December 05, 2018
Roundtable Roundup – December 5th, 2018
The Roundtable Roundup is a semi-regular update for Hemp Supporters — breaking or interesting news affecting the industry – brought to you by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
Congressional Quarterly reports that the full conference report will be released on Monday – and as reported by our biggest champion in the House – Rep. Jamie Comer (R-KY) — permanent hemp legalization is definitely in it. From CQ:
The top House Agriculture Democrat says a final farm bill agreement rejects controversial House provisions to tie food stamp benefits to expanded work requirements, greenlights hemp cultivation and tweaks programs important to farmers and ranchers.
The death of former President George Bush and his lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda disrupted congressional schedules this week, including the release of a final farm bill. Lawmakers have spent weeks negotiating to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the legislation (HR 2).
House Agriculture ranking member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., said the five-year legislation is “mostly a status quo” bill that keeps current work requirements for able-bodied adults in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program. SNAP’s eligibility standards and the way monthly benefits are calculated would remain the same. He made the comments Monday in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio. He added Tuesday that he hopes that a farm bill conference report will be released Dec. 10…
The proposed compromise bill also would make agricultural production of hemp legal in the United States by removing its designation as a drug akin to marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who sponsored the language in the Senate bill, has said legalizing hemp could give farmers a new cash crop.
McConnell included language allowing hemp production for research in the 2014 farm bill, and the farm bill conference report would lift federal drug restrictions that have hampered expansion of the crop. The 2018 legislation also would make hemp farmers eligible for federally subsidized crop insurance.
Rep. James R. Comer, a former Kentucky agriculture commissioner and member of the farm bill conference committee, said the “reclassification of hemp from a controlled provision to a regular agriculture crop” is in the conference report.
“I believe in hemp,” said Comer, who ran for agriculture commissioner on a platform to allow hemp production in Kentucky.
Comer said that a compromise has been reached on the original language in the Senate farm bill that would ban from hemp growing people who have served a prison term for drug possession and other drug offenses such as manufacturing, delivery and dealing. However, he said he was not free to provide details.
“There was a lot of discussion about that. Neither side got what they wanted,” Comer, R-Ky., said.
As earlier reported, Michigan’s Senate Judiciary Committee met yesterday to consider two House-passed bills: House Bill 6330 which dramatically expands Michigan’s hemp program, and House Bill 6331 which clarifies that popular products such as hemp-derived CBD should not be treated as controlled substances.Great news: Both bills passed out of committee unanimously, and without amendment. They now head to the full Senate, which we hope will pass them both by the time they adjourn on December 21. Please help us get this bill across the finish line. If you are a resident or business owner in Michigan, please use our portal TODAY to send an email to your state senator. Our online portal makes it super easy – even if you don’t know who represents you in Lansing, type in your zip code and an editable email will populate that will be sent directly to your senator with a click of a button. Even if you do not hail from the Wolverine State yourself, please share our portal with your friends, colleagues, customers and social media contacts in Michigan – help us build our Hemp Supporter armies to assist us in this battle which will have a national impact.
In contrast to the good news coming out of DC and Michigan, there’s more disappointment from Alabama. As reported , prosecutors in a few regions of the state announced pending crackdowns on the sale of CBD products. Much to our dismay, the Attorney General joined the anti-hemp chorus with this letter he released recently. The Roundtable is marshalling its forces to prepare for a concerted response. However, we need your help. If you are a resident or business owner in Alabama, please use our portal to sign a petition to encourage state lawmakers to support legislation that will ensure that hemp-derived CBD can be sold in retail outlets. Even if you do not hail from the Yellowhammer State yourself, please share this petition with your friends, colleagues, customers and social media contacts in Alabama.