June 25, 2021

New Bills in PA and RI (And a Bad Rule in RI, Too)

U.S. Hemp Roundtable

In recent weeks, we’ve shared updates on bills in states where the Roundtable currently employs lobbyists. These bills remain priorities for the Roundtable, but we also want to alert you to two new bills.

PennsylvaniaHB 1024 would allow medical marijuana growers and processors to add hemp ingredients to food products, but the bill requires that the hemp be sourced from an entity that has a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. We’re also concerned that out-of-state companies will not be eligible for this permit. And we oppose sourcing requirements because they are an excessive regulatory burden, stifle the free market, and, in this case, would deprive Pennsylvanians of beneficial hemp food products from other states. Pennsylvania Hemp Supporters are encouraged to use our State Action Center to urge state legislators to amend HB 1024 and remove the sourcing requirement.

Rhode IslandHB 6370 would remove hemp from Rhode Island’s definition of marijuana, redefine hemp based on total THC, and establish affirmative criminal defense for activities involving hemp. There is still time this legislative session to ensure this important bill becomes law. Rhode Island Hemp Supporters are encouraged to use our State Action Center to urge state legislators to support HB 6370.

However, there is a troubling rule that was recently proposed by the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. As a whole, the rule would treat ingestible CBD products like controlled substances. Additionally, the rule would impose application and identification requirements that no other state in the country has, implement a 21-and-older age restriction for CBD, and impose onerous testing and labeling requirements that are among the strictest we’ve seen. Although the testing and labeling requirements appear to apply only to in-state products, they are completely out of line with the requirements of most other states. The comment period expired on June 18, but we sent a letter to the Department urging it to extend the comment period. We also asked the Department to make substantive changes to the rule so that it aligns with the reasonable regulations of states like Florida, New York, and Texas.