February 26, 2021
Bills on both sides in GA, IA, KS, and SD
No nuptials games this week—we’re focused on straightforward hemp and CBD bills that involve important issues. Two of the bills deserve your support. Two others, however, need full-throated opposition.
We ask that you quickly mobilize against bad provisions in Georgia HB 336. The bill has well-intentioned elements. But the bill’s licensure ban goes way too far—farther even than the 2018 Farm Bill’s 10-year ban for some felony convictions. The bill would deny a hemp license to any person with any felony conviction or a misdemeanor controlled substances conviction. And unlike the 2018 Farm Bill, the licensure ban would not be limited to 10 years; it would be permanent.
If you have been following our Minority Empowerment Committee efforts, you know that the Roundtable is urging Congress to remove the felony conviction ban from the 2018 Farm Bill. We now have a similar opportunity at the state level. We believe in second chances and encourage Georgia Hemp Supporters to use our State Action Center to urge state legislators to oppose HB 336.
Here’s a summary of the other bills worth your attention:
Iowa: HSB 187 would create strong affirmative defenses to criminal charges related to hemp. It is another important step in making absolutely clear that engaging in legitimate hemp activities should not be confused for a crime. We encourage Iowa Hemp Supporters to use our State Action Center to urge state legislators to support HB 187.
Kansas: In most states, hemp production is regulated by the department of agriculture, much as it is under the federal hemp plan created by the 2018 Farm Bill. HB 2244 would move regulatory authority from the Kansas Department of Agriculture to the state fire marshal. Among its new powers, the fire marshal would be able to issue a “stop sale” or “stop use” order where it is believed that hemp products are being produced, sold, or distributed illegally. This blanket authority is concerning, especially when it is not being exercised by career agriculture officials. What is more alarming is that the fire marshal’s order can continue for up to 7 days without an apparent appeal process. In addition to requiring background checks, the fire marshal would also be able to require fingerprinting for hemp processors. These kinds of oversight are heavy-handed and we encourage Kansas Hemp Supporters to use our State Action Center to urge state legislators to oppose HB 2244.
South Dakota: Some banks can be hesitant to work with those involved in the hemp industry due to a lack of understanding of hemp’s legality. This hesitancy harms small businesses and farmers who need to partner with financial institutions. HB 1203 provides clear authorization for banks to conduct business with anyone directly or indirectly involved in the industry. We encourage South Dakota Hemp Supporters to use our State Action Center to urge state legislators to support HB 1203.