The irony is not lost on the hemp industry.

In 2018, Congress removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), stripping the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of oversight of a cannabis-derived substance now treated as an agricultural crop.

But laboratories that test Farm Bill-compliant hemp must presently be registered with DEA, per interim regulations published Oct. 31 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The requirement is burdensome and costly and will cause complications for labs that have been testing both hemp and marijuana under state cannabis programs, according to industry sources.

Not all facilities testing hemp are registered with DEA, noted Garrett Graff, managing attorney with Hoban Law Group in Denver.

“Those existing labs [registered with DEA] do not have the bandwidth or capacity to be the exclusive testing provider to the hemp industry,” Graff said in an interview.

Graff added, “The process to become DEA registered and the procedures necessary to maintain DEA registration are exhaustive, onerous and costly both in time and money.”

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