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Hemp Killing Amendment ‘Necessary’, But Exposes Outdatedness of Federal Cannabis Policy, Expert Says

Last month, the US House Committee on Agriculture voted to pass an amendment to the draft Farm Bill, in a move hemp advocates say will be devastating to the countries hemp and CBD market.

Hemp-derived compounds like HHC and Delta-8 THC have proliferated across the US in recent months, and while a number of individual states have moved to regulate them, they remain legal and sparsely regulated at a federal level.

This amendment, brought by Republican Mary Miller, was put forward in an effort to to regulate the flourishing industry.

However, in doing so, it would also ban hemp products with any level of THC, making  making 90-95% of hemp products on the market, including FDA approved animal feed, illegal.

Speaking to Business of Cannabis, Partner and Principal at Minnesota-based cannabis consultancy Blunt Strategies, Leili Fatehi, believes those worried about the amendment should look to the birthplace of hemp-derived THC beverage and edibles explosion.

“The amendment is a necessary step to close a loophole that has been exploited to its fullest extent and has now become counterproductive in terms of complicating the regulatory landscape,” she explained

“The reality is that both the existence of the loophole and the efforts to now fix it—including this amendment—demonstrate the ever-growing outdatedness and incoherence of our federal cannabis policies. We need to get away from arbitrary restrictions and toward ensuring that all cannabis and hemp products are regulated based on their actual effects and uses.

“Those concerned about the impacts of this amendment on the U.S. hemp industry should be looking at Minnesota, the birthplace of the hemp-derived THC beverage and edible explosion that is now spreading nationwide.

When Minnesota legalized these products in 2022, we capped total THC at 0.3% and we prohibited synthetically derived cannabinoids like delta-8 THC—consistent with what the proposed changes to the Farm Bill would do. This means the proposed changes to the Farm Bill would make the nation’s hemp-derived beverage and edible market comparable in its standards to those that we’ve had here in Minnesota from the beginning.”

Instead of fighting to scrap the amendment, Fatehi believes the industry should work to engage with the government to shape regulation into a more workable solution.

“Instead of opposing the amendment, US hemp industry stakeholders should proactively engage in shaping clear and coherent regulations that accurately reflect the true nature and usage of hemp and cannabis products.

“This strategic approach involves collaborating closely with legislators to develop policies that not only ensure the safety and legality of hemp products but also support and nurture the industry’s growth and innovation.

“Moving forward, hemp product manufacturers and retailers should focus on building a united front to influence policy positively, ensuring that future regulations are sensible, based on sound science, and inclusive of industry insights. This collaborative effort is essential for sustaining long-term growth and maintaining the trust of consumers and stakeholders.”

Since the amendment was passed, a similar battle has taken place on a state level in Florida.

In March this year, Senate Bill 1698 was passed by Florida lawmakers, and is set to be enforced in October.

Similarly designed to regulate the flourishing intoxicating hemp market, the bill would ban the sale of products like Delta-8 and Delta-10, but hemp businesses in the state have warned that this would decimate the hemp industry.

The state’s historically anti-cannabis governor, Ron DeSantis, is has now vetoed the controversial bill in the hopes of garnering support from the hemp industry against adult-use legalization.

According to Fatehi, this is likely to have a ripple effect on the battle taking place on the national stage.

“I think, per usual for this industry, the actions of states are much more significant than the actions of the federal government.”

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