Vermont hemp growers face federal roadblocks owning hemp and cannabis licenses
Vermont’s hemp and marijuana industries face mounting challenges due to conflicting federal and state regulations. While the state has been a pioneering force in hemp cultivation and has recently legalized recreational marijuana, officials decided to relinquish control of its hemp program to federal authorities in 2022. As a result, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains that, according to their rules, hemp license holders cannot also be licensed to manufacture cannabis. According to reporting from Seven Days VT, this federal rule has left some Vermont growers who obtained a cannabis license in a precarious position, of either giving up the cannabis license or the hemp permit to fit within guidelines.
This difference between state and federal regulations is an issue that other states with legal cannabis are reporting as well. Many farmers, striving to adhere to federal guidelines, find themselves at odds with the patchwork of state laws around cannabis and hemp. Amid these complexities, calls are growing for amendments in federal policy, especially in the upcoming iteration of the Farm Bill, which governs hemp production. While there’s hope for change with proposals to shift marijuana’s federal classification from Schedule I to Schedule III, the current landscape remains challenging for those in the cannabis sector.