Jan. 15, 2021: a monumental date for the hemp, cannabis and CBD industries. On this day, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reached its final ruling on hemp, providing regulations for hemp in the U.S. How will this new hemp ruling affect PR strategies?
From a PR standpoint, we entered the hemp, cannabis and CBD market’s “green rush” before the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill (also known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018). Our team at Fort Lauderdale and Aspen-based public relations and marketing agency Durée & Company serve many clients in the cannabis, hemp and CBD industries, and have a vested interest in what this ruling means.
Here are some key takeaways from this rule, which goes into effect on March 22, 2021:
- The hemp sampling window has been changed from 15 to 30 days. The goal of this is to “allow more time for States and Tribal governments to collect and process samples, balance workloads, and alleviate potential backlogs,” according to USDA Final Rule.
- The hemp sampling protocol can now include performance-based sampling. This sets a performance objective and allows states and tribes freedom in how to achieve that objective. This flexibility is great for states with limited resources, and for the differences between states and tribes when it comes to the sampling methodology.
- The negligence threshold has increased from 0.5% to 1%. Growers will have more flexibility in disposing the plant if THC reaches 1% without necessitating eradication. The total THC limit in hemp remains at 0.3% THC.
- The USDA is still requiring pre-harvest samples to come from the cannabis flower and not the whole plant. But growers will be able to now take 5 to 8 inches of hemp from the stem. The initial rule required a sample from the top-third portion of the plant.
- Hemp testing labs will still need to be registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). That requirement, however, has been delayed until 2022.
- Growers have additional options for hot hemp, including crop disposal and remediation.
We share some quotes from Durée & Company clients regarding the ruling, published in a recent mg Magazine article:
Dustin Robinson, founding partner at Mr. Cannabis Law and co-founder of Mr. Psychedelic Law:
“The improvements made in the final rule are a testament to the strength and resilience of hemp advocates and the hemp industry as a whole. The final rule is certainly not perfect but it demonstrates the federal government’s willingness and openness to work with the industry on finding solutions as we transition to a legal and regulated system. This transition has not been easy, and we have many challenges ahead. But this marks an exciting step forward for the industry.”
Jeff Greene, co-founder and director of The Florida Hemp Council:
“The rule is a clear sign that the USDA has listened to the farmers and is willing to bend. That said, it’s not perfect and there will be more room for improvement as the DEA test lab rule doesn’t even go into effect until 2022. Now that farmers have a clear direction, we need the FDA to step up and provide the final clarity to allow the cannabinoid industry a path to growth. Without that clarity, farmers can grow but if the crop isn’t in demand they will stop. Additionally, the government needs to get behind the industry with manufacturing block grants to spur innovation and additional uses for the plant.”
How does this change what we do in PR and marketing for cannabis, hemp and CBD?
As always, we must understand the workings of the industry and know how to navigate it. We guide our clients while keeping a watchful eye on federal and local legislation. Whether they are cultivators, manufacturers, producers or innovators in the industry, we provide PR that showcases them following these guidelines. The industry is constantly changing, and we are always on the top of our game.
If you are in the cannabis, hemp or CBD industry and want to make your brand stand out with the guidance of seasoned PR and marketing professionals, contact us today, or visit our cannabis- and hemp-specific website for more information.
Want to know more? Watch this video for a look at some of the clients and the media coverage we have secured.
About Durée & Company, Inc.
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, digital marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions, affiliate marketing and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in yachting, business, real estate, hospitality, travel, cannabis and hemp, wellness and CBD, art and culture, fashion, nonprofit organizations, legal and professional services. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to dureeandcompany.com; or visit its new, specialized cannabis- and CBD-specific site at cannabismarketingpr.com. Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.