As an avid reader of NIHC’s weekly newsletter, you’ll no doubt note that recently we included an item in the news section about the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations draft report language on hemp.
There was much to celebrate:
- A prohibition on the use of funds in contravention of the hemp provisions in both the 2014 Farm Bill and 2018 Farm Bill. This adds needed clarity that hemp produced under 2014 Farm Bill authorities remains fully legal under Federal law.
- Another extension of the 2014 Pilot Program—through the end of 2022—for the approximately 75% of the hemp farming that operates under these authorities, including four of the five largest hemp producing states.
- Direction to the USDA, HHS and the DEA to study the scientific basis of the 0.3 percent THC threshold and consider alternative levels.
- Direction to USDA to reduce barriers to access for communities of color, specifically citing the 10-year ban on individuals convicted of drug felonies as such a barrier.
- Clear acknowledgment that Congress intended to avoid criminalization of hemp processing, understands that in-process extract may temporarily exceed the THC limit, and directs USDA to coordinate directly with the DEA to present the industry with guidance and information on in-process extracted material
- Eligibility of hemp to participate in all USDA-related programming. This includes the value-added producer grants program through the Office of Rural Development, crop insurance through the Risk Management Agency and as a specialty crop through the Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS).
The NIHC has been working with the House Committee on Agriculture to provide feedback on many of these roadblocks facing farmers in our industry. We have directly spoken to members of Congress and their staff on both sides of the aisle to raise awareness about all of the things that were mentioned in the Subcommittee on Agriculture Appropriations report. We are continuing to engage with members and staff of both parties on both sides of the Capitol.
This week, we sent a letter to House Agriculture appropriators thanking them for their language in this report and circulated it to those on the authorizing committees and also friends of the hemp industry.
You can read the full letter sent from NIHC Board Chair Patrick Atagi to the House Committee on Agriculture here.