In our previous post, we highlighted that the United Stated Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) published its final rule (the “Final Rule”) regulating the production of industrial hemp under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the “2018 Farm Bill”). The Final Rule supersedes regulations set forth in the interim final rule published on October 31, 2019 (the “Interim Rule”).

The Final Rule was initially scheduled to take effect on March 22, 2021. However, a White House Memorandum issued by the Biden Administration on January 21, 2021 (the “Biden Memorandum”) effectively “froze” all regulations that had been published in the Federal Register but had not yet taken effect, including the Final Rule. The Biden Memorandum also granted agencies (such as the USDA) the authority to “consider opening a 30-day comment period.”

As part of the transition to the Biden Administrations, the USDA and many other agencies took this opportunity to review new and pending regulatory actions, including the Final Rule.
Continue Reading USDA Final Rule Takes Effect

On January 15, 2021, the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) published its final rule (the “Final Rule”) regulating the production of industrial hemp under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the “2018 Farm Bill”). The Final Rule modifies regulations set forth in the interim final rule published on October 31, 2019 (the “Interim Rule”). The modifications are based on approximately 5,900 public comments submitted to the USDA over three public comment periods.

The Final Rule contains the following key provisions:
Continue Reading USDA Releases Final Rule Regulating Industrial Hemp

Trademark practitioners, hemp producers, and hemp-derived product manufacturers have long struggled with the clash of federal and state law regarding protection of trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Historically, the USPTO has refused registration of marks that include cannabis, hemp, CBD or derived products on the basis that these marks were unable to have lawful use in commerce under existing federal law. These waters became even murkier after the passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (known as the 2018 Farm Bill), which removed “hemp” from the list of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). On May 2, 2019, the USPTO issued Examination Guide 1-19, outlining the USPTO’s policies with respect to trademarks including legal CBD and hemp-derived goods and services since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This appears to open the door for registration of marks that include legal CBD, hemp or hemp-derived products (such as hemp oil), or services such as the cultivation or production of hemp.

Continue Reading USPTO Issues Guidance on CBD and Hemp Trademarks After the 2018 Farm Bill

The USDA retracted its previous policy today and has permitted the organic certification of industrial hemp by certified agents accredited by the NOP, if produced in accordance with USDA organic regulations.  For imported hemp, existing regulations and guidelines continue to govern whether products may be certified as organic.

What does this mean?

Industrial hemp cultivated