New Mexico Implements Emergency Hemp Rules

New Mexico industrial hemp
Image: pixundfertig

Hemp industry participants in the U.S. state of New Mexico now have some regulatory clarity after the state’s Environment Department put temporary rules into effect.

The rules cover the extraction, manufacturing, processing storage and transportation of hemp and products derived from the crop.

“This temporary rule, to be in place no more than 180 days, will allow those in the hemp industry to begin operating in New Mexico and ensures the resulting products are safe for consumers while permanent regulations are developed,” said the Department late last week.

The rules apply to all individuals, businesses, agencies, institutions, or other entities engaged in the abovementioned activities.

New Mexico’s hemp industry had been in somewhat of a regulatory limbo since Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 581 into law in April, which provided for the regulation of production, testing, research, manufacturing and transport of hemp, hemp extract (including cannabidiol) and derived products. But those regulations had to be developed.

The Hemp Manufacturing Act, which became effective on July 1, stipulates the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, Environment Department (NMED) and Department of Health are the regulating authorities. The NMD’s Environmental Health Bureau (NMED) is responsible for permitting hemp warehouses, extraction facilities, and manufacturing facilities throughout the state.

The NMED has stated the emergency rule was necessary as “the Department finds that in these particular circumstances the time required to comply with and complete the procedures of the State Rules Act would cause an imminent peril to the public health, safety or welfare.”

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) had already issued hemp cultivation licenses to over 300 individuals and businesses, with the first of the crops due for harvesting this month – and these license holders will wish to begin post-harvest processing and extraction immediately after. Subsequently, many individuals and businesses plan to utilize the CBD oil extracted in the manufacture of food items.

Without regulations from the NMED in place, the Department would have not been able to compel manufacturers to engage in appropriate testing, labeling or enforce inspection requirements or standards for hemp manufacturing facilities.