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Business and Economy

Maine Ag Officials Say New Hemp Rules Could Hurt Growth

Erik Fenderson
Wikimedia Commons

State agriculture officials have sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expressing concerns that parts of the long-awaited federal hemp rule are too restrictive and could slow the growth of Maine's hemp industry.

Nancy McBrady, director of the Maine Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, says that the federal limits on trace amounts of THC allowed in hemp are too rigid, since levels fluctuate in many hemp varieties.

“Depending on, really, where they're grown and stress factors, etc. and, instead, USDA is requiring that the THC be assessed in a manner that is very stringent,” says McBrady.

State ag officials say they also question requirements that testing labs be registered with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, that the state sample every field and area in which a different variety or strain is growing, and that would-be hemp growers undergo background checks.