Alaska introduces new rules for the hemp industry

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The new guidelines clarify agriculture and cultivation policies for hemp farms

In the middle of the global coronavirus pandemic, Alaska agriculture officials are making efforts to limit the need for businesses to take in-person trips to their office. The Division of Agriculture in Alaska is following social distancing but hasn’t stopped working, the new rules for the state’s hemp program became effective last week on April 4. The agency made a good use of Facebook’s streaming platform, Facebook Live, to provide general details to the interested parties regarding the new industrial hemp program, which will operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program rules.

The agency used Facebook’s platform to talk about the hemp program general rules, including the process of registration that farmers, processors and marketers must follow to get their hemp business started. Both participants and regulators were able to engage in conversations and dialogues to allow understanding during this session. Under this new hemp program, all parties involved must be registered to produce, process, or market hemp legally.

According to Rob Carter, the state agronomist and manager of Alaska’s Northern Latitude Plant Materials Center, the new regulations propose to break the hemp industry into three components: growers, manufacturers and retailers. “This will allow our industry to vertically integrate for efficiencies,” Carter said in a statement.

Alaska is one of 20 states that preferred to continue hemp operations under the 2014 pilot program instead of creating its own and send it for approval. These new regulations might help change Governor Mike Dunleavy’s decision to cut $375,000 from the state’s budget destined to Alaska’s industrial hemp program. He justified his decision by stating that there is “no existing industry to support a state-funded program.”