Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Defense Bill Amendment Removes DOD CBD/Hemp Prohibition

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, secured an amendment to the annual national defense bill that would ensure that the U.S. Department of Defense may not prohibit the possession, use, or consumption of hemp products — in compliance with applicable Federal, State, and local law — by servicemembers. This would apply to hemp that meets the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 definition (amended by the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018). The Gabbard amendment was included in the final version of the bill which passed on Tuesday, 295-125, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

“There is great research being done around hemp, resulting in new products coming to market that are proven to help with ailments like insomnia, inflammation, chronic pain, epilepsy, Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-Traumatic Stress and more. Hemp products provide a form of treatment that serves as an alternative option for those who would rather pursue natural remedies rather than prescription drugs. This amendment passed with strong bipartisan support, ensuring our servicemembers have access to the same over-the-counter products that Americans all across the country benefit from today,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The 2018 Farm Bill, known as the Agricultural Improvement Act, legalized hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.) and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis). Currently, many over-the-counter products are sold that meet these parameters.

USDA, DEA Provide Options For Labs, Disposal Of Non-Compliant Hemp Plants

usda-logoDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the delay of enforcement of certain requirements under the interim final rule (IFR) establishing the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.

Under the new guidance, USDA will delay enforcement of the requirement for labs to be registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the requirement that producers use a DEA-registered reverse distributor or law enforcement to dispose of non-compliant plants under certain circumstances. Enforcement will be delayed starting this crop year and until Oct. 31, 2021, or the final rule is published, whichever comes first.

“Because currently there isn’t sufficient capacity in the United States for the testing and disposal of non-compliant hemp plants, USDA has worked hard to enable flexibility in the requirements in the Interim Final Rule for those issues,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach.

Laboratory Testing

Laboratory testing for the purposes of determining compliance under the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program can be conducted by labs that are not yet registered with DEA. The laboratories must still meet all the other requirements in the IFR.

All laboratories engaged in the testing of hemp through this interim period will be subject to the same compliance requirements of the IFR. Specifically, labs must adhere to the standards of performance as outlined within the IFR, including the requirement to test for total THC employing post-decarboxylation or other similarly reliable methods. All labs will have to make arrangements to be compliant with registration requirements before this period of delayed enforcement expires. DEA will evaluate all applications using the criteria required by the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 823(f)).

Disposal

Based on feedback from states and tribes, and in consultation with DEA, USDA has identified additional options for the disposal of “hot” hemp plants. Some of these new options include, but are not limited to, plowing under non-compliant plants or composting into “green manure” for use on the same land. The new methods are intended to allow producers to apply common on-farm practices for the destruction of non-compliant plants.

Hemp that tests greater than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis must be disposed of onsite according to the disposal methods approved by USDA. The state, tribe or the state’s department of agriculture will be responsible for establishing protocols and procedures to ensure non-compliant hemp is appropriately destroyed or remediated in compliance with applicable state, tribal and federal law.

A list of allowed disposal techniques and descriptions is available on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program web page.

“One of the top considerations in making these changes was the desire to provide additional options that minimize, to the extent possible, the resource impact to state and local law enforcement in handling hemp that is out of compliance,” said Under Secretary Ibach.

“We look forward to partnering with producers, states, tribes and other stakeholders to deliver regulations that work for everyone,” said Under Secretary Ibach.

USDA Publishes “Economic Viability Of Industrial Hemp In The United States: A Review of State Pilot Programs”

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BY TYLER B. MARK, JONATHAN SHEPHERD, DAVID OLSON, WILLIAM SNELL, SUSAN PROPER, AND SUZANNE THORNSBURY

After a hiatus of almost 45 years, the 2014 Farm Bill reintroduced industrial hemp production in the United States through State pilot programs. This study documents outcomes and lessons learned from the State pilot programs and examines legal, agronomic, and economic challenges that may impact the transition from the pilot programs to economically viable commercial production.

In this publication…

USDA Announces Details Of Risk Management Programs For Hemp Producers

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of two programs that protect hemp producers’ crops from natural disasters. A pilot hemp insurance program through Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) provides coverage against loss of yield because of insurable causes of loss for hemp grown for fiber, grain or Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage protects against losses associated with lower yields, destroyed crops or prevented planting where no permanent federal crop insurance program is available. Producers may apply now, and the deadline to sign up for both programs is March 16, 2020.

“We are pleased to offer these coverages to hemp producers. Hemp offers new economic opportunities for our farmers, and they are anxious for a way to protect their product in the event of a natural disaster,” said Farm Production and Conservation Undersecretary Bill Northey.

USDA Extends U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program Interim Final Rule Comment Period To January 29, 2020

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the comment period for the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program interim final rule until Jan. 29, 2020, to allow stakeholders additional time to provide feedback.

USDA published the interim final rule on Oct. 31, 2019, as authorized by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). The rule outlines provisions for USDA to approve plans submitted by states and Indian tribes for the domestic production of hemp. It also establishes a federal plan for producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own USDA-approved plan.

Stakeholders are invited to submit written comments on the interim final rule and proposed information collection by visiting www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be submitted by mail to Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; or by fax at (202) 720-8938. Comments received by Jan. 29, 2020, will be considered before a final rule is issued.

More information about the provisions of the interim final rule is available on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.

Congressman Riggleman Sends Letter To Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, On Hemp Production

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Congressman Denver Riggleman sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, to discuss potential changes to the implementation of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program.  The letter suggested improvements to benefit farmers and align the rules with the realities that hemp farmers face while growing.

“Virginia and the 5th District are uniquely positioned to lead in the arena of hemp production and I am grateful to the entire Virginia delegation for signing this letter regarding the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program,” said Congressman Riggleman.  “Industrial hemp is a potential game changer for Southside Virginia.  If we can improve the USDA hemp program to help Virginia farmers, we have the potential to bring huge economic growth to the 5th District.  This letter will provide clarity for farmers and help production.”

Congressman Riggleman’s letter was cosigned by the Virginia delegation in the House of Representatives. The changes it asked for would reduce regulation surrounding hemp farming as well as its post production and distribution.

You can read the full letter here.

USDA Establishes Domestic Hemp Production Program

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the establishment of the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program. This program, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill, creates a consistent regulatory framework around hemp production throughout the United States.

“At USDA, we are always excited when there are new economic opportunities for our farmers, and we hope the ability to grow hemp will pave the way for new products and markets,” said Secretary Perdue. “We have had teams operating with all hands-on-deck to develop a regulatory framework that meets Congressional intent while seeking to provide a fair, consistent, and science-based process for states, tribes, and individual producers who want to participate in this program.”

Click below to view a message from Secretary Perdue

Background:

Later this week, an interim final rule formalizing the program will be published in the Federal Register that will allow hemp to be grown under federally-approved plans and make hemp producers eligible for a number of agricultural programs. The rule includes provisions for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve hemp production plans developed by states and Indian tribes including: requirements for maintaining information on the land where hemp is produced; testing the levels of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol; disposing of plants not meeting necessary requirements; and licensing requirements. It also establishes a federal plan for hemp producers in states or territories of Indian tribes that do not have their own approved hemp production plan.

The interim final rule becomes effective upon publication in the Federal Register. Following publication, USDA invites public comment on the interim rule and the information collection burden. A preview of the rule is posted on USDA’s website.

USDA also developed guidelines for sampling and testing procedures that are being issued concurrently with this rule. These documents provide additional information for sampling agents and hemp testing laboratories.

More information about the provisions of the interim final rule is available on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.

Once state and tribal plans are in place, hemp producers will be eligible for a number of USDA programs, including insurance coverage through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection. For information on available programs, visit farmers.gov/hemp.

 

Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center Receives $1M For Genetics Research

OREGON: Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Innovation Center has received a $1 million gift to explore hemp genomics, research that can grow understanding of how hemp may be used in health and nutrition products, textiles and construction materials.

The gift to the OSU Foundation was provided by Oregon CBD, a hemp seed research and development company.

The Global Hemp Innovation Center was launched in June by OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and is the largest, most comprehensive hemp research center in the nation. Led by Jay Noller, the center is based in the College of Agricultural Sciences, with faculty from multiple disciplines and colleges across OSU, and has a global reach that includes partnerships in four countries.

“We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and interest in our work,” said Jay Noller, an OSU professor and internationally recognized hemp expert.

Noller said that while some private sector genomic studies of hemp have taken place, very little information is available publicly for research.

“There is a tremendous amount of possibility with hemp, and understanding the genetics is key,” said Seth Crawford, who with his brother Eric, co-own and manage Oregon CBD. “Philosophically, we believe the public land grant university needs to be the epicenter of that research so that all can benefit from the findings.

“We believe OSU is the right place to lead this research,” Crawford said.

Oregon CBD is a family-owned business with longtime ties to OSU that go back several generations. Seth and Eric Crawford both have several degrees from the university and prior to starting the family business Seth taught in the School of Public Policy for 13 years and contributed in 2015 to some of the Oregon Health Authority’s early cannabis policies.

“This also provides us the added satisfaction of giving back to the university that has been a part of our family since my grandfather Loren Gardner graduated in 1954,” Seth Crawford said.

The gift is the first major private donation the center has received since its launch, and is unique in that it allows scientists to publicly share data and collaborate with others engaged in the study of hemp.

“This investment accelerates our leadership and establishes OSU at the forefront in genomic research in hemp,” said Alan Sams, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Noller said genomic research tools will allow better understanding of the DNA present within different hemp varieties. He said this information will provide insights for developing specific hemp varieties for uses ranging from health and nutrition products, to the manufacture of textiles, and use in construction materials. The research also may lead to stronger, more disease resistant, higher yielding plants, and provide understanding of the genes that influence the production of chemical compounds in the plant. With this knowledge, Noller said growers might be able to better predict the levels of hemp essential oil components that are synthesized in different plant varieties.

Kelly Vining, an assistant professor and researcher in OSU’s Department of Horticulture, will lead the university’s hemp genomic research.

“Looking at the most intimate secrets of life in plants is powerful,” Vining said. “With hemp, the prospects are additionally exciting because it not only holds such interesting promise, but it is just a gnarly plant genome – the bioinformatics are challenging. We are now able to explore that promise and challenge, while also being among the first to share our findings with the world.”

WSDA Reiterates Restrictions On The Use Of Hemp CBD As A Food Ingredient In Washington

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WASHINGTON: Recent federal and state legislative changes regarding hemp have generated many questions about cannabinoid extracts, like CBD, and whether or not they may be used as ingredients in food products. To be clear, CBD is not currently allowed as a food ingredient, under federal and state law. 

These rules are specific to food processors and distributors licensed by WSDA. Marijuana processors licensed by the state can continue to produce CBD infused edibles for sale in state licensed marijuana retail stores only.
 

HEMP AND THE 2018 FARM BILL

The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill removed hemp (with a THC concentration of no more than 0.3 percent) from the federal Controlled Substances Act. The Farm Bill also explicitly preserved the federal Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authority to regulate ingredients in food, including hemp and hemp extracts like CBD. 
 

FDA HAS NOT APPROVED CBD AS A FOOD INGREDIENT

The FDA has approved a drug comprised of CBD as a prescription drug for treatment of specific health conditions, but has not approved CBD as an ingredient in food. Federal laws clearly prohibit adding drugs to food, except in limited circumstances defined in the law. The FDA continues to work on this issue. For more information from FDA, and to stay up to date, please check the “FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products: Questions and Answers.” Search for it by name on the FDA website, www.fda.gov.

WASHINGTON STATE HEMP LAW

A new state law allows hemp production, consistent with the federal Farm Bill. It authorizes WSDA to regulate the processing of hemp for food products that are allowable under federal law in the same manner as it regulates other food processing. If the FDA approves food ingredient uses for hemp extracts like CBD, those uses would be allowed under state law. 

SOME PARTS OF HEMP CAN BE USED IN FOOD

While CBD is not allowed as a food ingredient, WSDA licensed food processors can currently use other hemp products in food, such as hulled hemp seeds, hemp seed protein power and hemp seed oil , provided they comply with all other requirements. FDA has determined that these components are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) based on federal requirements. Search for “GRAS notices for hemp seed derived ingredients for use in human foods” on the FDA website, www.fda.gov.

Other parts of the hemp plant, including CBD, cannot be used as a food ingredient under a Washington State Food Processor License. Foods containing unapproved parts of the hemp plant may not be distributed in Washington State under a Washington State Food Storage Warehouse License.
 
Recognizing that these recent changes in law may have caused some confusion in the manufactured-food industry, WSDA has been reaching out to the industry so they can take appropriate actions, such as removing CBD ingredients from their products or discontinuing distribution of CBD-containing food products in the state. WSDA is committed to working with our food industry partners during this transition.  

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Introduces 2019 Hemp For Victory Act

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) introduced H.R. 3652, the Hemp for Victory Act which lays the foundation for the emerging hemp industry in a manner that incentivizes family farmers and small businesses, protects against corporate monopolies, and studies the benefits of hemp cultivation and hemp-based products while ensuring safe agricultural practices, and environmental and labor considerations.

“The hemp industry is poised to grow rapidly, having a billion dollar impact on the U.S. economy and creating thousands of jobs. Hemp-based materials have the potential to transform industries from health care to domestic manufacturing to affordable, sustainable housing construction, and more. Studies have shown it can play a role in helping remove toxins from our environment and prevent soil erosion, as well as provide alternatives to single-use plastics, which pollute our lands and ocean,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “My bill will lay the foundation for how we can optimize the hemp industry’s potential and ensure this opportunity benefits family farms and small businesses across America — from Hawai‘i to Kentucky and beyond.”

“Congresswoman Gabbard’s commitment to re-energizing the American farmer and delivering on the economic and planetary healing promise of the versatile, valuable hemp plant is exactly what our nation needs, and the time is now to support her bold efforts,” said Joy Beckerman, a board member with the Hemp Industries Association.

“We commend Congresswoman Gabbard for her leadership on introducing the Hemp For Victory Act,” said Eric Steenstra, President of Vote Hemp. “The fledgling hemp industry can create thousands of farming and manufacturing jobs but needs research and the same support given to other crops which the bill helps provide.”

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Background: H.R. 3652, the Hemp for Victory Act of 2019, named after the World War II-era effort to revitalize the U.S. hemp industry, broadly addresses many aspects of the re-emerging U.S. hemp industry. The legislation’s objective is to build and encourage a national hemp industry, but to ensure that is done correctly, meaning that there are proper labor, consumer, and health standards; investment incentives; safe agricultural practices; environmental considerations; and more. At its core, the bill is aimed at providing opportunities for small businesses, family farms, indigenous populations, and veterans to participate in and prosper from this industry.

The bill will engage the expertise of several U.S. agencies, as well as land-grant universities, in order to lay the foundations of and generate the demand necessary for our hemp industry to ensure domestic economic potential is met across several sectors. Recognizing the potential for this commodity to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry, the bill directs the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Defense, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, and Small Business Administration to conduct research and develop studies on the uses and benefits of hemp. This includes preservation and rehabilitation of our environment through toxic site cleanup and soil erosion control, sustainable and affordable housing, nutritional benefits to our children in school lunches and healthcare benefits to our veterans, alternatives to single-use plastics to reduce our ecological footprint, and the creation of thousands of jobs, among so many more.

 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was an original cosponsor of H.R. 3530, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, a stand-alone bill in the 115th Congress which would have reclassified hemp as an agricultural crop. She supported H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 — more broadly referred to as “the Farm Bill” — which passed both the House and Senate with strong bipartisan majorities and was signed into law. Among its many provisions, the bill legalized the production of industrial hemp and put its regulation under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Rep. Gabbard supports empowering local farmers and expanding their opportunities. She also joined a bipartisan amicus brief asking the Court to recognize and uphold the Congressional intent of prior legislation that allowed states to grow, cultivate, and research industrial hemp under specific conditions.