Much has been made of Michigan’s ongoing budget debate, with Republicans and Democrats locked in a heated battle about the State’s budgetary priorities. Although the Legislature has submitted budget proposals to Governor Whitmer, and the Governor has indicated that a shutdown is not forthcoming, the deadline for adopting a budget remains midnight tonight. As such, many State agencies are preparing for the possibility of a government shutdown.
In a notice published on September 26, 2019, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) published a notice regarding the effect a government shutdown would have on the testing of hemp samples. This notice specifically states that, in the event of a government shutdown, MDARD’s hemp-testing laboratory will discontinue hemp testing and close. Hemp growers who have already scheduled a time to provide the lab with samples on or after October 1, 2019, will thereafter be unable to have their hemp samples tested until the government shutdown is over. MDARD’s notice also indicated it would attempt to complete testing for all samples received before September 27, 2019 by no later than 5:00PM today.
The impact of a government shutdown would be significant for the State’s hemp producers. Hemp growers cannot harvest their crop without that crop being first analyzed by the state to ensure the crop does not have a THC content of more than 0.3% (the legal cutoff between hemp and marijuana). If a government shutdown occurs, it is possible that “hundreds of acres of the state’s first-ever hemp crop may need to be destroyed.”
The day after publishing its initial notice, MDARD published a second notice indicating that the government would not be shut down. At time of writing, however, no budget has yet been adopted. Thus, hemp producers should continue to treat MDARD’s earlier notice as effective until a budget has been adopted.
If you have questions about the status of hemp in light of the budget battle, or about the laws regarding hemp growth or processing generally, don’t hesitate to give our office a call! Our experienced team is ready to assist you in this new and exciting business.
Contact Grewal Law PLLC to discuss your legal questions with our experienced attorneys.