Happy Hemp History Week!

June 10, 2018  /  by Kristofer Plunkett

It’s been an exciting last few months in hemp! In honor of this year’s Hemp History Week, here’s a recap on all the good news that’s been streaming in:

On April 12th Senator Mitch McConnell (KY) filed the Hemp Farming Act (S.2667). Representatives James Comer (R-KY) and Jared Polis (D-CO) followed with a companion House Bill 5485. This legislation would do the following:

  • Remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances and federally legalize the commercial cultivation of the crop
  • Include U.S. grown hemp in the USDA National Organic Program
  • Establish the legality of interstate hemp commerce
  • Open the door to research opportunities
  • Allow access to public water rights for hemp farmers
  • Protect the legality of production and consumption of the whole hemp plant, including non-intoxicating cannabinoids like CBD!

The Hemp Farming Act now has over a quarter of senators as cosponsors, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). It’s clear legalizing hemp is gaining steam in Congress, mirroring hemp’s growing popularity across the country.

On April 30th, as reported by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling making it clear that the DEA’s new “marihuana extract” rule does NOT include products made from hemp, including hemp-derived CBD. This is huge news for the industry and consumer access!

At the end of May, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to spend $500,000 to begin rebuilding the country’s hemp gene bank. As anyone familiar with the industry knows, having stable genetics that works for our various regional climates is one of the largest hurdles in re-establishing hemp agriculture in the U.S., so this is exciting news. Read more about it and other hemp news in this Forbes article.

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution, in honor of Hemp History Week, that recognizes hemp’s “historical relevance” and “growing economic potential” while bemoaning the fact that the U.S. is “the only major industrialized country that restricts hemp farming.”

We recently learned that the Hemp Farming Act has been included in this year’s Agricultural Act (Farm Bill), which is a must-pass piece of legislation. Though there are many steps left before that happens, this is truly a good sign. We may very well see the end of hemp prohibition this year. Hemp, hemp, hooray!

Treat yourself to this video of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) once again taking the Senate floor to talk about the importance of allowing American entrepreneurs to grow and make products from hemp: