Farm Bill Passes Senate Agriculture Committee

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The Farm Bill has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee with a 20-1 vote, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) being the sole “no” vote after his amendment was not attached to the proposed bill. The bill will now move to a vote on the Senate floor, but Grassley may yet attempt to negotiate elements of his amendment into the bill, so the industry must remain vigilant.

Late in the afternoon of June 12, Grassley (R-IA) filed an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill which seeks to redefine hemp to exclude “derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, from Cannabis Sativa L.” The purpose of the amendment as stated in the document is, “To modify the definition of the term ‘hemp’ and to require the Attorney General to make a determination as to whether cannabidiol should be a controlled substance and listed in a schedule under the Controlled Substances Act and to expand research on the cannabidiol and marihuana [sic]”

The 2018 Farm Bill and the inclusion of the Hemp Farming Act to the bill by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has been viewed positively by industry because it would solidify hemp as a legal agricultural commodity nationwide and by extension leave no doubt as to the legality of constituent products such as hemp-derived CBD oils which have been widely accepted by consumers and retailers alike, but still faced hurdles by certain state authorities. By including language into the bill that expressly excludes “cannabinoids” from the definition of hemp, this amendment would set the industry back years. Additionally, giving the Attorney General — who is fervently anti-cannabis — the authority to decide whether or not to schedule CBD under the Controlled Substances Act doesn’t offer much hope either.

So what was once a hopeful piece of legislation for the future of hemp has taken a sharp turn. Industry trade groups and companies are asking the public to put pressure on U.S. Senators to vote “No” on the amendment and ideally pressure Senator Grassley to withdraw the amendment altogether. If you’re interested in doing your part, visit this portal to have your voice heard.

 

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