A new bill is about to be put before Congress which could possibly allow hemp growing in the United States of America. But this may only happen if the dangerous provisions that stop it from being the ultimate answer to hemp legal troubles are removed by legislators.
New legislation introduced in 2014, as before, authorized the US to produce hemp but only for purposes for research, after years of restrictions. However, that law still gives the opportunity for government agencies to threaten hemp producers and traders, and it is a long way from actual legalization.
Over many years, industry champions have been pushing Congress for an act that would fully legalize industrial hemp and withdraw it from Drug Enforcement Agency omission and intervention. Even though at the moment there are many flaws in its form, there is an aspiration that the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, currently moving along through Congress, may be a significant move in the right direction.
“I am very confident as this progresses through all the many committees, through the House and the Senate, that it may get shaken out the correct way,” said John Ryan, Owner of Ananda Hemp, which produces hundreds of acres of hemp for CBD and other usages in Kentucky.
To interpret the true potential of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, we spoke to Ryan and other hemp industry workers who hope this act creates a significant step in moving closer towards actual legalization of hemp. Within this article, we will give an explanation of hemp future which is due, most importantly to the legislative change.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE STATE OF HEMP IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In 1938, Popular Mechanics forecasted that hemp was going to become a ‘billion dollar crop’. However, that prediction was destroyed by the drug restrictions, making the growing of hemp to be illegal except for a small period during World War 2.
In 2014, following the introduction of the Farm Bill, Hemp growing restarted in the United States and it allowed legalization for growing hemp for research purposes only. The research was widely defined to involve market research – such as, the sales of products that are hemp-based like chill gummies CBD mg as well as researching into just producing and processing the hemp.
In the 2014 law, every state was able to control the form and size of the hemp research programs. This promoted further, the legality of the hemp produced by these research projects.
The 2015 and 2016 Appropriation Acts (Congressional speeding bills) specifically prohibit the Federal government from disbursing any more ongoing resources after these hemp farmers under the restrictions that typically are used towards hemp (and all types of cannabis) under the War on Drugs.
Recently, as stated by the pro-hemp lobbyists at Vote Hemp, 33 states, under the protections issued by the 2014 Farm Bill, all have hemp growing programs in progress. But, the recent circumstances limits hemp’s future to be known as a cash crop.
“At the moment there are still several real barriers to investment, barriers to a number of different things with the current situation the hemp market is at,” explained Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp.
Interference with hemp and specifically with CBD oil extracted from the DEA continues. As they insist that they are illegal under the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp specialists have set up a lawsuit as they disagree with the DEA. Even though CBD purchasers have been safe from legal trouble up to now, CBD traders have confronted legal threats and even been involved in several police raids.
For example, Indiana state police recently raided a grocery shop that sold CBD oil. However, they were forced to withdraw and confess that they had no right to seize the products that the store sells.
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In addition, the authority to produce hemp has not been equally set out to everyone under recent laws. Native Americans have unfortunately encountered DEA raids and legal threats, with the government disputing that the 2014 Farm Bill is only aimed towards the states, and not the tribal nations.
IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THE 2017 INDUSTRIAL HEMP ACT COULD REMOVE THE DEA FROM THE FARM’? UNLIKELY IN THE FORM THAT IT’S CURRENTLY IN.
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 needs to remove the agriculture crop from being classed as an illegal drug under the Controlled Substance Act, by segregating industrial hemp from psychoactive cannabis.
This would allow State agriculture departments to be largely able to regulate hemp as they do with any other normal crops such as wheat and potatoes etc. Following on from discussions between lawmakers and native Americans, tribal nations are now also obviously part of the hemp legalization.
State agriculture departments would largely be able to regulate hemp as they do with any other normal crops such as wheat and potatoes.
As we have reported before on Ministry of Hemp, even though hemp has bipartisan backing by politicians from around the United States, the support for hemp is especially high in tobacco country.
Therefore, it is blatantly clear that the 2017 hemp act was produced by Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, with the backing of Kentucky Reps. Thomas Massey and Andy Barr, who is also part of the GOP. In conclusion, the bill has 16 cosponsors, involving 9 Democrats and 7 Republicans.
Ryan concisely explains the bill’s aim: “to get the DEA off the farm.” He went on to describe that he is specifically confident in the guidance of the Kentucky-based lawmakers, including the Representatives sponsoring the bill and their fellows in the Senate, Rand Paul, and Mitch McConnell, both of whom are also being strong supporters of the industrial hemp industry.
“These individuals are proven to be great stewards of this industry,” he states to Ministry of Hemp. “All of the regulations and policies which are set in place now that are protecting farmers across the United States, it was these people that really led the way.”
They do have a lot of work cut out for them. However, in return for authorising the act to pass through the House Judiciary Committee (which is a vital part of the bill that it must pass through before eventually being rated elected in by the whole House), Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the committee chair, needs the addition of different provisions that seem to work in direct opposition to the acts aims.
The most alarming provision would permit the DEA to make unexpected ‘administrative inspections’ whenever they wanted to, at any location where hemp is produced. Steenstra described that these spot checks are usually aimed at pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals or doctors that are in possession of controlled substances such as opiate drugs.
“It is actually a completely inappropriate provision that does not show concern to agricultural crops,” he stated
A different amendment states that the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, if signed into law, would still be taken over by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. CBD traders are concerned that this seemingly safe provision is, however, an action to encourage a legal argument against the CBD oil industry and the Food and Drug Administration favored towards the government agency.
Under recent laws, hemp-based products (which includes CBD extracts) cannot be bought by anyone if they include more than 3 percent THC, (this is the active ingredient in psychoactive cannabis which created the feeling of being “high.”) A final problematic provision could result in CBD oil makers to be confronted with legal consequences.
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If THC levels accidentally went higher than 3 percent during extraction, even if they destroyed the majority of the readings without trying to sell them on.
“The law is set so you cannot sell a product with more than 3 tenths of a percent THC and we totally accept that,” Steenstra stated. “However, if the percentage does go a touch higher during processing, that should not be said to be an illegal activity.”
Despite everything, there is a lot of stages to face before the Industrial Hemp Farming Act potentially becomes law, Ryan hopes that these flaws will be corrected.
“I do not own a crystal ball and I do not know DC politics, but I am feeling pretty strong that it will get done the right way or it will not get done at all,” Ryan stated.
2017 INDUSTRIAL HEMP FARMING ACT WILL EXPAND HEMP RESEARCH AS IT TESTS “HOT
At the moment, industrial hemp must have less than 3 percent THC to be classed as legal. The U.S. government is very serious about enforcing this, more so than some other countries that use similar regulations.
For example, Steenstra has explained to us that if a hemp crop in Canada has THC levels over .3 percent, growers refer to this issue as “testing hot,” the Canadian government will note this and if this keeps happening, they will suggest farmers try planting other hemp varieties.
It is very different, in the U.S., where the entire crop will be burned if the test results show it’s hot. This was demonstrated by Kentucky agriculture officials who burned $20,000 of hot hemp in April, this had tested at just .4 percent THC.
“This kind of thing is a little ridiculous,” Steenstra said.
It can be helpful to identify the difference between industrial hemp and psychoactive cannabis (this is what is ingested and makes people become “high”), the .3 percent cut-off can be seen as whimsical, Steenstra an industry expert would admit.
An experience of 1 percent THC would not easily allow someone to get high; much higher strains of cannabis would need to be taken to increase their psychoactive potential, with Colorado’s legal cannabis average strain coming out of tests at around 18 percent or more.
If a hemp crop in Canada has THC levels over .3 percent, growers refer to this issue as “testing hot,” the Canadian government will note this and if this keeps happening, they suggest farmers try planting other hemp varieties. It is very different, in the U.S., where the entire crop will be burned if the test results show it’s hot.
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, has a provision that if hemp had a THC level above .3 percent, but does not exceed .6 percent, this would allow it to be possible to be used for research purposes. However, any products produced from these crops would remain as being classed as illegal and could therefore not be sold.
“There would be more flexibility if it could only be changed to 6 tenths of a percent,” Steenstra continued.
John Ryan was questioned over this clause, he felt like this could be very useful. However, he was concerned that the total legalization of industrial hemp could be affected by the hemp research. He also stated, “If this was to be cast to one side it would not be the end of the whole universe.”
‘THIS MOVEMENT IS GOING FORWARD’: PEOPLE CAN HELP LEGALISE HEMP
Some growers of hemp are not in agreement with the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. Grow Hemp Colorado, grower Veronica Carpio is against the bill not only due to the impromptu DEA farm inspections but because it excludes the psychoactive cannabis as well.
Veronica highlighted that there was a historical circumstance that existed in hemp prohibition that could affect the paper and textile industries. She later explained what she meant by this:
“It was hemp that began prohibition originally, I am not aware that anyone has been charged and sent to prison due to possessing or distributing hemp. But it is very different with marijuana, many people have been sent to prison and it has ruined their lives and the lives of others due to this.
As I am the owner of my own business as well as an activist for cannabis in Colorado, I am unable to go along and hail any bill that separates each of these.”
Even though she doesn’t agree with every detail of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, Veronica Carpio is in agreement with Ryan and Steenstra that it could be a good indication that legalization is in the process of being made.
“I think that this is definitely progress but I don’t feel like that the overall solution is the bill,” she said.
Ryan said. “Regardless of whether the bill actually gets passed or not, this movement is continuing to grow and will continue to do so, it doesn’t matter if it’s this Comer-sponsored bill or not, it will be given legalization.”
Even though Ryan explained that hemp may have the Kentucky legislators backing, it can only be progressed with every lawmaker’s help. This is when supporters of hemp and fans of Ministry of Hemp’s can be of benefit. Ryan thinks that if you were to contact your Senators and Representatives you may be able to help to persuade them with regards to the total legalization of hemp.
“Everywhere along the roads and highways, in every state, we need everyone to get involved by contacting their representatives and really try to get some help. They should let everyone know about their worries and how they are feeling about all of this. Just take part in the movement.” — Read more at Cbd Oil Adviser.