murky area as far as regulation goes,” said Placer County Ag Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been pretty clear in communicating that those types of uses are not allowed, yet those products are all over the marketplace right now.”
The versatility of hemp is unlike other crops that are strictly for either food or fiber, creating a unique set of challenges when it comes to regulating the products that can be used in production. Hemp used to create rope or different types of building materials will not be the same as the variety grown for CBD oil. That makes the process for evaluating production materials a bit more involved than other crops. “As that relates to pesticides, it’s tricky because each type of human consumption has to have different risk assessments done on it,” Huntsinger noted
Farmers have expressed tremendous interest in hemp production, with many considering the crop because of the growing popularity of CBD products. Despite the sales of CBD-based foods increasing significantly over the past five years, the FDA has yet to initiate any substantial enforcement action on their production. Many growers are anxiously awaiting more clarity on the issue of CBD oil and how that will affect the evaluation of potential crop protection materials.
“CBD oil is very different from say, hemp seed flour for instance, they’re very different consumption and maybe different effects on the human body as far as pesticide residues go,” said Huntsinger. “That’s going to be something that’s going to have to get worked through as maybe a little stiffer, non-exempt products get evaluated by EPA and DPR.”