New federal regulations would make it harder for hemp growers to prove their plants are not marijuana, in what could be a major setback to a promising industry legalized just two years ago, farmers and state officials say.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture in October unveiled stricter standards for hemp testing than many states had allowed under pilot programs that date to 2014. Now states are scrambling to adapt, and farmers are worrying they’ll face a higher risk of having to destroy crops that test “hot” as marijuana.
“Once again, Washington, D.C., is out of touch with rural America,” said Democratic Vermont state Sen. John Rodgers, who is also a hemp farmer.
Hemp and marijuana are separated by a fine legal line: Federal law defines cannabis plants with a concentration greater…