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Historic Day for Cannabis: What Does it Mean for Hemp?


Today, in an unexpected move, President Joe Biden issued an executive order pardoning all people convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law, while urging governors to do the same for the much larger number of cases regarding similar state offenses.

“Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit,” Biden said in a statement. “Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”

Moreover, Biden requested that the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General “expeditiously” review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. “The President has been clear that marijuana laws are not working,” said a senior White House official.

Rescheduling cannabis could impact federal and state treatment of hemp. The U.S. Hemp Roundtable will be monitoring this closely to ensure that such reform does not resemble current proposals that could virtually eliminate the hemp extract market.

Biden’s pardons also signal continued movement towards reform of the criminal justice system in the cannabis space, and lend support to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable’s advocacy for legislation to repeal the current ban on convicted drug felons from obtaining a license to grow or manufacture hemp.

“We applaud President Biden’s bold move to wipe the slate clean for our fellow Americans who had been convicted on non-violent marijuana possession charges,” stated Jonathan Miller, General Counsel of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable. “We urge Congress to follow that example and pass legislation within the 2023 Farm Bill to repeal the current drug felon ban on hemp farming. We believe that if you have paid your time, you should be able to grow a perfectly legal crop.”

H.R. 6645, The Hemp Advancement Act, sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), would repeal the controversial drug felon ban and allow ALL farmers access to hemp’s economic opportunity. Please use our Federal Action Center TODAY to contact your U.S. Representative and ask him or her to become a cosponsor of H.R. 6645. It’s as easy as typing in your name, email and zip code, and personalizing our draft message to share your story.


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