With 2023 Farm Bill deliberations rapidly approaching, an alliance of dozens of non-profit hemp organizations have a plan of action in place relating to what they want from it.
It was the 2018 Farm Bill that made hemp legal in the USA at a federal level and considered an agricultural crop. While this opened many doors for the industry, there’s room for improvement on multiple fronts.
Late last year and into this year, the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), National Industrial Hemp Council (NIHC) and U.S. Hemp Roundtable (USHR) teamed up to develop a series of policy priorities for enactment in the 2023 Farm Bill. A meeting of more than 75 key stakeholders was then convened, held at this year’s NoCo Hemp Expo.
Evolving from that activity was the finalising of a priority policy document, which has been endorsed by 31 state, regional and national nonprofit organizations so far.
The document contains nine key policy priorities for consideration by Congress. Summarising them:
- Requiring the FDA to regulate CBD and other hemp extracts for use in dietary supplements and foods.
- Inclusion as a speciality crop, which would provide more support for the industry.
- Bolstering the USDA program.
- Repealing the hemp felon ban; allowing individuals who have “paid their time” to cultivate the crop.
- Promoting greater research.
- Remove requirement for DEA registration of hemp testing labs.
- Permit the use of hemp seed for animal feed.
- Reducing the regulatory burden on farmers.
- Increased permitted THC levels.
In terms of hemp THC levels, Congress will be urged to mandate crops will be compliant unless they exceed 1% total – up from 0.3%. This allows wiggle room to take into account issues such as climate and soil conditions that can have a marked impact on THC levels. There are already some jurisdictions throughout the world allowing 1%, including Western Australia.
Further information on these priorities can be found here.
Jonathan Miller, USHR’s General Counsel. said the five years since legalization have been challenging for the industry, and the 2023 Farm Bill provides the “next and best opportunity” take the USA’s industry a step forward.
“The unity within the industry is remarkable and telling: Our shared voice will resonate with Congress and help us turn this opportunity into meaningful progress for hemp farmers and product consumers,” he stated.