The 2018 Farm Bill directed the USDA to establish a national regulatory framework for hemp production. The statute would allow, among other things, federally-chartered banks to do business with the hemp industry. However, until such regulations are established, lenders have remained reluctant to take deposits from the hemp industry.
Those regulations are near at hand. On October 31, 2019, the USDA issued an Interim Final Rule and requested Comments back by December 31, 2019. The rule can be viewed at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/10/31/2019-23749/establishment-of-a-domestic-hemp-production-program. The rule outlines provisions for the USDA to approve plans submitted by states for the domestic production of hemp, and establishes a Federal plan for producers in States that do not have their own USDA-approved plan.
Anyone involved in the hemp industry is highly encouraged to carefully review the rule and make comment for any provisions that are not workable. Comments can be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov; or filed with the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC, 20250-0237; or sent by facsimile to (202) 720-8938. Any submission should reference the following: Doc. 2019-23749, October 31, 2019, Page No. 58522 of the Federal Register.