USDA back-peddles on plans to allow organic certification for qualified hemp farmers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reversed course on its organic certification of industrial hemp operations throughout the country.

Several hemp farms across the country had secured, or were in the process of securing, certifications from third-party auditors following a directive from the USDA’s National Organic Program staff allowing hemp to be certified organic.

“Organic certification of industrial hemp production at this time is premature and could be misleading to certified organic operations,” reads a recent letter from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. The agency added that it will work with other federal agencies to develop a solution.

Organic certification in the cannabis industry has been a confusing and sometimes controversial topic, with some cannabis firms using the label without really being organic, according to critics. That has prompted some lawmakers, most notably in Colorado, to attempt to craft their own state organic certification regime.

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