Dr. Rand Paul Introduces HEMP Act To Relieve Unnecessary Constraints On Hemp Industry, Provide Transparency And Certainty

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) continued his efforts to address Kentucky hemp farmers’ concerns with federal overreach and bring clarity, transparency, and certainty to regulation by introducing the Hemp Economic Mobilization Plan (HEMP) Act of 2020.

In response to concerns raised by Kentucky hemp farmers and processors, Dr. Paul’s HEMP Act would change the legal definition of hemp to raise the THC limit from 0.3% to 1%. Currently, any hemp crops testing above 0.3% have to be destroyed.

The legislation would require testing of the final hemp-derived product instead of the hemp flower or plant itself, as the 15-day window for testing the hemp flower or plant does not take potential testing backlogs, lack of personnel to collect samples, harvesting time, or environmental factors that farmers cannot control into account.

Dr. Paul’s HEMP Act would also protect legitimate hemp farmers, processors, and transporters by requiring hemp shipments to contain a copy of the seed certificate showing the hemp was grown from 1% THC seed, and it would address current uncertainty by defining a margin of error for testing THC levels. Neither current law nor the USDA’s interim final rule provide such a margin.

“For years, I’ve led the fight in Washington to restore one of Kentucky’s most historically vital crops by legalizing industrial hemp. We achieved a hard-won victory, but there is still work to do to prevent the federal government from weighing down our farmers with unnecessary bureaucratic micromanaging. My legislation will help this growing industry reach its full economic potential, and I am proud the bill has strong support all the way from local Kentucky farmers and activists to national groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation,” said Dr. Paul.

“The U.S. hemp industry has had its share of roadblocks, but we continue to push forward and make changes that will help hemp producers thrive. Senator Paul’s HEMP Act has the potential to improve upon the highest priority issues for hemp growers, processors, and labs, while making sure to keep our consumers safe as well. We are grateful for the continued support from our federal delegation and ask that folks at home call their Congressional representatives to ask for their support,” said Katie Moyer, Owner of Kentucky Hemp Works. 

“We are so excited to hear about Senator Paul’s H.E.M.P. Act, which will help farmers, processors and retailers in our young hemp industry. We believe that loosening up some important interstate business requirements are a much-needed step toward more prosperous times in the hemp economy,” said Kentucky Hemp Association President Tate Hall and Vice President Jana Groda. 

“We appreciate Sen. Paul’s leadership and support for hemp farmers in Kentucky and across the United States. The HEMP Act makes critical improvements that will better allow farmers to successfully grow and profit from hemp,” said Vote Hemp President Eric Steenstra.

Dr. Paul has been a leading voice for removing government restrictions on hemp, and his past efforts, including championing legislation, testifying before the Kentucky legislature, and advocating for Kentucky farmers in Washington, have helped ensure Kentucky can rebuild its hemp industry and push forward to a prosperous future. You can find a video detailing his efforts HERE.

You can read Dr. Paul’s HEMP Act of 2020 HERE, and you can find background and further details in a one-pager HERE.

House Approves Blumenauer’s Medical Marijuana Research Act

Legislation removes barriers to much-needed research on health benefits of marijuana.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:Today (12/9/2020), the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Medical Marijuana Research Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Andy Harris (R-MD) to address burdensome impediments to legitimate medical research.

Although 99 percent of Americans now live in a state with some form of legalized marijuana, current federal law greatly limits researchers’ ability to study the health benefits of cannabis. Current barriers include the overly burdensome registration process, redundant protocol reviews, lack of adequate research material, and unnecessarily onerous security requirements.

“The cannabis laws in this country are broken, especially those that deal with research. It’s illegal everywhere in America to drive under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or any other substance. But we do not have a good test for impairment because we can’t study it … This is insane and we need to change it,” Blumenauer said today on the House floor. “At a time when there are four million registered medical cannabis patients, and many more likely self-medicate, when there are 91 percent of Americans supporting medical cannabis, it’s time to change the system. Our bill will do precisely that.”

While the United States leads the world in biomedical research, research on cannabis lags far behind. A 2017 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report found that “research on the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids has been limited in the United States, leaving patients, health care professionals, and policy makers without the evidence they need to make sound decisions regarding the use of cannabis and cannabinoids.”

The Medical Marijuana Research Act will address these limitations by:

  • Providing a pathway for researchers to study the cannabis products consumers are using from state-legal programs.
  • Streamlining the burdensome and often duplicative license process for researchers seeking to conduct marijuana research, while still maintaining all necessary safeguards against misuse and abuse.
  • Addressing the woefully inadequate, both in quantity and quality, supply of medical-grade marijuana available for use in such research.
  • Requiring a report by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the status and results of new research on marijuana benefits.

This was the second vote held by the U.S. House of Representatives in the past week on Blumenauer’s federal cannabis reform priorities, following the passage of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act on Friday, December 4.

The full text of the Medical Marijuana Research Act can be found here.

Meeting Announcement For H.R. 3884—Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment And Expungement Act of 2019

 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The Committee on Rules will meet on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 1:00 PM EST via Cisco Webex on the following measure:

  • H.R. 3884—Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2019 [MORE Act of 2020]

**PLEASE NOTE:

  • This proceeding will be streamed live on rules.house.gov. Information will be provided separately to Members on how to join via theCisco Webex platform.
  • Members intending to testify during this meeting should notify the Rules Committee of their interest in order to receive instructions on how to participate.

Congressman Blumenauer Statement On Cannabis Reform Legislation Vote

The MORE Act would end the failed federal cannabis prohibition and ensure restorative justice

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: U.S. Rep Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, released this statement today, following the announcement that the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act will be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives next week: 

“I’ve been working on this issue longer than any politician in America and can confidently say that the MORE Act is the most comprehensive federal cannabis reform legislation in U.S. history. Our vote to pass it next week will come after people in five very different states reaffirmed the strong bipartisan support to reform the failed cannabis prohibition. National support for federal cannabis legalization is at an all-time high and almost 99% of Americans will soon live in states with some form of legal cannabis. Congress must capitalize on this momentum and do our part to end the failed policy of prohibition that has resulted in a long and shameful period of selective enforcement against communities of color.” 

The historic vote – which is expected next week – will mark the first time that the House or the Senate has ever voted as a full chamber on legislation to end the federal cannabis prohibition since it went into effect following the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

In addition to decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level, the MORE Act would also expunge federal marijuana convictions and reinvest in communities most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.     

NIHC Receives USDA MAP Funding for International Research And Promotion Of Hemp

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: National Industrial Hemp Council today announced it received $200,000 in U.S. Department of Agricultural (USDA) Market Access Program (MAP) funding to support export market development of industrial hemp.

“We are grateful for USDA confidence and the recognition of NIHC as the industry leader in industrial hemp trade and marketing,” said Kevin Latner, NIHC’s Senior Vice President for Trade and Marketing who will be responsible for implementing the program.  “Today’s announcement makes NIHC a trusted partner to USDA for hemp fiber, feed, food and CBD companies looking to break down trade barriers in markets overseas.”

MAP funds are administered through USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Through the MAP program, FAS partners with U.S. agricultural trade associations, cooperatives, state regional trade groups and small businesses to share the costs of overseas marketing and promotional activities that help build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. These funds can be used for facilitating trade missions and meeting with industry stakeholders and government regulators overseas.

NIHC programs will focus on Europe and China and include market research, trade policy and trade facilitation.  The global industrial hemp and products market was estimated at $11.1 billion in retail sales in 2019.  With an annual growth rate of 52 percent, driven by continued strength in textiles, food and industrial uses and hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), the global market is forecast to be worth $89 billion by 2025.

Hemp for industrial use, textile and CBD market is expected to quickly expand and be the primary driver of global industry growth.  By 2021, the global trade of hemp is forecast $8.1 billion across all markets, representing a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83 percent.  EuropeChina, and Canada are currently the primary sources of industrial hemp.  With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the U.S. has become the world’s third largest producer of industrial hemp.

Europe has rapidly developed a robust hemp and CBD market.  Europe is also a strong producer of industrial use hemp products with $424 million in industrial product sales. China has led global markets in textiles with almost 80 percent of the $1.7 billion hemp textile market, in 2019.

In addition, National Industrial Hemp Council members will now have unprecedented access to United States trade negotiators; foreign government counterparts; and a network of international hemp industry association counterparts. Foreign governments understand that NIHC is now supported by the U.S. government and represents U.S. industry interests.

Market Access Program funds can be used by NIHC throughout the world to support market access and trade policy work, international trade promotion including supporting business-to-business facilitation, and consumer and brand marketing.

MAP funds for 2021 will be administered to NIHC through the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA.    

“We’re extremely confident and trust that NIHC will represent the best interests of U.S. industrial hemp abroad. We’re excited to be working with them as part of the USDA cooperator community,” said Tim Hamilton, Executive Director of Food Export Association of the Midwest USA.

Centers For Disease Control: Initial State Findings Point To Clinical Similarities In Illnesses Among People Who Use E-cigarettes Or “Vape”

No single product linked to all cases of lung disease

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Initial findings from the investigation into serious lung illnesses associated with e-cigarette products point to clinical similarities among those affected. Patients report similar exposures, symptoms and clinical findings and these align with the CDC health advisory released last week. While many of the patients, but not all, reported recent use of THC-containing products, some reported using both THC- and nicotine-containing products. A smaller group reported using nicotine only.

No evidence of infectious diseases has been identified in these patients, therefore lung illnesses are likely associated with a chemical exposure. However, it is too early to pinpoint a single product or substance common to all cases, according to authors of articles published today in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We are committed to finding out what is making people sick,” said Robert R. Redfield, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “All available information is being carefully analyzed, and these initial findings are helping us narrow the focus of our investigation and get us closer to the answers needed to save lives.”

CDC, FDA, and state partners are combining information about e-cigarette exposures, results from FDA testing of product samples, and clinical testing results to identify a cause or causes of these illnesses.

“The FDA appreciates the continued collaboration between our federal and state public health partners to get to the bottom of these distressing incidents and gather more information about any products or substances used. We are leaving no stone unturned in following any potential leads and we’re committed to taking appropriate actions as the facts emerge,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D. “Our laboratory is working closely with our federal and state partners to identify the products or substances that may be causing the illnesses and have received more than 120 samples from the states so far. The FDA is analyzing these for a broad range of chemicals but no one substance, including Vitamin E acetate, has been identified in all of the samples tested. Importantly, identifying any compounds present in the samples will be one piece of the puzzle but won’t necessarily answer questions about causality, which makes our ongoing work critical.”

CDC launched a multi-state investigation into the lung illnesses on August 1, 2019, and has worked closely since then with FDA, states and other public health partners, and clinicians to determine the cause. As of today, more than 25 states have reported possible cases of lung illnesses associated with use of e-cigarette products (e.g., devices, liquids, refill pods, and cartridges).

At least two deaths have been reported to CDC. Additional cases of lung illness are being investigated to determine whether they are linked to e-cigarette use and have similar clinical features. This includes looking back for older cases based on CDC’s case definition. States are in the process of classifying possible cases, and this information will be reported next week.

What CDC is doing

CDC has created an incident command structure to respond to these illnesses and is working with FDA and states to investigate whether the illnesses may be linked to specific devices, ingredients, or contaminants in the devices, or substances associated with e-cigarette product use. On August 30, 2019, states were asked to submit data to CDC about lung illnesses associated with e-cigarette product use, as well as information about the types of e-cigarette products used. CDC is currently receiving data from affected states and will share updates as more information becomes available.

What health care providers can do

CDC encourages clinicians to immediately report possible cases of e-cigarette-associated lung disease to their local or state health department for further investigation. If e-cigarette product use is suspected as a possible cause for a patient’s lung disease, a detailed history of the substances used, the sources, and the devices used should be obtained, as outlined in the HAN (Health Alert Network), and efforts should be made to determine if any remaining product, devices, and liquids are available for testing.

What the public can do

While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products. People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, people who use e-cigarette products should not buy these products off the street and should not modify e-cigarette products or add any substances that are not intended by the manufacturer. E-cigarette products should never be used by youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.

If you are concerned about your health after using an e-cigarette product, contact your health care provider, or you can also call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Health care providers also can contact their local poison control center.

CDC and FDA encourage the public to submit detailed reports of any unexpected health or product issues related to tobacco or e-cigarette products to the FDA via the online Safety Reporting Portalexternal icon.

The reports released today in CDC’s MMWR include “Severe Pulmonary Disease Associated with Electronic-Cigarette-Product Use – Interim Guidance” by CDC authors and “Notes from the Field: An outbreak of e-cigarette associated acute lipoid pneumonia — North Carolina, July–August, 2019,” from North Carolina cliniciansThe New England Journal of Medicine today released “Preliminary Report: Pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette use, Illinois and Wisconsin,” with authors from the two states and CDC co-authors.

More information about the investigation is available on the CDC website.

Women Grow 2019 Leadership Summit In Washington, D.C. Is June 7-8, 2019

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Celebrating its sixth year “connecting, educating and empowering” leaders in the cannabis and hemp industry, Women Grow, LLCis bringing one of the year’s most highly anticipated events to the East Coast!   Washington, D.C. will play host to the Women Grow 2019 Leadership Summit at the scenic Washington Court Hotel on June 7-8, 2019. Inspired by the influx of women-power in Congress and a desire to take the message of legalization directly to Capitol Hill, this year’s summit is poised to be the largest woman-focused cannabis industry event of its kind in the world.

The Women Grow 2019 Leadership Summit will offer fresh takes on signature components, along with new experiences that stimulate and engage women at every level of business and in their careers.  Curated TED-style “Lightning Talks,” intimate “fireside chats,”multi-tracked breakout sessions and hands-on workshops will be led by industry  innovators, and for the first time, women leaders outside of the business of cannabis and hemp.  Attendees are invited to unite with a community of women (and men) from across North America and around the world at morning wellness sessions, networking reception and a vibrant on-site expo featuring various businesses across the industry – inviting women-owned or led businesses to display their products and services.

 

Washington, D. C. in June offers an accessible backdrop for personalized exploration beyond Summit.  Part of the excitement of bringing Summit to the area is that attendees will get an unique view of the city that Women Grow Chairwoman of the Board and newly tapped Chief Executive Officer Dr. Chanda Macias calls home.  “It is such an honor to welcome thousands of women to our nation’s capital at such a pivotal point in our history,” said Dr. Macias who also is the owner of the leading medical marijuana dispensary in the area, National Holistic Healing Center. “We are in the midst of a great shift of women representation in business, which speaks to the work and tenacity of the women leading the cannabis and hemp industry.”

Speaking on her appointment as CEO, Dr. Macias added, “I was honored last year to be named chairwoman of the board of managers and I’m incredibly humbled to be named CEO this year as we continue to carry on the company’s mission to lift and inspire the next generation of leaders.”

In an effort to open the summit experience to as many as possible, early-bird admission tickets are priced at $249.99 to April 26th, with regular priced tickets at $349.99 until June 1st  and late registration is $420. Summit will be held at The Washington Court Hotel located at 525 Jersey Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. just steps away from Capitol Hill and the National Mall. To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.wgsummit.com.

Report: Retail Cannabis Tax Revenues Surpass $1 Billion In 2018

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: State and local excise tax collections on retail adult-use cannabis sales surpassed $1 billion in 2018 — a 57 percent increase over 2017 levels, according to data compiled by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Annual excise tax revenues on adult-use cannabis sales ($1.04 billion) rivaled those for all forms of alcohol $(1.16 billion), the group reported. State-specific sales taxes on retail cannabis purchases also yielded an addition $300 million in revenue in 2018.

Authors of the report estimated that cannabis-specific taxes would raise an estimated $11.9 billion annually if the product were legally available at retailers nationwide.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at: (202) 483-5500. Full text of the report is available online.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Tweets His Support For Hemp Border Wall

Tweets President Trump, Steve Bannon & Erik Prince: “A Hemp-Based Concrete Border Wall is a Win for USA”

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ​​In a Tweet posted from his official Twitter account, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher urged President Trump to read and consider a plan created by the cannabis community for a southern border wall constructed from a hemp-based material, known as Hemp concrete. The plan also includes national cannabis legalization with a 3% federal tax that would fully fund the border wall, as well as a program to employ US Veterans in its construction.

“A HEMP-BASED CONCRETE BORDER WALL (is) a win for USA security & taxpayers, farmers, veterans & environmentalists. Bold thinking!” Rohrabacher said in his Tweet, which he directed to President Trump, as well as Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and Blackwater founder Erik Prince. He added, “See @bud_trader white paper,” pointing the President and his staff to a white paper published by a cannabis social media site BudTrader.com.

Rohrabacher’s statement comes in the wake of news that Bannon and Prince, along with other key Republican operatives, are developing plans to build a Hempcrete wall along the U.S./Mexico border, but are still seeking private funding for the project, according to POLITICO.

“According to Congressman Rohrabacher, he spoke to Steve Bannon and he is going to read the Hemp Wall white paper that BudTrader and the Cannabis/Hemp Community wrote,” says BudTrader.com CEO Brad McLaughlin, who originally proposed the hemp wall concept to Congressman Rohrabacher in April of 2018. McLaughlin’s proposal calls for federal legalization of cannabis (including for veterans and government workers) and a 3% federal tax on cannabis sales to fund the wall.

BudTrader was in the news recently for offering Free Cannabis to federal employees during the government shutdown as first reported by The Hill. In the wake of The Hill story, BudTrader CEO Brad McLaughlin has been calling for Federal Employees to have safe access to cannabis, which is currently prohibited. “Federal Employees should have safe and legal access to medical cannabis. I can’t think of one reason why they shouldn’t”.

McLaughlin formally submitted his Hemp Wall White Paper to then Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in September 2018 after a three day trip to Washington D.C. with the Congressman, where he was advocating for the Farm Bill and Cannabis Legalization on the federal level. He met members of congress and President Trump.

The full Research Paper can be found here: Use Industrial Hemp Materials to Build a U.S./Mexico Border Wall Funded by: The Cannabis Industry/Federal Cannabis Tax

Senators Wyden, Merkley Urge FDA To Update Regulations To Ensure US Producers & Consumers Have Access To CBD, Other Hemp Products

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to update federal regulations governing the use of certain hemp-derived ingredients in food, beverages or dietary supplements.

Congress legalized the production and sale of industrial hemp and hemp derivatives, including hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), when it passed Wyden and Merkley’s Hemp Farming Act as a provision included in the 2018 Farm Bill. Outdated regulations, however, limit producers from taking full advantage of the industrial hemp market by, for example, prohibiting food products containing CBD from being sold across state lines.

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Wyden and Merkley requested the FDA update its regulations and give U.S. producers more flexibility in the production, consumption, and sale of hemp products.

“Farmers in Oregon and nationwide are poised to make real economic gains for their communities once these regulations are updated,” Wyden and Merkley wrote. “We will be closely engaged in the ongoing implementation of our legislation, as it was Congress’ intent to ensure that both U.S producers and consumers have access to a full range of hemp-derived products, including hemp-derived cannabinoids.”

As the FDA is operating with limited staff due to the Trump shutdown, Wyden and Merkley requested a response and answer to the following questions within 30 calendar days of the government reopening.

  1. What steps are the agency advancing to clarify to the public the authority the agency has in the production and marketing of hemp, specifically Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives?
  2. What lawful pathways are currently available for those who seek approval to introduce Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives as a food, beverages or dietary supplement, including into interstate commerce?
  3. Are there circumstances in which Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives may be permitted as a food, beverages or dietary supplement by the agency?
  4. Will the agency consider issuing a regulation, or pursing a process, that would allow Cannabis sativa L. and its derivatives in food, beverages or dietary supplements that cross state lines?

A full copy of the letter can be found here.