Securing meaningful policy changes on Capitol Hill is not always as straightforward asSchoolhouse Rock would like you to believe. In today’s polarized Congress, “I’m Just a Bill” often has a very hard time navigating its way through regular order.
That’s why the U.S. Hemp Roundtable has worked over the past decade to help secure incremental change through the appropriations process. Appropriations (government spending) bills MUST pass – or otherwise, federal agencies must shut down – they can’t operate without Congressional funding. So we have often sought and helped secure amendments (often called “riders”) to appropriations bills to advance our causes. This, for example, was a key strategy prior to passage of the 2018 Farm Bill – appropriations riders prohibited the DEA from spending money to impede hemp farming or commerce.
This year, hemp supporters are using the appropriations process to advance our interests on a number of fronts. Working with the influential hemp supporters Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Andy Barr (R-KY), under the leadership of subcommittee chair Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), we are excited to report the inclusion of several pro-hemp riders to the 2022 Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA Funding Bill and the 2022 Financial Services and Government Funding Bill. These include:
- Demanding FDA to make “further progress on regulatory pathways” for CBD products.
- Revisiting the drug felony ban in the 2018 Farm Bill and directing USDA to “provide recommendations on how to ensure communities of color have equal access and opportunity to participate in the hemp industry.”
- Ensuring that financial institutions are not penalized for engaging in transactions with hemp and CBD businesses.
- Urging USDA to work with HHS and FDA to study the 0.3% delta-9 THC limit which “may be arbitrary” and “not supported by science.”
- Directing the USDA to coordinate with DEA to avoid criminalizing hemp processing via the treatment of in-process hemp extract that temporarily exceeds 0.3% delta-9 THC.
- Allocating $500,000 to support “genomics and bioinformatic” research into hemp, and $16.7 million for the new USDA hemp production program.
(Our friends at Marijuana Moment prepared a great summary of these provisions here.)
These, of course, are small steps, but passage of this legislation will make Congressional intent resolute and help clear a pathway for the passage of meaningful legislation on each of these issues in the coming months.
Accordingly, we need your help. Please access our Federal Action Center today to urge your Members of Congress to support these appropriations riders. When we share our voices, Congress listens!
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