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Competing Priorities Emerge in Congressional Debate Over Hemp Provisions in Farm Bill

Competing Priorities Emerge in Congressional Debate Over Hemp Provisions in Farm Bill

As congressional lawmakers gear up for discussions on the forthcoming Farm Bill, a diverse array of stakeholders—from hemp businesses and marijuana companies to state regulators and prohibitionists—are advocating for their respective cannabis priorities, reports indicate.

One point of contention revolves around proposed restrictions on intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids like delta-8 THC, which has sparked disagreement among various factions within the industry. The U.S. Cannabis Council (USCC), representing major cannabis companies, has called for the removal of intoxicating cannabinoid products from the definition of federally legal hemp, whereas prohibitionist groups such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) have also pushed for tighter regulations on such products.

Hemp stakeholders, including the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, acknowledge the need for robust regulations to address public health and safety concerns stemming from the unregulated cannabinoid market. However, they advocate for regulations over an outright ban, which they argue would negatively impact the struggling hemp market.

The debate over hemp policy has even spilled into Congress, with both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees grappling with the issue. While the House committee has yet to address hemp policy in its initial Farm Bill summary, the Senate committee’s draft has sparked concerns among industry players due to its perceived ambiguity on hemp redefinition.

Amid these debates, state marijuana regulators have proposed legislation to clarify states’ rights to enact regulations for hemp-based intoxicating cannabinoids, while bipartisan efforts seek to reduce regulations on hemp farmers and address the felony conviction ban for those in the industry.

As lawmakers and stakeholders continue to navigate the complexities of hemp policy within the Farm Bill, the outcome of these discussions will undoubtedly shape the future of the hemp industry and its regulatory landscape.

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