Maine and hemp producers say new federal rules could hurt industry’s growth

By: Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Players in Maine’s hemp farming industry — including the agriculture department — say recent changes to federal rules about hemp farming will harm the small growers who make up the majority of the state’s hemp business.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture about the interim final rules on Monday. The letter, signed by E. Ann Gibbs, the Maine’s director of the state division of animal and plant health E. Ann Gibbs, said that the rules should be amended because they will be “challenging for states with existing hemp programs and could threaten the future growth of the industry overall.”

The rules have been long awaited in Maine, as farmers have struggled to obtain lines of credit, partnerships with electronic payment companies and insurance without guidance. State officials pleaded with the USDA to release the rules in October after Sheepscot General Farm in Whitefield lost its insurance policies and banking support in one week.

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