Hemp hangs in balance as Farm Bill talks stall

Entrepreneurs hoping for a long-awaited hemp expansion from Congress are nervously watching as the end-of-the-month deadline nears.

Hemp farmers hoped to see quick action on the 2018 Farm Bill, including a provision to take hemp off the Controlled Substances Act that was included in the Senate version.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The current Farm Bill, which expires Sept. 30, is a monster piece of legislation that contains much more than hemp – from authorizing farm subsidy payments to setting international trade and tariff rules for food.
  • The House and Senate, both controlled by Republicans, currently are sniping over changes to the federal food stamp program, among other things.
  • The stalemate means Congress may have to temporarily extend the current law. That would leave the nascent hemp industry under the terms of the 2014 Farm Bill, which allows states to authorize hemp experimentation but doesn’t require states to allow hemp.

Despite the U.S. House’s Yom Kippur break this week, top Farm Bill negotiators may keep working, Politico reports. But so far, agreement has been elusive.

“The world doesn’t end if we don’t reach an agreement,” Sen. Pat Roberts, head of the Senate Agriculture Committee, told Politico last week.

Even if Congress agrees on a Farm Bill that expands hemp, big changes would be in store for the industry.

Many existing hemp states, including the nation’s top hemp producer, Colorado, have hemp laws on the books that would be immediately repealed in case of federal authorization of hemp production.

2 comments on “Hemp hangs in balance as Farm Bill talks stall
  1. Mark on

    The old saying, “be careful what you ask for, you might just get it!” couldnt be more appropriate here.
    Getting a farm bill that opens up the hemp industry but puts it under USDA goveranance and regulation will interesting to say the least. Removing it as a controlled substance works for its growing possession and transportation; but the REALLY BIG QUESTION that will shape the industry moving forward is the DEA determination of CBD as a result of FDA approval of GW Pharm epidilex.
    This is crucial to hemp as an ag industry because the 25000 other uses are no where near the market demand and the farming equipment, decortication equipment and infrastructure will be the focus and time and money needed to be spent just to create and supply a market. So if you care about hemp as a ag crop, you will care about what happens to CBD as a marketable commodity

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