The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017: What does it mean for the future of the Hemp Industry?
H.R. 3530, The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017, is currently making it’s way through congress. Introduced by Congressman James Comer (KY-1), H.R. 3530 will amend the controlled substances act and clearly define that Hemp and Hemp-derived products are food, are not dangerous, and are an agricultural commodity that is used in tens of thousands of legal and legitimate products.
As the Hemp industry gears up to meet with members of congress to discuss the importance of this bill, let's take a look at the history of hemp legislation of the past few years and why H.R. 3530 is a key next piece in the puzzle.
Industrial Hemp is quite different from the various forms of Marijuana (Medical Marijuana (MMJ) and or Recreational Marijuana (Rec), most notably due to its status at the federal level as a legal substance. Back in 2014, Congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2017--a watershed moment for hemp--because it clearly addressed the federal status of Industrial Hemp and Hemp-derived products. Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) defines ‘‘industrial hemp’’ as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis. Sec. 7606 also allows for the federally legal growth, cultivation, and marketing of Industrial Hemp by states with an Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program (IHRPP) or via an institution of higher education. To date, over 35 states have adopted IHRPP’s and are exploring the economic benefits of cultivating hemp!
Post-7606, a patchwork of legislation and regulations have been adopted that further address what hemp is and what it’s not. Most notably, Sections 538 and 773 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 (Public Law No: 115-31)--that clearly address the intended definition of Industrial Hemp and Hemp-derived products, such as CBD -- cannabidiol. Additionally, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has clearly opined that hemp and hemp-derived products (including CBD) are federally recognized, legal, and worthy of grants and funding through the auspices of National Institute of Food and Agriculture(NIFA).
But this legislation does not go far enough--at least for some lawmakers.
This is why H.R. 3530 is so important.
What H.R. 3530 does is simple: it defines Industrial Hemp as something that is not an illicit substance and excludes it from the Controlled substances act . THis will seperate it from Marijuana and allow for un obsrtucted access to hemp derived products for millions of consumers.
This is a great thing. Not just for hemp growers and consumers in the US, but for consumers worldwide. It’s wildely known that the “Made in the USA” stamp designates a high quality product. When H.R. 3530 is passed, Hemp can join this club.