The Congressional Research Service Produces Long-Awaited Report on Hemp

The Congressional Research Service (CRS)serves as non-partisan subject matter experts on a number of things and advises Congress on the technical details on a variety of issues. From trade to foreign affairs to internet data, there is no shortage of technical expertise from CRS on industries that Congress regulates.

Working at the direction of Congress, CRS advises members and staff as they work through legislative issues. The hemp industry is no different and there are a variety of opinions on Capitol Hill and the regulatory agencies about how to solve the current and emerging issues facing our industry. Because hemp was legalized through the 2018 Farm Bill – which in terms of Congressional timelines is recent – there hasn’t been a lot of technical expertise being offered to members of Congress – the exception really being the meetings NIHC staff has conducted on Capitol Hill.

We were excited to see the report from the CRS finally come out this week on the hemp industry and offer some technical details on all of the industrial uses for the plant for lawmakers making policy decisions that have both short and long-term consequences for our members and the industry writ large.

The CRS report centered around three things, fiber, seed/grain and the flower and you can see the graphic below that summarizes the report:

(Source: CRS Report to Congress: “Production, Marketing, and Regulation of Hemp Products, June 22, 2021, https://bit.ly/3zYbRon).

The report also gives a brief update on the current legislative efforts in Congress as they pertain to hemp, many of which the NIHC has provided significant impact on.

One detail to point out about the report, it mentions that hemp seeds are used as animal feed. That’s a huge win for CRS to put that on record in their report not just for the NIHC, but for our partners at the Hemp Feed Coalition, of which NIHC is a member.

This report may seem like a small step, but it’s a big win for our industry as a whole. Largely because of the work that NIHC is doing and the technical details we’ve been offering to lawmakers and their staff is now verified by the non-partisan technical experts at the Library of Congress.

The report is publicly available, and you can read it in full here.