Hemp Heaven vs. Hemp Hell - Why is the USDA Treating Certain Hemp Farmers Differently?
A peculiar regulatory crackdown has blindsided hemp farmers in certain states, costing them licenses and livelihoods after entering newly legal state cannabis industries. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversees hemp cultivation regulation nationally per the 2018 Farm Bill's provisions removing non-psychoactive hemp from Controlled Substances Act purview. While 33 states administer their own USDA-approved hemp oversight programs with licenses, a few rely on direct USDA management, including Vermont and Mississippi. Under this federal licensing, home cultivators like Sam Bellavance successfully grew boutique hemp crops for years, benefiting regional access to CBD medicines. But recently, a frightening pattern emerged.