April 12, 2018
An Historic Day for Hemp!
This is an historic day for hemp. Earlier this morning, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to introduce the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which would permanently legalize hemp, removing it from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act, and classifying it as an agricultural commodity. He was joined on the floor by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, a liberal Democrat from Oregon, in an inspiring display of bipartisanship that is all too rare in Washington. McConnell also announced that U.S. Congressman Jamie Comer (R-KY) would be introducing a companion bill in the House of Representatives, sharing the same mission and language as the McConnell/Wyden bill. I am confident that a significant number of Members of Congress from both parties that had supported Comer’s earlier H.R. 3530 will jump on as co-sponsors soon.
You can watch the video here:
https://www.facebook.com/hemproundtable/videos/2073069156244648/The final bill language is available here. I’m excited to report that Senator McConnell and his colleagues listened closely to farmers and the industry in drafting the legislation. Indeed, the bill covers nearly every item from the U.S. Hemp Roundtable’s dream wish list. While we will have a lot to say about this bill in the coming days, here’s a quick summary:
- It would remove hemp – all parts of the cannabis sativa L plant with a concentration of not more than 0.3% THC — from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act. Better yet, the bill is even more expansive than the 2014 Farm Bill in that it specifically de-schedules all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, and seeds of hemp as long as those portions of the plant remain below the THC threshold. This means that popular hemp food products like hemp-derived CBD would be considered agricultural commodities, not controlled substances.
- It would allow states (and Native American Tribes) to regulate hemp growth and cultivation in their jurisdictions, building off of the 2014 Farm Bill pilot programs. The states would submit a regulatory plan to USDA, which must demonstrate policies to pinpoint locations of hemp production, to test for THC, and to destroy uncompliant plants. Many states have already developed compliant regulatory structures for their pilot programs that can be easily transitioned for these purposes.
- It makes hemp research eligible for competitive grant funding at USDA – and in a recent improvement that the Roundtable requested, crop insurance would finally be made available for hemp farmers. It would clarify that nothing in this act authorizes interference with the interstate transportation or commerce of hemp or hemp products – an important statement to protect hemp farmers and businesses from misguided regulatory overreach.
In the coming days, we will be providing you with online tools to empower you to help us get this legislation passed – providing easy links for you to reach your Members of Congress. In the meantime, please help us spread the word, share this email, and encourage others to sign up here as a Hemp Supporter and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Best, Jonathan MillerGeneral Counsel, US Hemp Roundtable