Historic Collaboration of 33 Non-Profit Organizations Advocates for Legislative Changes
WASHINGTON D.C. — As the United States gears up for negotiations on the upcoming Farm Bill, the united hemp industry, comprised of 33 non-profit organizations, has unveiled a groundbreaking legislative agenda featuring seven key objectives. These priorities, representing every aspect of the hemp supply chain, aim to enhance job creation and offer crucial regulatory guidance for farmers.
The industry's appeal to Congress includes the following key points:
- Regulation of CBD and Hemp-Derived Ingredients: The industry urges Congress to regulate CBD and other hemp-derived ingredients under existing frameworks for dietary supplements and food additives outlined in HR 1629 and S 2451.
- Addressing Testing Laboratory Shortages: Advocacy for addressing the shortage of testing laboratories and ensuring consumer protection by allowing USDA and ISO 17025 accredited laboratories to test hemp products.
- Reducing Regulatory Requirements for Grain and Fiber Farmers: Seeking the reduction of regulatory requirements for hemp grain and fiber farmers through legislative approaches such as HR 3755 or S 980, or a fit-for-purpose approach.
- Permitting Hemp Grain for Animal Feed: Proposing the allowance of hemp grain for use in animal feed.
- Maintaining the Current Hemp Definition: Balancing consumer protections with market access by maintaining the current definition of “hemp.”
- Promoting Justice, Equity, and Sustainability: Initiatives include repealing the felon ban in HR 1428, supporting hemp research at minority-serving institutions, and enhancing climate opportunities through carbon credit programs.
- Mandating THC Compliance: Advocating for the mandate that hemp crops be deemed compliant unless they exceed 1% total THC, as defined by USDA.
This marks the first time industry leaders have united behind a strategic legislative agenda. The effort, initially led by the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC), and the U.S. Hemp Roundtable (USHR) in 2023, has evolved into a cohesive set of objectives after ongoing negotiations and feedback.
Farm Bills have historically played a crucial role in shaping hemp policy, with the upcoming version poised to make significant impacts for farmers and businesses. Industry endorsers express optimism for the potential outcomes.
Jonathan Miller, General Counsel of the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, commented, “The remarkable unity within our industry sends a powerful message to Congress.” Patrick Atagi, President and CEO of the National Industrial Hemp Council, added, “The industry is now speaking with a unified voice.”
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The hemp industry's challenges in establishing stability since the 2018 Farm Bill have been acknowledged, with industry leaders emphasizing the need for regulatory clarity to foster an environment that allows the hemp industry to thrive and prosper.
Full press release can be found here.