November 10, 2020

Movement on Hemp/CBD from Senate Appropriators

U.S. Hemp Roundtable

Just this morning, the U.S. Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee released report language for the appropriations bill that it will negotiate with the U.S. House. A full copy can be found here.

(“Report language” is an exercise used by Congress to show its legislative intent on various issues, and is used often by Congress to prod federal agencies into action. However, while it is influential, it is NOT legally binding. Also note that this is just the Senate’s version; the House will need to weigh in.)

There are two provisions of key note to hemp farmers and businesses:

On page 5, the Senate directs USDA to modify its controversial Interim Final Rule to provide a more fair and reasonable regulatory framework for U.S. hemp farmers. You will note that the Senate calls out many of the key issues that we have shared with Congress and USDA, including inappropriate DEA interference, testing and sampling issues, and the arbitrary 0.5% THC negligence standard. It is clear that YOUR lobbying has been effective, and we are very optimistic that this will make a difference as USDA moves to a Final Rule.

On pp. 111-112, the Senate directs FDA to issue a policy of enforcement discretion on CBD within 90 days that would be kept in place until FDA develops a final regulatory framework. (Formal enforcement discretion is an agency’s policy indicating that it will not interfere with the marketing of a certain class of products.) This would be a welcome development, and perhaps it would encourage the White House to finally release the enforcement policy document that it has been examining for over four months. However, the devil is in the details, and this does not assure that we will see the kind of broad and meaningful enforcement discretion that is necessary to help protect and unleash our industry. It also falls short of the affirmative legal pathway for the marketing of hemp and CBD products provided by HR. 8179.

However this is resolved, we need to remain vigilant. Please contact your Members of Congress today to urge them to co-sponsor H.R. 8179.