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USDA Extends DEA's Hemp Testing Deadline Due to 'Inadequate' Lab Capacity

"We are delaying enforcement of these requirements based on input received from State and Tribal governments and third-party cannabis testing facilities."

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Under USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production Program regulations, all hemp must be tested by a DEA-registered laboratory starting January 1, 2023. Due to inadequate DEA-registered laboratory testing capacity, USDA is delaying enforcement of the requirement for hemp testing to be done by a DEA-registered laboratory until December 31, 2023. Therefore, testing can be conducted by labs that are not yet DEA registered until December 31, 2023.

"We are delaying enforcement of these requirements based on input received from State and Tribal governments and third-party cannabis testing facilities who 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, which will hinder the growth of a domestic hemp market at this nascent stage. Laboratories testing hemp must comply with all other regulatory requirements," the agency wrote on its website.

"Furthermore, potential market entrants and related industries are relying on USDA to provide guidance in their preparations for the 2023 growing season, and the Administrator finds there is good cause to exercise enforcement discretion without prior opportunity for notice and comment and to make it immediately effective. For the same reasons, the Administrator finds that even if this exercise of enforcement discretion were subject to the public participation provisions of the APA, there is good cause to proceed without notice and comment."

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