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The USDA Has Released Its Final Rule on Hemp Regulation

More than two years after President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, the US Department of Agriculture has released its final rule for the regulation of hemp.  The 2018 Farm Bill legalized cannabis plants containing .3% THC or less, also known as hemp. By then, hemp crops had sprouted across the US, […]

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More than two years after President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, the US Department of Agriculture has released its final rule for the regulation of hemp. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized cannabis plants containing .3% THC or less, also known as hemp. By then, hemp crops had sprouted across the US, as the 2014 Farm Bill allowed state departments of agriculture and institutions of higher education to grow hemp for research purposes under a pilot program. 

When the Department published its interim final rule for the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program in October 2019, hemp advocates, regulators, and other industry stakeholders submitted comments to the USDA calling for changes. Nearly 6,000 comments came in.

USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach said, in a statement announcing the final rules, that the Department has listened.

“With the publication of this final rule, USDA brings to a close a full and transparent rule-making process that started with a hemp listening session in March 2019,” he said, adding that “USDA staff have taken the information you have provided through three comment periods and from your experiences over a growing season” in order to craft the regulations.

But while the final rule, set to go into effect in March, addresses some of the concerns raised during public comment, others remain. 

Zach Gihorski, associate director for public policy for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), told Cannabis Wire that the final rule “represents a great start in terms of providing a workable regulatory framework that supports the hemp industry” and that NASDA “was happy to see the increased negligence threshold, the expanded testing window, and the inclusion of options for remediation.” 

However, Gihorski continued, “there is still work to be done” and NASDA “will continue to work diligently in supporting the growth and development of hemp.”

Larry Farnsworth, a spokesperson for the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC), told Cannabis Wire that he’s “glad” the USDA “listened to the concerns of the industry regarding sampling and testing,” but that he anticipates the rule will be frozen when President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

“We look forward to working through these issues with the incoming Biden Administration and have all of this year to get it right before the 2014 authorities sunset.”

In October, Trump signed a spending bill that included language granting states extra time to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill, while transitioning to the requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill. This came after NASDA and NIHC together pushed the USDA and lawmakers for an extension, and after Senator Chuck Schumer and other groups, lawmakers, and regulators also voiced their concerns about both the interim final rule and the deadline to comply. Now, they have until January 2022.

One big concern that remains in the final rule is a requirement that hemp sampling labs be DEA-approved. Though, the final rule does not enforce this requirement until the end of December 2022. 

Bryan Hurlburt, the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and vice chair of a NASDA committee looking at hemp, told Cannabis Wire in January 2020 that this requirement is a  “hurdle,” as such labs are “actually quite difficult to come by.” 

At NASDA’s Winter Policy Conference last February, as Cannabis Wire reported, USDA Under Secretary Ibach told attendees that because of an “agreement,” the USDA would “provide some relief from the laboratory certification process” for the 2020 crop year, but that the Drug Enforcement Administration would still expect states to work with their laboratories to “try to achieve certification” during the 2021 crop cycle.” Now, as the final rule makes clear, there has been an extension, but not an elimination, of this requirement.

Another concern is around so-called “hot hemp,” or hemp that contains too much THC when tested. The interim final rule put the threshold for negligence at .5%, but the final rule raised it to 1%. One area that the final rule did not nudge on is in its requirement that tests look at the total THC content of a sample, not just delta-9 THC, which is a more specific measure. The final rule did, though, extend the window during which hemp product samples must be tested from 15 to 30 days.

The final rule also allows for disposal on-site, which is less restrictive than the interim final rule. This was another area that Ibach indicated USDA might budge during the February conference. He said, “We’re going to provide more options and greater flexibility for states that are working with producers, that need to provide more options for disposal or more commonly accepted ways to destroy that crop on the farm.” 

Source: https://cannabiswire.com/2021/01/15/the-usda-has-released-its-final-rule-on-hemp-regulation/

Automotive

Week in Review: Steel capacity; February US auto sales; OPEC meets

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, which this week includes coverage of steel capacity…

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hot rolled steel

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, which this week includes coverage of steel capacity utilization, the latest OPEC ministerial meeting and much more.

Overall, most base metals seem to be retracing from a late February peak. LME copper and aluminum have both been declining since late February.

The tin price’s dive has been more stark. LME three-month tin has dropped over 13% since Feb. 25. However, in the long term, the outlook for tin remains promising, particularly given its application in electronics.

Week of March 1-5 (steel capacity, oil prices and more)

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Automotive

What goes up must (eventually) come down — does the old saying apply to nickel prices?

Up to this week, the nickel bull story had been roaring along. Talk of metal shortages and runaway electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid battery demand have supported that story. But one announcement has…

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nickel

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Up to this week, the nickel bull story had been roaring along.

Talk of metal shortages and runaway electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid battery demand have supported that story.

But one announcement has seen that bull run hit a brick wall.

Grab your coffee and hear MetalMiner’s latest forecast for aluminum, copper, stainless and carbon steel on Wednesday, March 24, at 10:00 a.m. CDT: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_6J8wAyYySfihVk3ZUH9yMA.

Nickel bull story slows

News that China’s Tsingshan Holding Group has signed a one-year contract to supply nickel matte to Huayou Cobalt Co and CNGR Advanced Material Co, on March 3 prompted a sharp sell-off.

Under the agreement, Tsingshan will supply 60,000 tonnes of nickel matte to Huayou and 40,000 tonnes a year to CNGR, starting from October 2021. Tsingshan is China’s largest producer of stainless steel.

Just this morning, news sources like MetalBulletin were still promoting the bull narrative, saying nickel premiums continue to rise in China, while ore prices set another record high (even as the European cut cathode premium rises a further 5%).

But almost simultaneously, Reuters reported hot-off-the-press details of the Tsingshan deal and a sharp sell-off ensued. The post noted nickel fell 8.5% to $15,945 per metric ton on the LME for the biggest intraday loss since 2016. Shanghai prices fell by the most in nine months. The SHFE June nickel price ended 6% lower at RMB 130,510 ($20,181) per ton, according to Reuters.

Investment and the supply outlook

The Economic Times posted further details, reporting Tsingshan plans to expand investments in Indonesia. Tsingshan plans for its nickel equivalent output to reach 600,000 metric tons this year. Meanwhile, it has a target of 850,000 tons in 2021 and 1.1 million tons by 2023.

Nickel’s narrative has largely been predicated on a shortage of battery-grade metal driven by EV demand.

However, Tsingshan’s supply contract and capacity announcements suggest there will be sufficient supply. As a result, the nickel market reflected a sharp rethink of the deficit view.

Demand undoubtedly remains robust for nickel. Its medium- to longer-term outlook remains positive on the back of stainless and battery demand.

Indonesia’s efforts are finally paying off. The country is ramping up refined metal output, albeit under Chinese control. As a result, output of battery and refined grades of nickel is increasing. Meanwhile output of lower grade nickel pig iron is declining.

Nevertheless, the world does not seem quite as short of nickel today as it did yesterday.

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Composites

New postponement sees JEC World moved to 2022

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New postponement sees JEC World moved to 2022

After thorough consultation of clients and partners, the JEC World team has decided that due to the continuing impact of the Pandemic, it has postponed the next edition of JEC World to March 8-10, 2022.

Amidst growing concern among our exhibitors and partners surrounding the critical situation of the Covid-19 restrictive measures and other limitations in place in many countries, the JEC World team has decided to work on a new timeline to hold the next edition of the event in the best conditions in 2022.

Therefore, JEC World exhibitors were asked to respond to a survey offering two new dates to determine which one would suit them the most. It appeared that 89% of respondents favoured holding the next JEC World session from March 8-10, 2022.

“The coronavirus pandemic situation has taken the central stage, so in light of the current situation, it would not be possible for us to satisfy our customers’ requirements for such an international trade fair as JEC World in June,” said Eric Pierrejean, CEO of JEC Group. “We truly regret having to make this difficult decision once again.

“However, we are all committed, starting today, to deliver the best JEC World experience to our clients in 2022. While waiting for welcoming the international composites community back to Paris in March 2022, JEC Group team is preparing various online meetings in June, enabling the entire composites community to discover trends and innovations and to connect.″

The leading composites event will now take place from March 8-10, 2022 at Paris Nord Villepinte and online for a new augmented experience.

“JEC World 2022 and the augmented platform will bring the international composites community and specialists together to resume business, network, hold business meetings,” added Adeline Larroque, show director and EMEA events. “They will also have the chance to participate in conferences, workshops, and discover the latest composites innovations.”

www.jec-world.events

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