McConnell urges USDA to swiftly implement Hemp Farming Act

Published: Feb. 15, 2019 at 2:14 PM CST
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U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), authors of the Hemp Farming Act, are urging the USDA to ensure its “expeditious and prompt implementation.”

McConnell and Wyden wrote in a letter to U.S Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue:

“We specifically drafted the Hemp Farming Act in a way that allows hemp pilot states to build upon the progress and investments made through the pilots established by the 2014 Farm Bill. Our states have seen tremendous success in researching and developing market opportunities for hemp through the state pilot programs, and we are hopeful that the growth and innovation we’ve seen through the pilots will continue to expand now that the domestic production of hemp and hemp products is legal.”

Additionally, the Senators urged USDA to move forward expeditiously with the rulemaking process and wrote, “We ask that you consider issuing guidance when necessary to minimize any interference with the lawful interstate transportation of hemp products and to end any uncertainty the banking industry might have with this legal commodity. We also would like to know when to expect the Department’s plans for implementation, including state implementation plans.”

The Hemp Farming Act provisions in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) signed into law on December 20, 2018:

• Removed hemp and its derivatives from the list of controlled substances;

• Established hemp as a legal agricultural commodity;

• Authorized the production, consumption, and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products in the United States, consistent with other federal laws, like the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act;

• Authorized the use of federal funds to support hemp research under the National Agricultural Research, Extension National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 and the Critical Agricultural Materials Act;

• Explicitly established the protection of the interstate commerce of hemp or hemp products, and further prevented states and tribal governments from prohibiting the transportation of hemp or hemp products through the State or the territory of the Indian Tribe.