April 19, 2024

Hemp Roundtable Hits the Hill:

Industry leaders lobby Congress to defend the industry from the War on Hemp

On Wednesday, April 17th, members of the US Hemp Roundtable descended upon Capitol Hill to advocate for the hemp industry’s interests, marking a pivotal moment in our ongoing efforts to shape policy and legislation. Roundtable members met with over 50 Members of Congress and their staff, covering 18 states and Washington DC representatives. 

The timing could not be more propitious: The battle lines in the War on Hemp have moved to Capitol Hill – efforts are growing to include prohibitory language in the Farm Bill: Hemp opponents have been complaining against intoxicating products winding up in the hands of minors, but offering “solutions” that would federally criminalize all hemp products with any amount of THC in them. 

Of the more than 50 meetings held, two stood out in importance.  The Roundtable met with Representative Jamie Comer (R-KY) from Kentucky, extending appreciation for his recent Oversight hearing in which he called upon the FDA Commissioner to answer for their inaction towards regulating CBD. Comer’s vocal stance in the Oversight hearing underscores his commitment to championing the hemp industry’s interests at the federal level. The Roundtable’s discussions with Representative Comer emphasized the need for continued collaboration and advocacy to ensure that regulatory frameworks align with the industry’s growth trajectory and consumer safety standards.

Later, the group meet with Representative GT Thompson (R-PA), the chairman of the Agriculture Committee in the House. Thompson’s role holds significant sway in shaping the trajectory of the next Farm Bill, a vital piece of legislation for the hemp industry’s growth and sustainability. Chairman Thompson indicated his intention to mark up the Farm Bill in his committee by Memorial Day, and Roundtable members urged him not to redefine “hemp” in ways that would criminalize currently legal and popular hemp products.

Overall, the lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill served as a testament to the US Hemp Roundtable’s leadership in advancing the hemp industry’s interests and fostering a supportive legislative environment conducive to its long-term success.

Finally, we extend a sincere thank you to all Hemp Roundtable members that made the trip to Washington DC with us. None of this is possible without the continued support of our membership. When we raise our collective voices, Congress listens, and real change can happen. 

Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA)

Background: GT Thompson is the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, which has jurisdiction over the next Farm Bill. In his capacity as Chairman, few people on Capitol Hill have more influence over the outcome of the next Farm Bill. We implored the Congressman to keep the definition of hemp intact in the next Farm Bill.

Representative Jamie Comer (R-KY)

Background: Jamie Comer is the Chair of the House Oversight Committee, which just last week, called in FDA commissioner Calif to answer for the inaction towards regulating CBD products. We thanked the Congressman for his support on our issue, and strategized for next steps towards getting the FDA to act. 

Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD)

BackgroundDusty Johnson hails from South Dakota, which just this week, the USDA reported as the #1 hemp fiber production state in the country. Representative Johnson also sits on the House Agriculture Committee, and was pleased to hear about the progress hemp has made in his home state. We thanked the Congressman for his support, and pleaded with him to reduce regulations hemp farmers face. 

Representative Suzanne Bonamicci (D-OR)

Background: Suzanne Bonamicci is the newest cosponsor on HR1629, which would require the FDA to regulate CBD as a dietary supplement. We thanked the Congresswoman for her support on our issue, and made plans for a site visit to an Oregon hemp farm. 

Representative Morgan McGarvey (D-KY)

Background: Morgan McGarvey is also a cosponsor of HR1629, and he sits on the House Veteran Affairs and House Small Business Committees. As we know, hemp affects veterans and small businesses, and having a hemp champion in these committees is crucial. 

We also met with staff leadership in dozens and dozens of Congressional offices. A lot of work on Capitol Hill is done by these staffers, and oftentimes they go unrecognized. We’d like to extend a sincere thank you to the staffers who took time out of their busy days to hear our concerns on all things hemp policy. With each conversation, our industry moves forward one small step at a time. 

Check out the latest hemp and CBD updates from across the states!