Hemp Testing Enforcement Discretion

The contents of this web page do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. The following is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.

Under USDA’s Domestic Hemp Production Program regulations (Final Rule; 86 FR 5596), all hemp must be tested by a DEA-registered (Drug Enforcement Administration) 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, 2024. Therefore, testing can be conducted by labs that are not yet DEA registered until December 31, 2024.

We are delaying enforcement of these requirements (7 C.F.R §§ 990.3(a)(3)(iii)(H) and 990.25(g)(3)) 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 2024 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.

Furthermore, potential market entrants and related industries are relying on USDA to provide guidance in their preparations for the 2024 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.