The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has been forced to delay the application process for the 2020 hemp growing season due to issues with federal government regulations, ADAI said in a press release on Tuesday.
“Currently, (ADAI) is awaiting an interim final rule to be published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) pertaining to hemp,” the release stated. “Because USDA has not yet issued interim rules, we must, unfortunately, delay the opening of the application period beyond Monday, September 23, 2019.”
The new expected open date is Oct. 7, but ADAI said it will provide updates on that status on a regular basis.
There are also other changes to the program in 2020, including that ADAI can now accept credit card payments and that each applicant will have to undergo a criminal background check as part of the process. Anyone with a felony drug conviction within the last 10 years will not be accepted into the program.
The Alabama Hemp program launched in the beginning of 2019, after the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (i.e. Farm Bill) declassified hemp as a schedule 1 drug and deemed hemp as an agriculture commodity. This legislation defines hemp as all parts of the plant containing less than 0.3 percent THC, including derivatives, extracts, and cannabinoids.