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Upcoming US Farm Bill Will ‘Promote Hemp Farming’, but Proposals So Far Fail to Address Intoxicating Substances

Both US Democrat and Republicans have put forward their proposals for the reauthorization of the 2024 Farm Bill, which covers the regulation of the countries industrial hemp industry.

On May 01, the Senate of Agriculture Committee, which is controlled by a Democrat majority, published their proposals for the bill, which is renewed roughly every five years in order to address the agricultural issues of the day.

One such issue, is the proliferation of hemp-derived intoxicating products such as Delta-8 THC and HHC.

As Business of Cannabis has previously reported, such compounds 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.

The industry had hoped that proposals for the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill would have addressed these issues.

However, according to the proposal summaries released by both parties, these hopes remain just that for now.

The Senate Agriculture Committee’s 94 page summary makes no reference to these intoxicating substances, but does include two brief mentions of upcoming hemp regulation.

Under the proposals, the bill will define ‘industrial hemp’ and lower the regulatory barriers for farmers growing hemp for grain and fibre.

Elsewhere, bans on persons previously convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance from producing hemp will be lifted.

The US Hemp Roundtable said in reaction to the news: “We are thrilled that two principal items of our hemp industry agenda were included. Repealing the hemp felon ban has been a high priority of the US Hemp Roundtable since the 2018 Farm Bill passed, and we are encouraged that it is listed as a priority of Senate Democrats.

“We are also excited to see that regulatory barriers will be lowered for farmers who grow hemp grain and fiber. We don’t know whether this means a full exemption as proposed by some activists, the ‘fit for purpose’ approach suggested by our multi-organization coalition, or something entirely different.  Regardless, any step in the right direction in this regard will be applauded.”

Meanwhile, a separate but much less detailed proposal was published by the Rebuplican-dominated House Agriculture Committee, which made no mention of hemp.

However, the US Hemp Roundtable said that this should not be read into too deeply, adding that they have had numerous meetings with the committee leaders of both parties who have both indicated they are looking to promote hemp farming.

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