FDA Disclosure


Kentucky let the resurgence in

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The 2020 Growing Season:

USDA’s website summarizes the status of various state hemp programs. But USDA omits key details and misstates others. The following reviews how several states have approached hemp production previously and, based on current information, how they intend to proceed during 2020. Note that actual harvest data for 2019 are not yet available.


Colorado is perhaps the country’s leading hemp producer. Its legalization of adult-use marijuana in 2012 may have given the state a head start on its hemp program. According to Vote Hemp, Colorado went from harvesting 9,700 acres in 2017 to 21,578 in 2018, barely trailing Montana. Colorado then licensed 80,225 acres in 2019, far more than any other state.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) provides little information on its website concerning its approach to the IFR. But CDA officials confirmed their intention in interviews to operate Colorado’s pilot program through the 2020 growing season. CDA is working closely with USDA, they said, and intends to submit its state plan in January 2020, noting that it won’t become effective until after October.


Tennessee established its hemp pilot program in April 2014. According to Vote Hemp, Tennessee increased its hemp harvest from 200 acres in 2017 to 3,338 in 2018. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) reports on its website that the state licensed 3,800 producers in 2019 to plant up to 51,000 acres.

TDA submitted a draft production plan to USDA in February 2019, which the agency failed to address, presumably pending issuance of the IFR. USDA has treated other states similarly. TDA’s website states that “no immediate changes are expected” to its hemp program. While intending to submit a revised plan to USDA “sometime next year,” officials confirmed in interviews that TDA will continue operating its pilot program in 2020. By comparison, USDA’s website states that Tennessee’s production plan is “under review.”