The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Puerto Rico's plan for hemp production on the island under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.
The approval, announced by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González, comes after the U.S. Congress approved the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, in which the USDA was ordered to develop a regulatory program for hemp production. It also includes provisions so that the federal agency approves the hemp production plans presented by the nation's states and territories.
State plans provide details on practices and procedures that allow hemp growers in their jurisdictions to operate in accordance with their individual plans and in accordance with federal law.
When the Agriculture Improvement Act was approved, González explained one of the programs included in the law that would expand to Puerto Rico the authorization of the cultivation of industrial cannabis (hemp) in state universities and the local farming agencies and entities.
Cannabis is currently considered illegal under federal law, although 48 states, including Massachusetts, have laws that allow or decriminalize marijuana or marijuana-based products. Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and other territories have similar laws.