U.S. Farm Bill emerges from Congress with hemp provision intact

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U.S. lawmakers have reached an agreement on the 2018 federal Farm Bill, leaving intact a provision that will let American farmers grow, process and sell hemp – removing restrictions that have held back the industry in the USA.

Lawmakers in both houses of the U.S. Congress are expected to vote in favor of the measure and send the full bill to President Donald Trump for signing this week.

Bi-partisan issue

The hemp provision* got unusual bi-partisan support in the Congress mainly because of farm state legislators’ goal to bolster the fortunes of their farming constituencies.

It essentially categorizes hemp as an agricultural commodity and removes it from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of schedule 1 drugs. Passage is expected to significantly boost CBD sales and advance other hemp sub-sectors

“With today’s signature, my provision to legalize industrial hemp is one step closer to reality. Looking forward to voting YES on this bill and sending to (President Donald Trump).” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who championed the hemp provision in the United States Congress, and whose state has been particularly hard hit due to a long decline in the tobacco market.

Felon ban is retained

The final bill includes a controversial “compromise” in the hemp provision reached last week that bars drug felons from growing hemp until 10 years after their convictions, but which allows felons already growing hemp under an earlier Farm Bill (2014) to continue in the business.

* Courtesy Richard Rose

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