The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is allowing hemp farmers across the U.S. to apply for special protections regarding intellectual property for seed-propagated hemp. Those that are creating new varieties of hemp will have the sole rights to cultivate and market their variety.
Hemp is being included in an existing program, according to the USDA. Those that are granted the special certificates will have full control over who can market or use their specific variety of hemp for 20 years.
Applications can be submitted electronically. The online portal also allows amendments to applications to be made as well as checking the status of the application. Those with questions also have direct access to speak with staff at the Plant Variety Protection Office.
There are two types of certificates: Level 1 and 2. Level 1 status is reserved or those that wish to partake in international enterprise in the hemp industry. Level 2 is the category for those that will only be doing business on American soil.
Another plus for American hemp farmers is that seeds can now be imported from just about anywhere in the world. The Justice Department no longer has control over this agricultural crop.