Must You Import Hemp to the United States?


The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of hemp and hemp-derived solutions has sparked powerful organization interest from foreign stakeholders. For the previous couple of months, our firm has received various inquiries from current and potential clientele about the legality of importing the agricultural crop and its derived solutions, especially hemp-derived CBD (“Hemp-CBD”), to the United States.

This weblog posts briefly addresses the dangers and feasibility of engaging in this organization at the moment.


Despite the fact that the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the commercialization of hemp and its derivatives, the production of the crop has however to be regulated by the U.S. Division of Agriculture (“USDA”), which is tasked with adopting guidelines that will serve as a road map for states and Indian tribes wishing to regulate hemp inside their borders.

The USDA had anticipated issuing its guidelines by the finish of summer time nevertheless, the agency only lately submitted (on September 13) its proposed guidelines to the White Residence Workplace of Price range and Management (“OBM”), which critiques all regulations adopted and implemented by a presidential administration. Till this approach is comprehensive, we are left with small guidance on the production of hemp, which includes its transportation — note that the OBM authorized the proposed guidelines on Friday, October 25, which indicates they need to be released any day now.

Back in April, the agency issued a statement in which it expressly legalized the importation of hemp seeds and set forth strategies in which the seeds need to be imported from Canada and other foreign nations. Then on October 16, the agency quietly updated its suggestions to enable the importation of each hemp seeds and plants in the United States. According to the USDA’s webpage, hemp plants for planting that originate from Canada and other foreign nations may well be imported so extended as particular needs are happy. Hemp plants from Canada have to be accompanied by “a phytosanitary certificate from Canada’s NPPO to confirm the origin of the plant and to confirm no plant pests are detected.” Hemp plants from nations other than Canada have to also be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate as nicely as an application for a Permit to Import Plants or Plant Merchandise, superior recognized as a  PPQ 587 permit

These new suggestions align with the position taken by some U.S. courts that foreign hemp may well be freely shipped to the U.S.  simply because hemp is now excluded from the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”)’s definition of marijuana. But, in practicality, these court choices did not eradicate the danger that foreign hemp be seized at the border. This is simply because hemp is difficult to differentiate from marijuana. The crop appears and smells like its psychoactive cousin, which indicates more suggestions had been desperately necessary from the USDA.

Despite the fact that the agency’s suggestions confirm the importation of hemp plants is lawful, the guidelines do not mention the need to have to attach a copy of THC testing final results, displaying that the plant meets the .three% THC limit imposed beneath federal law. Hence, it will be fascinating to see irrespective of whether hemp will now freely pass U.S. Customs and Border Protection or if more regulations, such as testing protocols will be necessary.


In addition to removing the hemp plant from the CSA, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp concentrates and extracts, which includes Hemp-CBD. Nonetheless, the new law preserved the authority of the Meals and Drug Administration (“FDA”) to regulate Hemp-CBD solutions, which includes but not restricted to foods and dietary supplements. From the moment hemp and its derivatives had been legalized, the FDA took the position that the use of Hemp-CBD in foods, dietary supplements and unapproved drugs is unlawful in the United States simply because CBD was currently authorized as an active ingredient in a drug employed in the therapy of epilepsy (i.e., Epidiolex).

Offered the common demand of Hemp-CBD solutions, the federal agency has been pressured by lawmakers and stakeholders to reconsider its position on CBD and forge a pathway towards legalizing their sale and advertising in the United States.

Consequently, till the agency adopts new guidelines and regulations, the sale of these solutions will stay unlawful in the United States, even if manufactured and imported from overseas — while the FDA appears on board with the sale and advertising of Hemp-CBD topicals.

For additional data on this challenge, get in touch with our group of regulatory attorneys.


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